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Notes from the Lecture Hall: CNN, Mubarak and The American Revolution

Is it just me, or does CNN (and Fox News, for that matter) seem a little bit too excited about the current situation in Egypt? Anderson Cooper and his minions lick their chops at the very thought of a story like the “Crisis in Egypt” (the title of their coverage) that can be run 24 hours a day for weeks at a time.

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by Sean D. Evans (Blogger) – Email

Is it just me, or does CNN (and Fox News, for that matter) seem a little bit too excited about the current situation in Egypt? Anderson Cooper and his minions lick their chops at the very thought of a story like the “Crisis in Egypt” (the title of their coverage) that can be run 24 hours a day for weeks at a time.

I am by no means a journalist, or a student of the practice, but it seems as though thoughtful reporting often takes a back seat to sensationalized rhetoric and dramatic images. When does news cross the threshold into speculation? Is there such a thing as journalistic integrity or is it all just opinion these days?

Last Monday night I watched CNN for about an hour. As I have been fairly busy with school and such, I didn’t have much of a clue as to what the whole “uprising” (as CNN has named it) was all about. So, I watched and I listened closely. After about an hour I still had no clue as to why these people were protesting. All I knew was that they were anti-Mubarak. I was repeatedly shown a set of dramatic images. Shouting, angry and sometimes violent Egyptians filled the screen. I was told that “We haven’t seen things like this before” and “These are absolutely astounding images we are getting here…” and so on.

Fox News wasn’t much better.

Finally, out of frustration, I turned to my best friend when it comes to news. The BBC. ‘Nuff said. They thoughtfully and carefully set out the information, explaining why the people were there—unemployment, corruption…etc, etc.

Think.

What are we being fed from our media? What is the effect of the speculation and sensationalism on actual events? I tried to think of the effect that CNN and Fox News would have had on the American Revolution or the French Revolution or a number of historical events. Would America even exist today?

Does the event make the news or does the news make the event?

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