Monday, June 15, 2009

Finally the Tables Are Starting to Turn

This past weekend, Andrew Sullivan was all over the fallout of the Iranian election. By my count, he had 60 posts about it on Saturday alone. (This was in addition to posts about other subjects.) The posts varied in length and substance, of course, but the sheer volume and scope of them (many featured the thoughts of readers in Iran) was pretty stunning. He's kept it up since. There was something particularly striking about his output on Saturday because the weekend, in traditional media, is not a strenuous time. One of Sullivan’s readers wrote in to say:
I turned on CNN, and they were going three rounds about some idiot Republican operative in South Carolina who called Michelle Obama an ape. Nothing on Iran.

MSNBC was in the middle of one of its hour-long crime documentaries.

FNC was showing a pre-taped piece on Bernie Madoff.

And I realize that it's the weekend and they usually take the weekend off, but over at NRO [National Review’s blog], the only thing they've managed to post about Iran today is a link to Daniel Pipes' piece cheering on an Ahmadinejad victory because otherwise his dream of a massive Israeli air assault would be dashed. That's it...a staff of 10+ regular bloggers, and all they can come up with in the midst of an Iranian revolution is a single piece cheering for the status quo?
Any thinking person knows that cable news has been a wasteland for years, but it does seem that an event like the one happening now in Iran exposes new information about the media. It's not that all traditional outlets are asleep at the wheel (Sullivan praised the New York Times -- well, The Lede, a Times blog). But a lot of them are. And even the ones that aren't strain or fail to incorporate the technology that makes continual updates from the ground in Tehran so captivating (and informative).

On a related note, there's a terrific collection of photos from the story here. The one thing that struck me hardest, given the important issue of liberating Middle Eastern women, was a visual gender divide. In several of the pictures featuring protesters, there are clearly visible women, some of them, admirably, pretty old to be takin' it to the streets.

In contrast, the caption of the photo below, taken by Damir Sagolj for Reuters, reads: “Supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wave Iranian and religious flags during a victory celebration in central Tehran June 14, 2009.” A question: Do you see many women in this photo? Do you see a single woman in this photo? I don’t. (Click to enlarge.)


Anonymous Beckylooo said...

Center left, just to the right of the second flag pole, there appears to be a woman clutching her scarfed head. Regardless, your point is an excellent one.

4:16 PM  

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