Oct 28 2002

In the U.S., little attention is paid to the Middle East

Published by at 12:00 am under Articles,US-Middle East

I have spent the past two weeks in a private visit to the U.S. During this visit I tried to observe what the average Americans notices regarding the Middle East and have come up with the conclusion that very little attention is paid to the region. Two issues did come up in the media during my short visit.

The car bombing carried out in the north of Israel and the continued U.S. attempts to prepare the condition for a war against Iraq.

All other issues were completely overshadowed by local news which included the mid-term elections planned for early November and the sniper case. The case of the person or persons who have been killing Americans on a daily has reviled Americans, especially the majority of the population which uses television as their main source of information.

So how does all this affect us in the Middle East? Well it is clear that much has to be done with two locations in mind: New York and Washington.

There is no doubt that when it comes to who sets the media for international news the city of New York is probably the number one spot in the United States. This east coast business and economics capital of America is also the media hub from which the rest of America hears what is happening in the rest of the world.

America’s leading newspaper, the New York Times, is based in New York and so are the main studios of major television networks. When the car bombing took place near Khadera, I was at the Rockefeller center where the NBC studios are based. The information was flashed on a huge outdoor ticker as well as on screens surrounding the glass covered studios.

Live report

Not far from there as I walked was the studios of Fox TV which was also running a live report from the scene of the car bombing. CBS and ABC are also based in New York’s Manhattan area which makes this part of New York the number one place to be if one wants to have an influence in how international news are made.

The only exception to this is Atlanta which is the home of the Cable New Network, a powerful international media outlet, but one that is not among the top three TV stations in the United States.

Washington is an obvious key city for the Middle East because it is the base of national government, the White House and Congress. But the capital of the U.S. is also important for another reason. It is the place where many U.S. think tanks are based.

It is from these think tanks that commentators and analysts speak on the various causes around the world. These think tanks are among the few places in America that follow closely the news of the Middle East and they make the kind of comments that make editors and broadcasters in New York look to for guidance. These international analysts, many of them connected to either the Republican or Democratic Party is where the U.S. government’s long-term international policy is created.

Both New York and Washington are the source of news and analysis on the Middle East, but it in the rest of America that this news is planted to influence the next president or the next senator and congressperson.

The rest of America gives these East Coast experts the benefit of the doubt to make and disseminate what is the foreign policy for America.

U.S. foreign policy

As a result of this, anyone interested in influencing U.S. foreign policy must work on a two-prong campaign. First, to work with journalists (in New York) and analysts in (Washington DC) to have a more balanced approach to the Middle East.

Second, it is of crucial importance that the rest of America is not left untouched.

Grass root groups must be put to use in order to react back to the East Coast journalists and analysts as well as to help them create an alternative policy that genuinely takes America’s interest in mind as well as stay true to the ideals of freedom and independence for which the United States founders stood.

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