Originally Published 2012-02-04 00:00:00 Published on Feb 04, 2012
One of the great tragedies of our time is the near total decline in the credibility of the Western media. There are some exceptions but only some.
Where's the other side of story in Mid East?
wonderful work was being undone by Al Jazeera. Secretary Colin Powell went ballistic. So agitated was Pentagon that Al Jazeera office in Kabul was bombed. Its principal correspondent was jailed in Spain. Guantanamo Bay was probably not ready then.

To arrest the impact of Al Jazeera, Saudis launched their own channel - Al Arabia. Al Jazeera became the global voice of dissent. Its credibility was priceless.

Its credibility having plummeted, the Western media needed Al Jazeera’s credibility. The Arab Spring provided the opportunity. As dictators began to fall in Tunis and Cairo, the Kings and Sheikhs got together in a scrum. Forgotten was the Saud-Qatar antipathy. The two got together, first to coax a resolution out of the Arab league seeking a no fly zone over Libya and are now helping manufacture regime change, hand-in-hand in Syria.

In both these enterprises they have thrown in the media they control -Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera, its "priceless" credibility placed at the US’s command.

This confluence of the Western and Arab media has been brilliantly choreographed by military strategists. If a story is less credible or a downright concoction, it can always be sourced to the Arab channels. This the BBC and the CNN can then quote without harming their own bruised reputations further.

Peter Arnett inaugurated the era of live coverage of wars from Baghdad. Which face have you become familiar with in all the footage from Libya or Syria? You are told footage has been smuggled or flashed out by mobile cameras.

The only face etched on my mind is of an eager young BBC reporter in Libya leaning triumphantly over the body of Qaddaffi lying in a refrigerated warehouse meant for slaughtered animals.

(The writer is a Distinguished Fellowat Observer Research Foundation)

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