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Globe and Lebanon

posted by dru Geography: Middle East Lebanon Topics: social movements, Globe and Mail, media

January 16, 2007

Globe and Lebanon

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail published a half-decent piece about the sit ins in Beirut. I can't help but wonder if the sudden improvement in coverage (which is to say, conformity with well-established facts) had something to do with this analysis that the Dominion published two weeks ago of Mark Mackinnon's wildly misleading coverage of the same protests.

The crux of that analysis was that Mark Mackinnon probably wouldn't mind telling the truth, but likes having his job and pleasing his editors better than he likes telling the truth. (Not unlike a lot of people, probably...) And that, given the opportunity, Mackinnon probably wouldn't have a personal problem with reporting accurately. It's just that when his editors want something different, his career takes precedence.

The Globe's international editors undoubtedly gave the Beirut-based Daily Star correspondent Rym Ghazal a mandate to report specifically on the protest--these things don't happen at random.

And while I don't get to look at what changes were made to Ghazal's original, the headline was almost certainly written in Toronto:

"Anti-government protest camp in Beirut losing some steam, but still going strong"

A bit tortured and self-contradictory, but more or less accurate to what appears in the article.

More notable is what is lacking: any mention of the previously ubiquitous adjective "pro-Syrian" when describing the coalition organizing the protests, which was shown to be thoroughly ridiculous.

The true test of our analysis will come when Mark Mackinnon reports on the situation in Lebanon again.

In the mean time, it seems that--because of the (widely circulated) Dominion article or for some other reason--the Globe decided that it needed to resuscitate its credibility in Lebanon coverage, and the decision was made by the editors, not the writer.

That said, the stakes are not currently as high in terms of Canadian foreign policy, so it's a good time for the Globe to let a little reality slip through. If the situation escalates, we'll see if their mood changes.

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