Wild Muslim Rioters Lose Control!
The protests in Lebanon against the Danish embassy (provoked by the publication by right-wing provocateurs of some bizarrely offensive cartoons depicting Muhammed with a bomb on top of his head) have been getting a lot of media coverage lately. Can you match the news coverage with the media source?
First are 6 quotes, then the 6 sources, in a different order.
1) "The demonstration outside [the Danish Mission] turns violent as the crowd throws rocks, smashes windows and torches a kiosk. Other demonstrators vandalize several downtown buildings and snarl traffic."
2) "Their violent tactics put them on center stage as they rampaged through downtown, smashing store windows with hammers, spray-painting buildings and slashing tires. The self-proclaimed [Muslim fundamentalists] appeared to be mostly teenagers and twentysomethings who donned [traditional garb]."
3) "Protesters angry over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad clashed with Lebanese security forces today, setting a building housing the [Danish Mission] on fire and attacking a nearby church."
4) "With the clashes spread out over several hours and locations, there were numerous injuries, including several [protesters] and police with bloody head wounds, and a woman who lost consciousness amid a thick, acrid cloud of tear gas. At one point, protesters smashed their way through police lines and entered the outer buildings of the [embassy compound]. However, they were quickly driven out by police using truncheons - and according to one unconfirmed report - rubber bullets. ... 'The enemy have gathered near here,' explained one young police officer. 'There are hundreds of them, so we have blocked the roads.' The fighting transformed a whole stretch of the city. ... The shopping and dining [district] was similarly blocked off. Instead of traffic and shoppers, the streets echoed with ambulence sirens, the buzz of police helicopters, the rhythmic drumming beaten out by [Lebanese] farm women in traditional dress, and the occasional dull crack of a tear gas round."
5) "As tens of thousands marched through downtown [Beirut], a small group of self-described [fundamentalists] smashed windows and vandalized stores. Police responded with rubber bullets and pepper gas."
6. "A guerrilla army of [Muslim fundamentalists] took control of downtown [Beirut] today."
a. The Washington Post
c. The LA Times
d. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
e. The New York Times
f. The Observer
The answers are below, after the picture:
1. Coverage of the 1992 Rodney King protests in the LA Times
2. Coverage of the 1999 Seattle WTO protests in the The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
3. Coverage of the 2006 Lebanese protests in the New York Times
4. Coverage of the 2005 Hong Kong WTO protests in The Observer (UK)
5. Coverage of the 1999 Seattle WTO Protests on CNN
6. Coverage of the 1999 Seattle WTO Protests in the Washington Post
I changed a few words in [brackets] in each quote. What is my point?
My point is two-fold.
First, there are often radical elements at protests, and sometimes they reject nonviolence. These extremists are usually teens and young men, and they usually don't represent the majority of protesters.
Second, these radical fringes almost always get much more coverage in mainstream media than nonviolent protesters.
The news coverage of the Lebanese protests seems alarmist and to be playing into the hands of the Danish white supremacists who started the whole thing with the explicit goal of provoking a clash of civilizations. The mainstream media's bias, as almost always, is decidedly conservative.
News channels and newspapers have a deep institutional bias that reflects most journalists' politically centrist, upper middle class, parochial perspectives. Unfortunately, that means they are all too ready to believe that, once again, those radical protesters have lost control, with the rioters this time being wild, scary Muslims.
Score one for the right-wing provocateurs.
Tags:islam,news and politics ,danish cartoons,media bias,WTO, ,Jyllands-posten