The state of coverage of Syria could not have been worse. It is a battle of vulgar propaganda between the regime on the one hand, and the Saudi and Qatari media on the other hand.
Of course, the tyrannies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are raising the banner of democracy, and they want us to believe that. AlJazeera’s propaganda is more feverish and intense than Al-Arabiyya (the news station of King Fahd’s brother-in-law). Tantawi sugar deal with Emir of Qatar is evident in the absence of coverage (or just barely) on the channel.
Today, I did not find anything. They want to cover up for Tantawi to the end, the way they are covering up for the Bahraini ruling family. They report on the “dialogue” session in Bahrain as if it is a democratic development.
Yesterday, I watched Syrian regime TV: they lie so blatantly. According to the regime, there is still a roving criminal and terrorist network that travels around the country and shoots at protesters and at regime security men (they call them “law preserving forces” which in Arabic can also mean “regime preserving forces”).
The narrator read a propagandistic report accompanied by footage of kids throwing rocks (presumably to prove that they are “terrorist”–the Syrian regime must have learned that from Israel). Yesterday, they thought they found evidence of the terrorist network: they showed a grainy picture of a guy shooting. Kid you not. I don’t know what North Korean TV is like, but they remind me of it for some reason. (I remember that Patrick Seale once told me that the English language daily of the regime is modeled–literally–after the North African daily).
There is also the pattern of surrealism: they hold hours of discussion about some technical issue. Yesterday, the reporter went to the street and asked people what “civilization” means. I thought that they were playing on the classist bias of some Syrians who look at the protesters as low class (many refer to them in pejoratively classist terms as “Fathers of slippers” Or as shoeless).
One reporter asked a woman whether civilization has to require certain conditions of upringing. It was just bizarre. I saw a propagandist of the regime on Al-Arabiyya: he was going after Syrian dissident, Haytham Al-Malih, and he said: “he looks like a fuel vendor on the street”. I was so furious. He did not like the suit and tie that Malih had on, it seems.
What a joke: the Ba`th Party used to pretend to champion poor people and now this propagandist of repression is complaining about one guy’s appearance because it reminded him of a street vendor. The Ba`th Party should change its motto: to fragmentation, repression, and Rami Makhluf and his cronies. That is the true Ba`th Party.
Aljazeera, on the other hand, continues its unbelievable and propaganda intensity. They now rely on reports by “internet activists”. I kid you not. But say what you want about them, I admire their “eyewitnesses”. Their one eye witness, “Abu Muhammad” is capable of seeing protests from his window in 10 cities and towns simultaneously. The channel should also change its motto. It should become: the opinion of the Qatari royal family–backed by Abu Muhammad’s report.