Sunday, September 16, 2012

CNN Coverage Analysis -- Candidates Blundering About Libya

Keara Vickers

Everyone from Hezbollah  to Mitt Romney has had something to say about a California man who produced a smaller-than-small budget video that debuted on Youtube early last week.

The “Innocence of Muslims”  is a poorly-produced attempt to lambast the Islamic prophet Muhammad and has been the scapegoat in the recent unrest in the Middle East that resulted in the death of an American diplomat and dozens of injuries. 
For the past two weeks I’ve done a fair amount of railing against CNN’s inability to address issues in presidential politics -- this week, CNN showed their chops in addressing the sources of this unrest.

CNN spoke with writer and analyst Reza Aslan (pictured left) who said it would be “enormously simplistic” to stake the cause on the video alone. He complimented CNN on being one of a small handful of media outlets looking for alternate reasons for the violence against American embassies and offered his own probable cause -- general anti-Americanism and foreign policy blowback. He went on to say that the end of Bush’s term as president did not put a stop to the general discontent in the Middle East.

The concept that President Obama’s foreign policy had something to do with the outrage is not what the White House wanted to hear as they were riding the post-DNC wave, but the other side of the aisle bore the biggest brunt of the bad press. Much has been made of Romney’s knee-jerk reaction to the unrest and criticism of President Obama while US interests were still under fire.

CNN has done a fantastic job of both tracking Romney’s blundering attempt to use Libya to his advantage and also rooting out how foreign policy under both former President Bush and President Obama have contributed to the anti-American sentiment in the Middle East. They’ve avoided covering the unrest as an isolated event and instead have been focusing on the real sources and events leading up to the deadly protests and challenging the status-quo explanation.

But then again, this fantastic piece of journalism was followed by a commercial break of pathos-inducing campaign advertisements and an extended discussion of Princess Kate Middleton’s topless photos, so maybe I shouldn’t get my hopes up yet.

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