Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How the Media Neglected Egypt

There was no lack of media attention given to the rallies in Egypt prior to (and following) the constitutional referendum. However, that attention tended to focus on strident voices sometimes punctuated by acts of violence. What was curiously lacking was an coverage of the grounds for protest. How much did the protestors on both sides of the issue really know about what the referendum would decide, and how did they know about it? Now that the vote has been cast, an NYRBlog post by Yasmine El Rashidi answers these questions in ways that even BBC News never bothered to tell its viewers. According to Rashidi, quite a few of those who gathered to protest in either side knew very well why they were there. The article-by-article debate over the wording of the constitution had been televised; and that broadcast apparently attracted a very large audience. None of this ever came to light when both the BBC and the American networks had their reporters on-site at Tahrir Square. All that mattered seemed to be the sizes of the respective crowds on both sides and the threat of confrontation. Anything concerned with the issues themselves was deemed irrelevant. In other words our media covered the Egyptian election the same way they covered our own!

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