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Arabs and Muslims must blame themselves for Western biases
Saudi Gazette Newspaper Saturday, April 27, 2013
By Ray Hanania
The West has a terrible view of Arabs and Muslims, but I think it is mostly our fault. We have such different notions about communications, and even when we try to overcome those notions, instead of evolving our own homegrown media communications industry, we turn over our needs to Western consultants, Western journalism schools, and Western “media experts.”
Worse is our failure to comprehend the power of communications. Most Arabs and Muslims will tell you about the evils of Western journalism and public relations. But they do so as outsiders, with little hands-on knowledge of how it all works.
Let’s be honest, Arabs and Muslims. We are as much slaves to the Western media as are Americans. I’m not talking about the Arab and Muslim media that has evolved but rather the greater infiltration of the Western media cornerstones that have consumed the majority of our society’s attention.
From Hollywood movies, which are perniciously anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, to cable TV shows like FOX News and even CNN, the less offensive of the two, Arabs and Muslims are bombarded by so much propaganda that no matter what we generate ourselves, it is smothered by the lies, stereotypes and distortions of these Western influences that we allow to enter our homes, our societies and our minds. It’s so much easier for Arabs and Muslims to complain, and so much harder to do something to change things.
Well I have a few ideas on how we could change the imbalance, and elevate positive media while shutting out the negative media that dominates our lives. Because the Western mainstream news media is the enemy.
Everything that the haters perpetrate against Arabs and Muslims is protected by the Western mainstream news media. They provide the excuses when the West violates Arab and Muslim rights. They withhold the facts when the West loses its emotions and blames Arabs and Muslims for everything that goes wrong in the world.
They manipulate stereotypes and exaggerate facts to make the innocent Arabs and Muslims look guilty, while defending acts of Western criminality that have resulted in the killing of scores of innocent Arab and Muslim civilians. They minimize our lives and maximize the importance of their own lives, at our expense. The mainstream American media preserves Israel’s disguised Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dual personality. The media presents Israel as the moral and loving Dr. Jekyll, and downplays the reality of Israel as the evil Mr. Hyde.
There is only one answer: Boycotting the Western news media. It’s very simple, but it is hard to do because Arabs and Muslims are addicted to the Western media the same way a drug addict is addicted to heroin, alcohol or other hallucinogens.
Boycotting means not only not watching Western cable news stations like FOX and CNN, or MSNBC, but it also means not reading online news and commentary sites that in very subtle but destructive ways demean Arabs and Muslims, like the Huffington Post.
It also means lobbying institutions like hotels in the Arab and Muslim world to drop these media resources from their television lineups, in much the same way that some Western countries have effectively banned Arab news stations from broadcasting in places like the United States. Seriously, the United States openly prevents news outlets like Al Jazeera and other Arab news outlets from broadcasting through mainstream channels like cable, which reach the vast majority of Americans, forcing them to broadcast only on special satellite channels that “cater” to Arab and Muslim audiences.
If I wanted to watch any Arab news channels at any time that is convenient for me, I would have to leave the mainstream media channels and cable stations and subscribe instead to satellite TV that offers “Middle East package” options.
Meanwhile, Israel doesn’t have an “Israeli package” option. It’s news and propaganda are freely broadcast side-by-side with mainstream news media outlets on mainstream cable TV channels into the homes of hundreds of millions of Americans, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
No wonder Americans think Arabs and Muslims hate America. We don’t hate America. We love America. We love what America claims to stand for but fails to deliver. Even the Arab and Muslim media has made a major judgment call by hiring so many Western journalists, while the Western media, especially in America, openly fuels hostility against Arabs and Muslims and prevents the hiring of Arab and Muslim journalists to work on their news operations.
How many Arabs work in the top 10 major American newspapers and the top 10 major radio and television broadcasts. The ratio is one for every 5,000 employees. They can’t prove me wrong because they prevent anyone from counting us in the US census. Arabs and Muslims don’t even know how large, or small, our community is in America.
What Arabs and Muslims need to do is stop buying into the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate propaganda, and start respecting themselves by reading and subscribing to news outlets that originate in the Arab world. The Western news media is economically depressed. They had no choice but to infiltrate the Arab and Muslim world. If the Arab world boycotted the Western news media, the Western news media would either change or collapse. In either case, Arabs and Muslims would be better off.
— Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. He can be reached at www.TheMediaOasis.com Follow him on Twitter at @rayhanania
This post has already been read 66 times!
Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
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