"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Friday, March 10, 2006

The media and Islam - Diana West - All the news that's fit to print, apparently, doesn't include the heart of the matter

According to Diana West, “Way back when I was a cub reporter at this newspaper, I got hold of a book about the "art" of interviewing. It was a thin book. There was no use spending thousands of words to tell a reporter, cub or old Grizzly, to bone up on a subject and let natural curiosity take its course.”

That little book came to her mind the other day after “reading a three-part series in the New York Times about an imam named Reda Shata who presides over the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, N.Y.” With regard to the art of “interviewing goes, the reporter got it exactly backward: Thousands of words; negligible expertise; and no curiosity.”

“Not, in 11,000-plus words,” as pointed out by the New York Post and New York Sun, “of the day in March 1994 when a man walked out of that same Bay Ridge mosque and, inspired by the anti-Jewish sermon of the day (delivered by a different, unidentified imam), armed himself and opened fire on a van carrying Hasidic Jewish children;” was there any mention of this instance.

Just, according to Ms. West, “gaping holes, and “dead ends,” with no follow up questions; which imply poor interviewing standards and a lack of curiosity. For example: “over six months of interviews, the Egyptian-born imam refused to shake her hand. "He offers women only a nod," she writes. Why is shaking hands with a woman "improper"? What does the imam think about sexual equality? She doesn't tell us.”

"Married life in Islam is an act of worship;" ran the headline, above the fold and covering the width of four columns in the NY Times. “Does Miss Reporter ask the imam to reconcile this ecstatic notion with the Islamic custom of arranged and forced marriages, the spate of spousal abuse and "honor killings" within European Muslim communities -- as recounted in clarifying detail in Bruce Bawer's important new book, "While Europe Slept" -- or the tradition of polygamy which exists to this day in portions of Islamic society?” Nope.

The series also looked into terrorism. ‘“What I may see as terrorism, you may not see that way," Mr. Shata says. What does he mean by that?”’

This is shameful work and should not make it passed the editorial board of a major newspaper like the NY Times. But this is some of the stuff that informs our understandings and pulls our heartstrings on a daily basis.
“All the news that's fit to print, apparently, doesn't include the heart of the matter.”


© blogger templates 3 column | Webtalks