Friday, February 18, 2011

has he still got it?

anti-qadhafi protesters have seized control of a radio station in beghazi, and possibly have taken control of the city itself. benghazi is the second largest city in libya, with a population of about 700,000 people, and it's the principle city of eastern libya. you can listen to the radio station live (in arabic) here.

if the seizure of the city turns out to be true, that's pretty incredible. but with a very different kind of political standoff going on in wisconsin (not to mention a bunch of other protests breaking out all over the middle east), i wonder how thoroughly the u.s. media will cover the libyan thing. on the one hand, the u.s. media is notoriously self-obsessed. foreign news almost always takes a back seat to domestic news. a lot of american news sources have all but abandoned covering foreign news unless its really major.

on the other hand, part of that self-obsession means that what foreign coverage there is tends to focus on certain key points. events that hit those key points get a lot of coverage and events that don't don't. for the middle east (that includes arab north africa) those key points are: israel, terrorism, and people who have been labeled bad guys (there is some overlap among the three. the bad guys tend to be supporters of terrorism and anti-israel).

before saddam, before osama, moammar was briefly one of the top bad guys in the american media. at least he was during the reagan era. if this were 1987 and there were such a serious threat to qadhafi's rule, it would surely be the top story across the u.s. i'm curious whether moammar's still got it. is he still a big enough boogy man to get the u.s. media to pay attention even when there is a domestic showdown provides such an easy distraction?

(via dagger aleph on FB)