Friday, September 17, 2010
Imagine the egos of an Arab President. Egypt's President Husni Mubarak was hosting a meeting between American President Barack Obama, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and in a photo taken, Mubarak was walking on the left side behind everyone.
Now, Mubarak did not look like he was in bad health as has been reported by his many critics. He looked very healthy in fact.
But in the photo run in alAhram, the state-run newspaper often censored by the Egyptian government, Mubarak was "photo shopped" and repositioned to the front of the line of leaders on the red carpet.
BBC which reported the journalism manipulation could not get a response from Mubarak or Egypt, but anyone could easily conclude that Mubarak was concerned that he looked like he was walking "behind" the other leaders, including Israel, and they didn't want that. It is much like the controversy involving President Barack Obama bowing during a meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia, an Arab country that has been a stalwart ally of the United States. Morons and extremists in America tried to interpret the bow as being something akin to subjugation of the United States by Saudi Arabia.
Many fanatics in America -- and there are many including in the mainstream news media -- wrote that it was insulting and that an American president should never -- NEVER -- bow to any foreign leader, especially to an Arab leader, kind of a racist suggestion that drives most of the reporting on Middle East issues.
Click HERE to read the story on Yahoo News.
-- Ray Hanania
Thursday, September 02, 2010
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
The National Arab American Journalists Association (NAAJA) is proud to announce their 2010 Journalism Conventionw ill be held in Dearborn Nov. 12, 13 and 14. The conference will feature speakers from the Arab World Media and panel discussions addressing challenges facing American Arab journalism. Stay tuned here for details and registration information.
Visit www.NAAJA-US.com for more information.
ALSO, NAAJA is proud to be a co-sponsor this year of the ADC Dinner honoring Helen Thomas Nov. 18 in Washington DC. Visit www.ADC.org for details on the dinner event. This year's Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award will be announced at the ADC Dinner!
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Obama administration shows respect to American Arab journalists
By Ray Hanania
Although there is much to debate about the ability of President Barack Obama to bring peace to the Middle East, there is no doubt that he is doing more than any of his predecessors to recognize the importance of American Arab journalists.
In the nearly two years since his election, Obama has slowly and steadily opened the White House to access to Arab World and American Arab journalists, a group that has been missing in action in most past White House Middle East peace events.
Although American Arabs were invited to witness the historic signing of the now failed Oslo Peace Accords in 1993 by former President Bill Clinton, not invited were American Arab journalists.
Now, American Arab journalists are joining Arab World journalists in obtaining access to firsthand news from the White House, not only in coverage of Iraq but also in coverage of day-to-day news.
The White House has accepted an Arab journalist to be the pool reporter during the restoration of peace talks after a two-year lull between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Although the selection of Yasmeen Alamiri from the Saudi Press Agency to lead the press pool coverage of the Abbas-Netanyahu meeting, the news reports are, for the first time, those pool reports are being made available directly to the American Arab Press. (Read the pool reports at the American Arab News Wire at http://aams.blogspot.com).
Officials at the U.S. State Department have also reached out to the American Arab media to provide thought leaders from the U.S. Government to discuss American policy spin.
Mainstream American media might scoff at the idea of journalists celebrating being put on the government’s PR spin list, but the fact that the government feels it is important now, for the first time, to spin the American Arab media is a significant shift in U.S. Government strategy.
There are more than 103 American Arab newspapers and magazines in the United States today according to an inventory kept by the National Arab American Journalists Association (www.NAAJA-US.com). There are nearly 300 American Arabs in professional journalism, with half working in the mainstream American media and the other half working in the ethnic American Arab media.
American Arabs in the mainstream media, though, are usually assigned to non-Middle Eastern beats and topics, a fact that contradicts the experience of other ethnic journalists like Hispanics and African Americans who are often tapped to cover their own ethnic communities.
American Arab journalists in the ethnic media specifically write about Middle Eastern topics, although as much as 75 percent of the writing is op-ed or opinion commentary content rather than objective news or enterprises feature writing.
These publications reach deeper into one of the most ignored ethnic constituencies in America, Arabs and Muslims, than any other mainstream publication. American Arabs and Muslims do subscribe to, read and watch mainstream American media. But when reporting comes to Middle East topics or Islamic topics, the level of skepticism is higher than the average American.
American Arab publications also have a strong connection to the Arab world media. More often today than a decade before, Arab World reporters and producers are seeking out American Arab journalists in both the ethnic and mainstream media to assist them in identifying sources and stories.
The internet has played a significant role in leveling the playing field between American Arab media and the mainstream American media. More and more, American Arab journalists are also being engaged as commentators on mainstream media panels, interview and news programs. They are being tapped and quoted as resources to round out mainstream media stories.
At some point, American Arab journalists will find their place alongside mainstream American journalists, and their impact in forcing a balanced coverage of Middle East and Islamic topics will continue to grow.
(Ray Hanania is the 2010 winner of the Sigma Delta Chi award from column writing and was named Best Ethnic American Columnist by the New America Media in 2007. He hosts a weekday morning Chicago radio show and can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com.)