News | Lebanon
It’s an old cliche but still very true–journalists write the first draft of history.
Lately, that draft has gotten messier and more inaccurate.
Let’s look at the coverage of Libya’s recent election; Most journalists said the election would be violent and that Islamists would win. They were wrong on both counts.
International news organizations were also wrong about Egypt’s election outcome– predicting in print and on air that the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate would lose.
Revolutions are difficult to cover, and the situation was and is still rapidly changing .
But when you are wrong—I believe it is necessary and helpful to reflect.
That’s why this week has been such an amazing pleasure for me.
I’ve been in Beirut with some of the smartest, bravest, most creative people in the field.
It was a gathering of journalists arranged by the Samir Kassir foundation @SK_Eyes.
I was encouraged to hear that my European colleagues are carefully dissecting their coverage of the Arab Spring to find out whether reporters got carried away by “revolution fever” , and too readily accepted the narrative rebel forces were pedaling.
In France, after discussing how to improve election coverage, French newscasts decided to include more international reporters to provide a more global perspective.
In North Africa, after years of serving as propaganda machines, reporters are determined to redefine their role in society.
Unfortunately, in the U-S, most news executives don’t allow time for reflection.
Discussing what went wrong, why and how to do things better does not increase productivity or satisfy the bean counters.
Even worse are the U-S news outlets that refuse to admit they’ve made mistakes.
It’s no wonder the public continues to lose trust .
As James Joyce once said, ” A man’s errors are his portals of discovery”.