Comment 19285

By statius (registered) | Posted February 25, 2008 at 18:47:35

This is poorly written, poorly edited, poorly argued rubbish. I'm really quite surprised and disappointed to find Baroud's agitprop rhetoric circulated through RTH.

The leaps of logic Baroud makes here are often ridiculous and far from cunning.

Baroud writes: "The latter's [journalist's] responsibility is to narrate, contextualize and deconstruct with an independent and critical eye, not merely reiterate what has been told to him by 'official sources'." This is not always so. The function of journalism is only sometimes to criticize and deconstruct. The conveyance of information and opinions arguably forms the bulk of media responsibility. They do not have to do the critical thinking for us. They deliver the quotes (from the bureaucrats, the generals, the politicians) and we as the media-consuming public can decide whether or not to give credence to them. Reportage is not tantamount to endorsement or validation. We needn't make a hearsay presumption - i.e. that the statements are being entered for the truth of their contents. They are being entered for the simple reason that they are relevant (i.e. made by individuals, usually authorities, with a connection to the story) and have in fact been made. As for why major media provide outlets to authorities and officials but rarely the person on the street, this is just something that journalists have always done. Why? Because officials and authorities tend to give coherent, articulate, informed, reportable statements, whereas average people off the street do not. Furthermore, the authorities and officials are generally the ones most in control of any given situation. We know that the officials and authorities are giving partial, biased statements. We know that their remarks likely only reflect one particular angle of an issue ... This is not evidence of conspiracy.

Further, Baroud chides the Western media for its bias-tainted linguistically tendentious depiction of the Gaza situation, but then offers an infinitely more partisan representation himself. The Palestinians in Gaza are "imprisoned"; US politicians are "self-seeking, power hungry and would do whatever it takes to be elected"; Israel has "mastery" over Western media (typical anti-semitic rhetoric); blah blah blah. This is such self-contradictory tripe it's almost too stupid to critique. Baroud contrasts Western constructions with "reality the way it is" but of course the juxtaposition could just as easily be turned on its head. Rhetoric and propaganda are not merely in the service of the slick, powerful West. Baroud is an angry Palestinian with a hate-on for Jews, Israel and American power. He uses the same assumptions and rhetoric that they use albeit in the inverse. Of course "reality the way it is" is reality as he sees it, just as it is also the way Americans and their media organizations see it. There is no objective middle ground. And even if there were, Baroud would clearly not be one of the select few standing on it.

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