Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What About Egypt?


Is it just me or are you completely amazed by the difference in coverage between the London bombings and the bombings in Egypt?

After the London bombings that killed 50 something people, we heard ad nauseum about each person who died, about cute websites with trite cliches that take the place of legitimate grief counseling, "we are not afraid" became the new Brit tagline and Americans responded in the only way they know how - raise the risk alert to scare the shit out of the population and then jump up and down for joy that someone else in the White world can share in the misery. If you're Fox News you yelled obscenities and then laughed about the investment opportunity the bombing provides for your corporate profiteering audience.

Over the weekend, several bombs ripped through one of the most beautiful places on earth, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in the Sinai Desert. The bombs destroyed a hotel, a market place, and, to date, have killed 88 people. There is no doubt the American media have covered it, but do we hear from the Egyptians whose lives have been irredeemably destroyed by the event? Nope. Do we hear from the survivors on their horrific experiences? Barely a peep. Is the human dimension important? Not really.

Instead, the bulk of American coverage has consisted of strained efforts to figure out how to claim that it was an attack against Israel because Israelis visit Sharm. Since the Israel angle does not fit very well, however, the story has lost its luster in the corporate media, even as rescuers continue to pull bodies from the rubble. A bombing in a Muslim country that could have actually targeted the MANY Muslims who work and vacation in Sharm doesn't fit well into the us v. them, Islam v. West baloney that is the theme of much of American news. Seeing a grieving Muslim mother who has lost a child as mothers in America and London have is bound to elicit sympathy and might lead a wayward American to think that Muslims are humans who share the same experiences and emotions.

If you want the human side of the Egypt bombings, you can read about the poor people who didn't make it home from work that day. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/752/fr4.htm

18 Comments:

At 12:43 PM, July 26, 2005 , Blogger chad said...

Are you really amazed at the differential coverage? You obviously did not do your American media math to arrive at your expected coverage calculation. To remind you.

Media attention = casualties(weight)

American casualty: weight = 1

European casualty: weight = 0.75

Asian casualty : weight = 0.2

African casualty (sub-saharan): weight = 0.05

Arabic Islamic casualty: weight = 0.01

Ofcourse you have to add in fudge factors like if a blond Alabama teen comes up missing in Aruba, you have to weight it up. Or if it's just good-old-fashion ethnic genocide in Africa, you weight it down.

If you had simply taken to the time to do the math that our media moguls use to assign coverage, you would not have been so surprised.

Come now... I thought you knew better.

Your nothing amazes me anymore brethren,
chad

"Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers is another."
~Gilbert K. Chesterton

PS: almost as sarcastic as you, huh?

 
At 7:36 AM, July 27, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

I will be sure to use this calculus the next time I check out the coverage of a death toll. :-) The scary part is that it will probably work.

Where do you get all those cool quotes?

 
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