Unmediated Hatred

The media is an omnipotent force in our society. Armed with an arsenal capable of informing, enlightening, and educating, the media possesses the puissance to disseminate objective information among millions of people. Yet, although the media’s muscle should ideally be used for benign purposes, the press frequently neglects its great responsibility to the populace, using its power instead for malicious ends. Operating under the premises of “freedom of speech,” the press too regularly oversteps its ill-defined boundaries, moving from its rudimentary land of neutrality into a dangerous world of bigotry and falsehood. A disturbing example of propaganda war is occurring in Middle East. The Qatar-based television station, Al-Jazeera, repeatedly broadcasts al Qaeda’s tapes and conjures anti-Semitism, while Lebanese station Al-Manar, accurately dubbed a militant organization, is even more anti-American. Islamist newspaper Yeni Safak, stationed in Turkey, alleged that U.S. forces flung so many corpses into the Euphrates that local mullahs issued a fatwa banning the community from eating fish from the river. The same publication reported that, during the invasion of Fallujah, U.S. troops employed chemical weapons and raped woman and children, whom they left to be defaced by barbarous dogs. Yeni Safak further asserted that U.S. soldiers have been “harvesting” the viscera of deceased Iraqis to meet a widespread demand for these innards on the U.S. “organ market.” Even the tragic tsunami has served as a venue for the Middle Eastern media to condemn America. Mainstream Turkish newspaper, the Hurriyet, arraigned the U.S. for occupying Indonesia under the guise of a humanitarian relief effort. Egyptian periodical Al Usbu conjectured that India, Israel, and United States collaborated to “liquidate humanity” by using nuclear testing to cold-bloodedly trigger the cataclysmic tsunami. Publications in Anakara push the “eighth planet theory,” which contends that, in typical imperialistic fashion, the U.S., au courant of an impending asteroid strike on North America, has entrenched itself in the Asian Pacific with aspirations to colonize. Surely, these theories sound preposterous to the overwhelming majority of Americans. However, they are frequently told in utter seriousness in prominent circles across the Middle East, facing no opposition even from the most potent political parties. In Turkey, the only group clashing against the radical press is the effete People’s Republic Party, the last remnants of centrist moderation against the supplanting extremist Justice and Development Party. Rather than rebut the insidious fallacies propagated by Yeni Safak, Turkish parliamentarians have jumped on the anti-American wave, charging the United States with “genocide” in Iraq and doubting the legitimacy of the Iraqi elections. During the Cold War, American-run Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty broadcast information to counter the propaganda propogated by the Soviets and Eastern Europe. Today, the United States has one television station based in the Middle East, entitled Alhurra, which holds a pathetic flame to the deeply entrenched and hostile Islamic press. However, the radical anti-Americanism championed by many in the Arab media inspires suicide bombers and mortar fire. It is therefore imperative that the United States combat these treacherous lies, which serve to incite terrorism. Iraq cannot transform into a democracy if radical shieks and mullahs control Middle Eastern radio waves; rather, in the spirit of egalitarian debate, these extremists must be forced to uphold their currently unchecked beliefs in a public forum. The argument that Arabs will continue to ascribe to their anti-American beliefs regardless is futile and defeatist: the venue of media simply cannot be surrendered to purveyors of deception and concoters of fallacy. Thus, the United States must inudate Middle Eastern airwaves with specific facts and details to counter these diabolical and hatred-inciting rumors. The United States is losing the propaganda war, both domestically and internationally, because we are hardly fighting back. If America indeed wishes to win the “hearts and minds” of Iraqis and the Arab world, it must drastically change its desultory approach to the radical Middle Eastern press. The United States, the foremost democratic republic in the world, must prove its unmitigated understanding of freedom to the global community by fostering informed debate.