Blogger Ezra Levant thinks that mainstream media was too busy navel-gazing to pay attention to more important stories coming out of Cairo.
“As always, this revolution was about them — just ask them. More media attention was given to the fact that CNN’s dreamy anchor, Anderson Cooper, was roughed up by protesters than was given to investigating the anti-women, anti-secular, anti-Semitic, anti-western ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, though they’re the likely victors of any “election” that might be held in coming months. Most of today’s journalists are too young to have covered the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, so this was their moment. So they are weepy cheerleaders, not reporters. And they are only too happy to say “ditto” to whatever Al Jazeera tells them is happening.”
Levant also informs readers that he hated Mubarak before it was cool.
Pittsburg Post-Gazette‘s Jack Kelly wrote a similar diatribe against journalists:
“Our news media have been of little help in understanding what’s going on. The networks sent their big names to Cairo though none spoke Arabic, knew the culture or knew the players.
“’Their being in Cairo was adding zero news value other than making the plight of Western reporters the focal point of the story, which was not the point of their being in Cairo in the first place,’ said Rich Galen, who had been press secretary for House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“Few journalists have mentioned the protests were sparked by a doubling of food prices in the last year. But the greatest disservice they have done is to misrepresent the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
In response to these and similar comments, Levant’s Sun News colleague David Akin wrote a lengthy blog post for Eye on the Hill that challenged the points Levant raided.
Akin, who spent five days reporting from Cairo’s Tahrir Square, writes that “Actually, I thought Cooper was restrained, if anything, in his coverage of the two assaults he and his crew came under and actually spent much more time on his shows from there and since then exploring the concerns Levant and others have that secular Egypt will be dominated by radical Islamist fundamentalists. (And many CNN’s reporters on the ground in Cairo, by the way, spoke Arabic and at least one Al Jazeera reporter was an American-Egyptian and as a result knew both cultures. Most Western agencies there — Reuters, BBC, etc. — all have Arabic-speaking reporters on the ground in Cairo.)”
“I could find no visible or other evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood was using these events to foment jihad and radical Islam among the protestors. In fact, that was one of the many remarkable things about the events in Egypt: There were no politicians or ‘movements’ leading the protest. There was no Martin Luther King or Lech Walesa or anyone who was giving speeches, organizing protests or anything like that. It was just the people, hard as that may be to believe.”
While journalists shouldn’t ignore the Muslim Brotherhood, Akin says, “journalists on the ground in Egypt have no reason, at this point, to come to the conclusions that Levant and Kelly have arrived at, that the Brotherhood should be condemned as violent fundamentalists. The reality, for now at least, is much more complicated.”