Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

The same side to both stories (the Lebanese press in a nutshell)

Posted by worriedlebanese on 06/12/2007

As I was reading through a couple of Lebanese dailies this morning, I realised what’s wrong with them. It’s not that they give you one side of the story. This would be an impossible feat in Lebanon. It’s not that there are different sides to each story, but for every set of events, social groups and political actors narrate them in a totally different manner, describing a different story. Ideally, the press should be trying to constitute it’s own story, a global one, taking into account those of the main political groups without espousing any. But the polarisation in Lebanon is so strong today, that journalists have been unable to keep a foot on each side of the divide (and this is also true in Academia). Each and every one of them chooses to stand firmly on one side, convinced that there are two stories (no more and no less). Trying to sound fair, they give you an account of each, their account, from the same vantage point (firmly set on one flank of the divide), hence the same side to both stories. This is the case of the many editorials you find scattered around on the pages of Lebanese dailies. Let’s now go searching for the information, those little articles that are meant to enlighten you on what’s going on. And what do you find there? twenty to thirty different voices every day. Politicians commenting on the news, telling you “what really happened” and what “exactly is the opponent’s hidden agenda”.I think I’m going to take a week off from the Lebanese press.  

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