UPDATED: The MEDIA Is The Message (Amanpour’s Anticlimax)

Ethics,Journalism,Left-Liberalism And Progressivisim,Media,Middle East,Pop-Culture,Propaganda


Good journalism doesn’t assert or hypothesize; it reports the facts dispassionately, and from all sides of a dispute. Alas, I have just heard Neil Cavuto suggest, casually, to a guest on his FoxNews show, that the Egyptian police are probably embedded in the crowds and causing the commotion. The stupidity of the American media’s mindset; the need to see matters in simplistic, either/or dichotomies—this alone should disqualify them from reporting on the news. But inherent in what I’ve said is a presumption of standards. These no longer matter in journalism (and in many more fields of endeavor).

Cavuto’s sentiments, shared by the media monolith, proceed from the assumption that the Egyptian protesters are as pure as the driven snow, and that, therefore, the aggression witnessed must be the handiwork of agents provocateurs. This, even though we don’t have reliable information from all sources to determine what is unfolding on the streets of Cairo. Neil could be right. But good reporting is not a chance affair. In floating assumptions, Cavuto, like almost every other journalist reporting on Egypt, is out of line. They are helping to cement opinion in the absence of facts. Where is Michael Ware when you need him? (http://www.mickware.info/2011News/2011News.php)

Ware is probably too manly for the girls at CNN. Which brings me to that channel’s Alpha Female: the vain, posturing, preachy Anderson Cooper. Remember when this narcissist had his crew film him lugging around an injured Haitian boy? Cooper was roughed up in Egypt (a good producer should have taken him to the woodshed a long time ago). So he turned that into The Story; found a safe haven, where he hunkered down, and whiled-away the evening broadcast repeating what he had endured. Like Cavuto, Cooper also allowed himself to carelessly hypothesize—this time about the possibility of a Tiananmen-Square type occurrence the following day. Quite a few of his colleagues in the “profession” referred irresponsibly (almost wishfully) to the Tienanmen Square massacre, vis-a-vis Egypt.

The American media colors events by refracting them through a sickeningly sentimental prism, often creating reality on the ground, instead of reporting on it.

Marshall McLuhan said that the medium is the message. Is that still true? It is not the technology that molds the events—technology facilitates and frees information. Rather, it is the jet-setting journalist whose persona and ideology propel his pursuits.


Watching Christiane Amanpour on ABC this morning, it appeared this woman devoutly wished a revolution along certain lines. It had to be a world-shattering, epoch-shaping event. For this media moment, she was brought forth, along with her male counterpart, Fareed Zakaria.
However this breathless, transcendent moment got bogged down in bureaucracy. In her interview with Egyptian Vice-President Suleiman, it became apparent that Muburak would not step down before September, that the Egyptian parliament would proceed in an incremental, step-wise fashion to implement reform, and that the government was asking the crowds to disperse and go back home to their daily lives and jobs.
So much for the orgiastic climax to the days of rage and the revolution. ‘Twas not the consummation devoutly to be desired.

The point being that this is not how news is done.

11 thoughts on “UPDATED: The MEDIA Is The Message (Amanpour’s Anticlimax)

  1. sunnyblack

    “Cooper was roughed up in Egypt”
    -Sorry? Roughed up you say? I’ve faced much worse outside random bars around 2am.

    I’m surprised AC didn’t do two things:
    a. citizens arrest for the ‘Hate’ crime perpetrated on him.
    b. counter: “Why are you doing this?! I’m on your side. My President is Obama, remember?” And then sheepishly, “his middle name is Hussein!”

    I’m surprised Amanpour didn’t attempt (b) as well when faced with the barks of ‘because we hate America!’ Did anyone else snicker to themselves when she asked, ‘but why do you hate America??’ This is what happens when politically correct, liberal (and naieve, but I repeat myself) journolists come face to face with Middle Eastern attitudes toward the U.S.

    Lastly, I didn’t ask AC360 to risk his life in the middle of a ‘great story’. He’s not brave. He’s not a fire fighter running into a burning building. I don’t need AC from an undisclosed location to inform me and enlighten me. He’s entertainment at best. He’s not hard news or real news. Anderson doesn’t need to be in the middle of Cairo any more than he needs to be in the middle of a Cat 5 hurricane in New Orleans or a triage in Haiti. He’s kidding himself. He thinks he’s Batman: spoiled little rich boy playing crusading journalist, out to make a difference (and heal himself in the process?). I’m glad you’re ok, Anderson. You really don’t have to pretend to almost get yourself scratched on the head on my account.

    And after years of beating up on Tea Party folks and those who merely object to Obama’s central planning statism, I roll my eyes when Amanpour does a story in Egypt about the bravery of peaceful protesters wanting reform.

  2. Myron Pauli

    (Oops – here’s the post:)

    I followed events in great detail during the time of the Chinese student uprising of 1989. Remember that the majority of the students wanted to abandon the square after begged by Zhou Ziyang and go back home to organize. However, about 20% insisted on remaining. Many of them were actually hardcore Maoists, others may have been police agents, and still others were hotheads insisting that the government turn itself in for war tribunals. Well, the government was somewhat forced into either surrendering to or wiping out this group – hence Tienanmen Square “massacre” (for a nation the size of China, very very few got killed – contrast the casualties with Mao’s bloody history).

    After Tienanmen Square and the video of “Tank Man” (which actually illustrates some restraint by the Army which had retreated previously), the networks then wove a tale to suit its simplistic ratings-craving America-is-exceptional narrative of bad Commies vs. the peaceful innocent students.

    Contrast Tienanmen Square with Abe Lincoln’s reactions to Fort Sumpter’s surrender when no one got killed!!

    Media “advocacy” combined with willful ignorance is not only on the left – I suggest reading Uber-cynic Fred Reed excellent columns on Fox News’ Afghan War boosterism:



  3. JMDonald

    I like Cavuto but saddened to see him fall into the speculation trap.As far as Anderson Cooper goes I find pleasure in knowing he was roughed up.It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving individual.Don’t they realize they lose credibility when they participate in this type of non-reporting?

  4. George Pal

    I imagine most everyone that’s put their mug in front of a camera on a daily basis has a tune trapped in their heads You Can Be The Stars. Anderson Cooper (and others) must have it in their heads in an endless loop.

    You can be the stars. You can be the tune.
    There’s nothing at all that you cannot do.

  5. Bob Schaefer

    Myron, you’ve made more cogent and less repugnant comments.

    What percentage of the population must a government kill before good journalism can properly label the killing a “massacre?” Estimates of those killed by the Chinese Communist government in Tiananmen Square range from 400 to 3000. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989

    By the way, current Chinese Paramount Leader Hu Jintao “was one of the first regional leaders to declare his support for the central authorities’” crackdown in Tiananmen Square. But that’s neither here nor there. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hu_Jintao

    Rumor has it that the “Tank Man” was “executed 14 days” after the massacre. Moreover, according to Wikipedia: “A political purge followed in which officials responsible for organizing or condoning the protests were removed, and protest leaders jailed. According to Amnesty International at least 300 people were killed in Chengdu on 5 June. Troops in Chengdu used concussion grenades, truncheons, knives and electric cattle prods against civilians.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989

    It seems to me that if “bad Commies vs. the peaceful innocent students” is a false dichotomy of the American media, then your own dichotomy of the Communist Party’s choice of action in Tiananmen Square (“surrendering to or wiping out” the protesters) is false as well.

    And please explain how a government can be “somewhat forced” into making such a choice. Forced by whom?

  6. Mark Humphrey

    Anderson Cooper is a left-wing reporter and pundit. Neil Cavuto is an uncurious, mentally-fuzzy conservative. Both share a common policy of thought in that neither thinks in terms of principles. Nor do most other reporters and pundits. Rather, they seem to habitually process information through vague associations connected to their feelings, and their estimate of the boundaries of “acceptable” thinking.

    Show someone like this facts that contradict her felt beliefs, and she’ll respond with indifference, as though the evidence were irrelevant! For to people who “think” in this manner, it is irrelevant!

    Facts do not get their respect, because they just know–deep down–that abstract reasoning is unreliable and treacherous. What counts for them is authority in the realm of ideas, which leads logically to political collectivism.

    So when Cooper, Cavuto and their ilk treat facts as optional or unimportant, when they opine instead of investigate, perhaps they are simply “acting out” their conviction that important people make facts. After all, Cooper and Cavuto are both “important”, in a popular sense.

  7. Robert Glisson

    #1. The media is the message. It is how information is presented that makes all the difference. At this time, only a small part of the Egyptian populace is protesting, yet all the news coverage concentrates on it as if it were the country itself. If there were true “Fair and Unbiased” reporting, who knows where it would lead, possibly nowhere. #2. All governments are oppressive by nature; that’s why Libertarians say “The best government is the one that governs least.” I really don’t know the full story on China; is its government abusive by nature or because they have a population over three times the size of ours on the same land mass and feel they have no choice. For that matter Myron and Bob use different news sources for the same event in Tiananmen square. Both had similar but differing descriptions and in some cases use the word ‘rumor.’ I get an e-mail advertisement from a man called “Matt Fury” that sells physical education products, lives in China and the US. He states that China is a better country than the US as far as personal freedom and property right is concerned. Who to believe?

  8. Myron Pauli

    Re Tienanmen – 400 to 3000 killed by the successors of a Mao who killed 75,000,000 is not that bad in a country where millions died in famines and civil wars for generations. We might ask how many Americans die because the FDA holds medicines off the market and how many die because of our idiotic war on drugs which jails hundreds of thousands. Here is Anti-War.Com’s Justin Raimondo’s take on Tienanmen:


    Since the most militant students did not get their way and the government did not oblige them by committing self-destruction, we will never know whether a republican form a government would have arisen or another Robespierre/Mao out of the chaos.

    What did arise is a more prosperous authoritarian China – growing slightly more free as the US increases its debt and grows less free in time.

    I was sad at the time that the students did not discipline themselves to have a peaceful exit strategy in their demans.

  9. Dan Jeffreys

    When any story is presented to you by the “main stream” (i.e. virtually state run) media in the United States, you will always have it presented to you in the form of WHAT to think, as that’s their model. I thought it was a very telling quote from Steve Kroft’s 60 Minutes interview of Julian Assange http://www.clipsandcomment.com/2011/01/30/transcript-julian-assange-interviewed-by-cbs-60-minutes-steve-kroft/ (in which Assange ate Kroft’s lunch in my opinion) when Kroft said this: “While most reporters pride themselves in gathering information and interpreting it for a larger audience, the WikiLeaks model is different – it prefers to take raw data, make it available and let others decide the meaning”. Did you get that? THEY look at the information and interpret what it means for you and then tell you what to think. If anyone hasn’t seen that interview I suggest you read the transcript or watch it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzC9invn4Ko


  10. Dan Jeffreys

    While we’re on the subject of the media, I caught a glimpse of Christiane Amanpour’s interview with the Egyptian Vice President this morning. It was like watching this very intelligent grown man trying to explain something to a third grader. She tried to tell him that these youth in the streets have been fed by the internet and are yearning for democracy and freedom and when he in turn told her that no, this is largely being driven behind the scenes by the Islamists her eyes glazed over like he’d just told a little girl the Easter Bunny wasn’t real. It was quite embarrassing actually.

Comments are closed.