Saturday, February 12, 2005

A Night In in Baghdad

Abu Aardvark reports on spending a night with three different Arabic TV channels, Al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, and the US-funded al-Hurra (who, of course, had a journalist shot in Basra last week). It's worth reading, even if some of the methodology leaves something to be desired ("p.s. the jazeera and arabia presenters are WAY hotter than any woman I've seen on Hurra so far.") - especially, the management at al-Hurra seem to have a problem with running too much bought-in hohummery (a sports roundup that reminds me of that Channel 4 early-morning show that always had breathless reporting on weird and obscure pursuits and very little else, a documentary about the US Border Patrol...) and not enough news-wallop. After all, when Al-Jaz was running with a report on Condoleeza Rice and Al-Arabiya had a two-way with their man in Gaza, al-Hurra was reporting from the exciting world of Tunisian sports.

Our man also points up at least one fairly disastrous gaffe (yes, Muslim Arabs are just gagging for news about Serbian basketball players...) and some lesser botches. For example, I bet Iraqi TV viewers see enough Americans running about with M-16s and leaping on and off Blackhawks looking out of their windows without needing more on telly. He also mentions that "rumour has it" that the people running al-Hurra are Lebanese Phalangists - this may of course be crap, but then again just what were Amin Gemayel's son-in-law and another Lebanese Forces MP doing on the planeload of cash in Baghdad?

So many questions...but if I was to be snarky about this story, I would have to say that the problem is that al-Hurra sounds *exactly* like, well, all the American TV I've seen. Bizarre sports no-one else in the world cares about, pabulum documentaries and really braindead news? Yuh.

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