Media sleeping

February 6, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More

Now, in the midst of the popular uprising in Egypt, the mainstream media is educating us that Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt, has a well-documented history of being a brutally corrupt man who has been betraying and subjugating the Egyptian people for 30 years. And see here.

But why hasn’t the American media been reporting on this obvious fact until recently? Have they been too busy reporting instead on Michael Jackson, Lindsay Lohan, sexual indiscretions of politicians, sporting events, horserace politics, and bickering pundits? Maybe if the American media had been doing its job reporting, even a little bit, on world politics, Mubarak’s despicable rule would not have gone on this long.  The undeniable fact is that our highly consolidated mega-corporate media has been closing down foreign bureaus at a startling rate:

In closing all their outposts abroad, a number of newspapers — most notably the Boston Globe, Newsday, the Philadelphia Inquirer and some Tribune Co. papers — put an end to long, much heralded traditions of delivering foreign news in their own way to their own readers, of covering patches of the globe that their audiences had a particular, sometimes singular, interest in. They covered breaking news and big stories, to be sure. But, perhaps more often, correspondents from these papers were ahead of the news or off it completely, telling stories about interesting people, places and customs that you just couldn’t read anywhere else. They had passports. They wandered. And they took their readers with them.

Many editors say that kind of reporting was a luxury. Now, with some noteworthy exceptions, it is a relic, gone the way of paper tape and the pica pole. Unlike those artifacts of days past, foreign bureaus were not replaced by new technology. They were not replaced at all.

What else are we missing because the mainstream media would rather not spend the time and money doing real journalism covering important world events?

One further note.  Why are we now, finally getting any coverage on this popular uprising in Egypt?  Is it because our news outlets suddenly care about burgeoning democracies, or is it that they obsess over images of people fighting in the streets.  Think, also, of how the coverage of the popular uprising in Iran faded once the easily photographed violence subsided.  

We aren’t connoisseurs of world politics.  Rather, we are avid consumers of conflict pornography.


Category: Media

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (3)

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  1. TheThinkingMan says:

    The sad state of the Human condition.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    From Huffpo:

    "Egypt's state under Mubarak's regime is an embodiment of corruption," concludes the report, with descriptions of numerous allegations of corruption involving bribery, undue influence and nepotism."

    Again, why was the U.S. supporting this regime? Why wasn't our media heavily criticizing this dysfunctional foreign policy? Because it has long been obsessed with things like Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton, professional sports and all kinds of other entertainment pieces dressed up as "news."

    What the people of Egypt have done is heroic. In addition to liberating their country they have exposed corrupt U.S. foreign policy and the sad state of most American news outlets.

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