Monday, May 5, 2014

How one reporter stood up for what he believed in


On Sunday the non profit press monitoring and analysis organization Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posted a clip from an Egyptian news program Al-Hayat TV.
During the broadcast the TV host, Moataz Al-Demerdash, stops a guest during an interview when he disagreed with what the latter said.
I actually saw this first on Reddit and while I know that this video was posted there so that the website's largely rabid atheist Richard Dawkins-obsessed users could feast on the head of the Egyptian Paris community's flesh, not to mention that France isn't exactly religiously tolerant to women who choose to wear the hijab, I liked how the host didn't just let this guy's comment slide when it was clearly irrelevant to his question. If the head of the community hadn't let his pride get hurt and hung up, they could have had a fruitful discussion. Too bad!

Now MEMRI has been criticized for portraying the Middle East and Muslims in a negative fashion by selectively publishing content that features extremists and failing to publish videos of mainstream or progressive opinions or to translate their statements. This clip kinda legitimizes this criticism because the head of the community is depicted as a stereotypical intolerant Arab man because of his anti-Christian comments. But then again he is criticized by a fellow Arab for his bigotry so that flies in the face of assumptions that all people belonging to a certain demographic group act in the same way. The former Middle East editor of The Guardian Brian Whitaker has accused MEMRI of being biased towards Israel’s political agenda. Of course everyone has a bias, but since MEMRI is a research institution, or least claims to be, it is held to a higher standard than the individual. And the founders of MEMRI are a former Israeli military intelligence officer and an Israeli born political scientist. Hmmm. What did you think of the video? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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