Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

What’s wrong with the Tayyar picture?

Posted by worriedlebanese on 18/11/2009

Let’s go beyond the article’s obvious polemical and partisan approach, and grasp its central argument: There are a lot of lies, fabrication and an obvious political agenda behind the pro “March XIV” media. In other words, there is very little information and a lot of latent and blatant political opinion. What the posting doesn’t say is that the same is true of the pro “Opposition” media. So if you take a step back and looks at the media landscape, you’ll notice that the overwhelming majority of journalists, editorialists and  news-directors have taken sides. Then it becomes painfully obvious that we have a problem. The country lacks a fourth estate. Information has been dwindling for years, and what we are left with is an abundance of uninformed and emotionally driven stances.

Look closely at the orange banner in the previous post. Notice its claim? Don’t you find it strange that a party’s official internet platform considers itself a leading news source? Don’t you find it even stranger that its claim is actually true. Do you honestly see any difference (style withstanding) between it and actual news outlets (traditional and  internet based) when comparing their content?

When traditional news outlets neglect their primary function of collecting and processing information,  and work as simple relays in political communication, can you blame political platforms that work pretty much in the same way for claiming the same title?

Enough rants. Now let’s try to see what new info we can salvage from this opinion paper (the French have a better term for it “Billet d’humeur”  that the practitioner in me calls “Billet de mauvaise humeur”).

  1. “March XIV” pundits have been relatively quiet lately.
  2. “March XIV” (power brokers, pundits and publics)  is disappointed with the outcome of the cabinet formation (this is particularly true for the March XIV christians) while the “Opposition” is globally satisfied.

I think that’s about it. The anonymous author is so caught up in the national divide, so tangled up in his rhetorical battle that he fails to understand his own position and how much it neutralises his personal attacks against the “opposing” camp. He also shares with many analysts of local affairs (and maybe even some politicians, while I very much doubt that) the idea that politics is mainly a verbal game. While words and communication certainly do matter, it seems to me that they can only be understood within a power structure and a game as defined or understood by its players.

3 Responses to “What’s wrong with the Tayyar picture?”

  1. PN said

    Hi WL,

    First, let me answer your question by saying that I do not see anything wrong with the Tayyar picture. The header design was made to celebrate tayyar.org’s 7th anniversary. And yes, according to web access ranking, they’ve come out as #1 in Lebanon for several yrs now. As such, I “don’t find it strange that this party’s official internet platform considers itself a leading news source.”

    As far as the article itself is concerned, I agree with you that it should have been listed under Opinion Pieces rather than news. However, it seems that it was among the most read links. Consequently, such pieces get highlighted in the main section & vice versa.

    Regardless though, this is not the first time tayyar.org lists an opinion piece for an FPMer or a pro-FPM author the likes of Dr. Rida Hammoud, General Amine Hteit, Nassif, Laila El-Rahbani…etc. The only difference is that the author opted to stay anonymous this time. Such opinion pieces are posted side by side to the news and political analysis articles. Hence, to sate that it is an “orange version of Now Lebanon” is somewhat an overstretch. In my opinion, Now Lebanon’s sole existence is to bash tayyar and its leadership.

    Kind Regards.

  2. Dear PN
    You answer my first rhetorical question while ignoring the following two that shed more light to it.
    I’m dreadfully tedious today, so I’ll reformulate my argument by distinguishing each proposition in a pseudo-Wittgensteinian manner. Reading this comment could actually help some readers in their struggle with insomnia!

    1. Tayyar.org is the FPM’s official internet platform
    2. Tayyar.org considers itself a news source
    3. Political platforms and news platforms have distinct goals and functions.
    -3.1 A Political platform’s focus is to broaden and mobilise a political base
    –3.1.1 This goal entails convincing its readers of its worldview
    –3.1.2 To convince one’s readers, the platform has to process data in a particular way
    –3.1.3 The processing integrates data that serves its argument and discards the data that contradicts it.
    -3.2 A News platform’s focus is to inform its readers on recent events
    — 3.2.1 This goal entails gathering and processing of data considered informative.
    — 3.2.2 News platform aims at being value-neutral and objective
    — 3.2.3 Value-Neutrality and objectivity require independence from a political agenda
    -3.3 To convince and to inform follow two distinct and irreconcilable approaches to data processing.
    4. When a political platform considers itself a news platform, it is straddling two distinct and somewhat opposing goals and functions
    5. The fact that a political platform is considered as a news platform is problematic
    – 5.1 It could mean that the readers do not distinguish between the two functions of the two platforms
    – 5.2 It could mean that the two functions are not distinguished within the system
    6. A glance at news platforms validates the second hypothesis.
    7. The problem is larger than the FPM, it concerns the Lebanese Media (Press, Television, Radio, Internet) in general.

  3. PN said

    “Reading this comment could actually help some readers in their struggle with insomnia!”

    LOL…somehow, your writings have the opposite effect on me.

    Anyhow, thanks for “reformulating” your points. For the most part, I agree with you & I settle my case, but I’d like to add that not only “the problem is larger than the FPM”, and that “it concerns the Lebanese Media (Press, Television, Radio, Internet) in general”, but it is a chronic problem with the media at large; i.e. regional and international. Can you name me a truely objective media outlet?

    Regards.

    PS: why do I have the feeling/notion that you’re in the process of drafting your dissertation?

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