07 August, 2006

GULF NEWS: the "happy meal" of UAE journalism?

"It is the right of Hezbollah to defend their interests"

"I never approved of Hezbollah's kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers"

In a GULF NEWS article yesterday, an apparently random group of people were asked their opinion about Hezbollah. The article went out of the way to be neutral in relation to the comments -- two appeared to be pro-Hezbollah, one appeared to be anti-Hezbollah, and two appeared somewhat neutral.

Is this even remotely possible? Are people in the UAE almost evenly divided between those who support Hezbollah's actions and those who don't? Or is GULF NEWS attempting to become this region's McPaper by avoiding an accurate portrayal of public sentiment?


Woke said...

I think it is more like giving both sides of the story and not about percentages.

Even if 98 out of 100 people is in favour of Plan A, the opinion of the remaining 2 should be heard. That only shows credibility to the report.

Whether Gulf News is deliberately trying to position itself like that is a different matter altogether.

BD said...

I agree with Woke's point. I also think that the question is simply foucused on a possible Hezbollah response and not on the war in general. I'm sure 90% or more would condemn the ongoing Israeli attack, but at the same time people just want the fighting to stop or at least deescalate. Saying that Hezbollah should not retaliate against Tel Aviv is an expression of this sentiment.

MD said...

newspapers here have always done this - balance out the negative and positive to avoid taking a real stand.

here's another example

i, Bobo said...

Re the first two comments: I see your point -- and obviously, I'm not in favor of preventing the minority opinion from seeing the light of day.

I'm just concerned that by attempting to provide a balanced report, GULF NEWS might not be providing us with a sense of how the populace views the situation.

Say I walk down the street and ask 500 people what they think about a particular topic. 490 express a negative attitude, 8 express a neutral one, and 2 express a positive. If I write a newspaper article purporting to represent the views of a segment of the population, don't I have an ethical obligation to describe the overall sentiment, the current mood of the country? Shouldn't I indicate that in this case an overwhelming majority of residents had a negative attitude about the topic? I don't have an issue with GN cherry picking the statements used, but I have a serious issue with a newspaper being unable to give me even a glimmer of what the public is thinking overall.

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