While I’m waiting

For the hosting data center to “reboot to fix latency they call it”, I’ll share this link on media self-absobrtion by Claudia Rosette. It’s the best article I’ve read so far about the Newsweek debacle. Money grafs”

But the chief victims to date have been the rioters themselves, some of whom died as the violence escalated. A Washington Post report Monday quoted an Afghan dry-goods salesman, Del Agha, who joined one of the riots, as saying: “We wanted to have a peaceful demonstration, but the demonstration was like a car and some people who are the enemies of Afghanistan took the steering wheel and turned it in the wrong direction.”

As recounted in the Arab News, an English-language newspaper based in Saudi Arabia, Afghans angered by the Newsweek story “have lashed out in fury in all directions. The fact that not only government and UN buildings were burned, but even mosques shows the depths of their rage. The same level of public anger has been reported from Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt and many other Muslim countries.”

Let’s pause right there. We are hearing that Muslims, infuriated by a report of blasphemy, went on violent rampages that resulted in . . . dead Muslims and burned mosques. Meanwhile, not only is Newsweek apologizing and retracting, but the U.S. government is regretting the loss of life.

What’s really going on here is two stories. One involves Newsweek and the ups and downs of U.S. journalism. The other involves a swath of the Islamic world in which anger, fueled by years of gross political misrule, is a chronic feature of life–seeking to acquire a target. What produced these particular riots was the intersection of Islamic-world furies and that brand of U.S. self-absorption in which no subject is more fascinating to the American media than any possible misdeeds of the U.S. itself.

One media flaw that this (and every other article I’ve read) misses is that the media will not acknowledge that there are large parts of the world that are unreachable to them, yet it acts like it’s giving you the whole picture. It will not admit ignorance.

While we’re awash in celebrity stories, and the white house press pool will devote considerable time to getting their affectations right, we hear very little about the hundreds dead in Uzbekistan, and next to nothing about Darfour. Yet one never sees Peter Jennings saying “we have no Central Asian news tonight because the government won’t allow us in. Now J-Lo and P Diddy are back together….”

The two points are not entirely related but I thought I should get them on paper.

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