Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Magnifying Zero

I’ve come to realize that the major difference between the Arab media in general and the Israeli one is a matter of interaction with the viewers. While one is resonant and high-sounding, the other is reserved and digested; while one is too informative, the other is somehow too secretive (plz note that we’re not talking freedom of speech here, rather reports of breaking news). So both media outlets, on extreme ends of the scale, need to find their balance. Let’s take this piece of news for example:

“Israel kills 50 civilians in the occupied territories”

The Israeli version of the story would be to underestimate the news, omit any footage of the massacre, reduce the number of victims by half, accuse the deceased of being terrorists, and proclaim its right to self-defense. The usual bullshit ya3neh.

The Palestinian version of the story (and this has actually happened a couple of years ago, or so I’ve heard) would be to add another zero to the 50, hence amounting the number of the victims to 500.

So the international community (UN people), which could have been appalled enough by the fifty victims, would rush to issue statements and resolutions to condemn the massacre of the so-called 500. When discovering what has exaclty happened (which of course it will in the end), the number 50, that would have startled it in the beginning, now looks insignificant in comparison with the 500. So, instead of the: “OMG, those poor fifty people!”, the reaction would be: “Oh thank God, they are only 50!”

Not that I’m saying that our media has exaggerated in running the news over the past month and a half. Isreal ma bit2asser and it will surely provide us with enough morbid news supply for years and years to come. The problem is we’re accumulative, and sometimes it turns into a “khabissa” of news, instead of a clear and defined message.

hinneh kteer m3atmeen, na7na mrakbeen neon bi 50 alf ampere.