As the events unfold throughout the Middle East, it is encouraging to see people take to the streets and challenge their respective governments to finally consider long-ignored reforms. For Americans who are the hereditary benefactors of a challenge to oppressive and authoritarian rule, it is particularly heartwarming considering our republic’s 200+ years of government by, for, and of the people. Watching the news then, it is almost understandable that the American media would romanticize the protests and attempt to equate them to the American Revolution. However, in their rush to show support, the media is willfully and negligently ignoring the potential and likely ramifications of these uprisings. Thusly, there is an apparent conspiracy to tell only those stories that fit the narrative proving once again that, rather than reporting the truth, the media is more interested in pushing an ideological agenda.
A particularly appalling story that has occurred is that of CBS reporter Lara Logan. During her reporting of the situation in Egypt, her crew was attacked by a crowd that was “whipped into a frenzy.” Ms. Logan was “surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.” As if this wasn’t shocking enough, there are rumors that the crowd chanted “Jew, Jew” as they continued the assault. Ms. Logan, who is not Jewish, is now recovering in the US but to add insult to her injuries, there are additional reports that CBS and the American media willfully chose to bury this story, perhaps because it didn’t fit the narrative.
As much as we want to believe these protests capture the Spirit of 76 and will result in governments who acknowledge the natural rights of man, we must be careful to not ignore the spirit of 79. That year bore witness to several uprisings throughout the Middle East, not the least of which was the revolution that established the Islamic Republic Iran, a movement that many acknowledge was influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood. Thirty years later, the Muslim Brotherhood, a religious-based organization that wants to enact shari’a law and supports a return to the caliphate, is well-positioned to be the largest benefactor of the current regional crisis.
Meanwhile, there are those in the US who choose to look at the Muslim Brotherhood through rose-colored glasses and want to cast them as a peaceful organization. Furthermore, those who have a healthy suspicion of the Muslim Brotherhood are criticized for inciting anti-Islamic hysteria despite the fact that the Brotherhood is an organization that the FBI says supports international terrorism. Certainly it would be nice to give the Muslim Brotherhood the benefit of the doubt, but I would hope that based on the evidence, the US media would do a better job of vetting before seceding the point.
If only the US media would convey this same optimism and spirit of forgiveness in their reporting of the Tea Party and the American conservative movement. Remember, this is the same media that, when there are no actual accounts of racism, create them from thin air if only to disparage American citizens who do not share in their ideology.
In order to build a democracy from the current crisis, it must be laid on a foundation of truth. That the Lara Logan story was possibly ignored or buried is sad. But the fact that the American media continues to obscure, hide, or create truth in order to support their agenda is irresponsible and a gross dereliction of their duty to keep government honest. Unfortunately, Americans are becoming immune to the media’s continued malfeasance. But as protests continue throughout the Middle East, it is an injustice to those who have never known democratic freedom to report anything but the absolute and unvarnished truth. Only then will people be able to form their own opinions and decide for themselves the path they should follow.