Thursday, 21 January 2010

“They don't help Christians, they behead them”

So, yesterday was the 20th of January. Black January.

A GV journalist commented on the Azeri blogger’s article , daring to suggest that both sides should acknowledge that truly horrible things were done to each other.

And straight away, he got attacked by someone who seemed to have been blinded by his hatred. The guy probably did not even read the comment. He saw the Armenian name and jumped to conclusions. I can just imagine him hitting the keyboard, spitting those words out, not pausing for a second to lsten to what was being said. Attempting to translate a common Russian expression literally into English failed, but the overall mood was pretty clear. But why, I asked this journalist, are you so surprised? Media has always been guilty of selective coverage. And readers just see what they want to see.

I have never realized how balanced the UK media actually is, compared to the US, until I went to NY and was sitting in my friend’s living room, flicking between channels, when she shouted at me from the bathroom:

-What are you doing???!!! You can’t listen to that! That is the Republican news channel!

I was amused: You have news that are openly pro one party and not the other? You mean, you have a news channel that is not even pretending to be balanced and unbiased? ( But then again, what about the Telegraph in the UK?)

And today, as I was thinking about this, I got an email from my friend. Just in time. She likes to send me articles from the Israeli news, which usually focus on how fair and noble Israel is. And portray the evils of the Muslim world. She also likes to send me various articles published in the UK, which, in turn, portray Israel as the only evil and cruel side.

And what I am saying to her is: Chill, girl! Of course, media is biased. Come on! A properly unbiased media simply does not exist. However frustrating it might be to the offended side.

So, today she sent me this.

Briefly, for those who don’t speak Russian, this article claims that the “Muslim world does not give a damn about the pain of Haiti”

According to CBS news, they say, no Muslim countries sent any help to Haiti.

Can this be true?- I thought, and Googled it. And,of course, CBS aid lists come up.

With a long list of countries... none of which is a Muslim one. But there is more than one result in my Google search. And so, more information comes up that claims otherwise.

So, have any Muslim countries made any donations? I guess, all it comes down to is who you chose to trust. As well as where you live. As well as what your chosen TV channel tells you.

It is a bit like believing in God. To start with, you just have to decide whether you are a believer. Then, I guess, chose which one you particularly fancy. There are plenty to choose from. Or you can believe in evil aliens, like Tom Cruise. Whatever is your thing, you stick to it, don't you. You don't sit there, wondering if others have got it right and you have not. You are convinced that your views are the only correct ones and everyone else is a moron, right?

So, isn’t it the same when it comes to what news you chose to believe? You just have to choose what you want to hear and switch to that channel, avoiding the others.

It really is up to you whether you want to think that no Muslim countries wish to help Haiti. Or believe that they do, and the anti-Muslim, pro-Israeli countries try to portray them as a nasty heartless bunch. Like this one comment I noticed in Yahoo! answers: “They don’t help Christians, they behead them. “

So, there is plenty of biased news on the net to pick from, whatever point of view you are trying to prove. Just pick one that your friends will approve. Pick the one that goes with your society and religious views. Pick the one that will let you sleep peacefully at night.


  1. As I use to say, every story has two sides. Reading this post reminded me of that statement.
    Interesting reflections from you!

  2. Bravo, Scary! You entered the realm of politics :)
    The channel you were watching in NY is called FOX News. And it’s a joke, it’s not a news organization by any stretch of the imagination. It’s an entertainment channel aimed at the narrow-minded, racist, greedy people also known as the extreme right wing conservatives (not to be confused with the reasonable republicans). There is an opposite liberal “news” channel MSNBC and of course, Jon Stewart runs the best news comedy program from the Comedy Central. All of these are cable, not broadcast channels and there is something on Cable TV for every taste, from the highs of National Geographic to the lows of smut entertainment.
    By comparison, I find BBC and CNN Europe more sensationalist than the US version of CNN which is almost too cautious and subdued. Last year on the trip to France and Germany I was amused by the European coverage of the financial crisis and Obama’s inauguration. As I landed in Paris I found out that while I was flying over the Atlantic, USA has literally slid into the ocean and our only hope is the new magic President. According to BBC and CNN Europe at least. I had to call home just to confirm that our country was still attached to the surface of the Earth and the sky wasn’t falling after all. Such great fun :)

  3. Oh,Scary,are you getting involve to politics?I remember you said something like you are not interested.You see,it is impossible for thinking people to avoid reality of our life.Anyway,Good Luck on this uneasy way.

  4. @ Nata: You are a good American, look just how protective you got over the news channel accusation. :)You did not even mention some more interesting, in my opinion, issues I tried to bring up here...

    Anyway, politics? ( @Anonymous, too)

    well, I did not see this posting as a serious step into politics. It was more about human nature, about how it fascinates me that dialogue sometimes is just impossible, because people just hear what they want to hear...about prejudice and assumptions...about life.

    But.... as it goes (brilliantly!) in Skunk Anansie's song:




  5. a.s.a.

    Presidents - clown, dictator.

    Policy - clownery, dictatorship, mass bisexual harassment.

    People - worker thread, emotional idiots, professional outlaws, clown and dictators.

    Scary Azeri - ... please, help me, cant find a short definition :)

  6. I wasn’t protective, I was greatly entertained by the differences in coverage. I thought we were talking about media bias. As far as the other stuff, I wouldn’t even go there. I wouldn’t dignify an anti-Muslim or anti-Christian statement with an answer. I don’t know of any good answer that will make them stop. I find the exploitation of faith in order to advance political views, which in turn always becomes about hatred and hurting people, monstrous. Period end of story.

  7. What you write is true not only for the present events. I love Doctorow's words: "Every generation writes history anew. But what most people think of as history is its end product, myth." We live surrounded by the myth - past and present.

  8. I'm never surprised by how ignorant and biased people can become from exposure to biased news sources. You see it ALL the time. Unfortunately, most people aren't smart enough to realize they're being hooked and believe it all. Then they come onto the internet spouting garbage, or they wind up leading rallies in the street.

    I don't even watch US news anymore. It's all crap and has most Americans convinced that the rest of the world is evil and out to get them. Most Americans think that every Muslim in the world carries a stick of dynamite up their ass to light off at the slightest provocation and will go on wanton sprees of destructions if let loose with a sword into a room of Christians.

    Two years. That's how long I've lived outside the US, away from other Americans. It's a real eye opener and I see my country and the world from a totally new perspective. Not to say that perspective is a whole lot worse. Just different.

    Anyway, to bring this back on topic, news channels are usually crap. You can't really believe most of what you see in blogs or on Twitter either, since a lot of it is hoaxes or biased, or intentionally made to be misleading.

    So, what I do is I watch a bit here, a bit there, and only believe it's half as bad or good as they say it is. I think about where the news is coming from and consider the biases in that area.

    But anyway, the only news channel I find worth watching regularly is Al Jazeera. It's probably biased but doesn't seem that bad.

  9. Very good post. The TV set is a zombobox, i.e. a box to turn people into zombies. This word is often used in Russian-speaking Net. I completely agree with this terminology.
    Everything coming out from this box makes me want to swear. Bullshit, don't believe u.
    - You watch news- it's just as scary said- depends what channel in what country you watch, there is no channel that give you just facts.
    - You watch documentary- another bullshiting, points of view correlate with the political doctrine but being presented as THE TRUE HISTORY.
    - Scientific programs, specifically programs on medical issues - you start guessing which pharmaceutical company is paying for what's being said
    - Sport- you may watch but with sound turned off, cuz commentary to a sport broadcasts are often biased as well
    - Commercials- i guess no need to say. All these magic shampoos, eyelashes, meds, 5-blade pulsating razors, families happy because they eat mayo or canned soups.

    It is driving people paranoid. Maybe not people- just me

    Leyla, Baku

    P.S. Scary, molodec:) Keep it up:)

  10. @Brad: Al Jazeera! That would be a fascinating channel to watch. If you are not afraid. :)

    Thanks, Leyla, Baku. Scientific programs are indeed, scary. :) I try not to watch them at all.

  11. The problem is, all reporting is going to be subjective. It is only with historical perspective that you can get any type of realistic and objective analysis. Even the best scientific research can be found to have bias - very difficult to be truly objective. I stick to internet news, no TV channels in my house these days. With the internet, you can access a broad cross-section of news and views.

  12. To Nata
    FYI FOX news is most popular news channel in US. I am sure the reason is - it's "aimed at the narrow-minded, racist, greedy people". Are talking about American people?
    As "extreme right wing conservative" as you'll probably call me - I don't see any problem with watching CNN sometimes. But most open minded president was about to forbid FOX news just because they had different opinion. I think you know how it ended.

  13. The information is simply wrong. I'm in the US, and I've seen both TV and print coverage of the role of the Turkish rescue teams searching for survivors. The Turks arrived soon after the quake, and they have extensive experience with this type of rescue, so the coverage of their efforts was completely positive.

    That said, Nata is right about Fox News being just a Rupert Murdoch entertainment channel.

  14. Now, now children! :)

    I think that, in some weird way, watching a bit of everything is quite healthy. It is when people are determined that nothing else can be true and nobody else is right...they become too narrow-minded.

  15. Hello to another left activist.
    Yes, I am talking to you Anonymous.
    Nata, is it you again?

  16. sorry, i was meaning to post that comment on ur post about a story in three parts.