July 26, 2006

Sometimes a Storyline is a Goliath

Sometimes a Storyline is a Goliath

As part of our show On David and Goliath, we emailed about twenty bloggers we read regularly to ask for a David and Goliath story. From Ethan Zuckerman of my heart’s in accra and Global Voices, we got something we didn’t expect:

You want David and Goliath? David is any advocate concerned about any issue outside the Middle East: the elections in the DRC, the ongoing conflict in northern Uganda, the struggle to tackle AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Goliath isn’t the Middle East – it’s the tendency of the global media to treat news from the Middle East as more important than news from anywhere else in the world. Much more ranting here.

Ethan Zuckerman, in an email to Open Source, July 25, 2006

So how about it? Is Open Source, in shifting its focus to the Middle East these last two weeks, sacrificing the important for the urgent? If not Israel, Lebanon and Hezbollah, what should we be covering? What are the important stories?

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  • Well, Ethan does have a point. The front-page of this site now has 20 screenfuls, all of them devoted to the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict (mixed in with the King David-themed posts).

    It’s Ethan’s portfolio that continually pulls on my to look at Africa, so it was 2 months ago when I crossed back over the literary Sea of Reeds to understand what was going on with the protests in Egypt. My research in the “Free Alaa” effort led me to follow many of the popular Egyptian bloggers, and learn more about the Kefiya movement and the protests for an independent judiciary. This story had actually received plenty of play in the English-language press (“Activist blogs from jail” was the common theme), but I felt at least that ROS could have given a link to it back then. Or now.

  • I would just direct you to my show suggestion, for a show on the upcoming elections in the DRC.

  • New Nuclear reactor and a push for an even more nuclear Pakistan… meanwhile.. a deal between India and the US on nuclear technology. What is going on here? Seems like the traditional alliance of Pak-US is called into question.. or otherwise the US is playing both sides as it so often has in history… but isn’t there a great danger here.. in that both nations are forging forward with all things nuclear.. be in energy or weapons.

  • nother


  • mr. 10,000

    Are we just the blind men examining the elephant? Is it possible to step back from all of these stories and get a global view of what is going on and perhaps who or what is causing it. I have to say I’m a little burnt out on all the reporting on the “struggle” going between Lebanon and Israel. The topic has been analysed to death and I still feel I don’t, truly, know or understand what it is all about. I also know that if another “big” story came up we’d be off to that “topic” as quickly as the mouse moves. I think one result of all this news is that it tends to close us up and then isolation and frustration sets in. I don’t know what the alternate is, I just know how I feel.

    As long as I’m at it let me voice one more thought. I listen to XMPR throughout the day and they have lots of interesting discussions. The frustrating part, to me, after the bad news is delivered, is that I’m left with a feeling of helplessness, as thought there’s nothing that can be done. I’ve heard so many shows on politics that I really don’t have any faith in that “institution” any more. All the other biggies such as religion, nation, charity, you name it, all seem to have been infiltrated by the rats. Where do we place our place and trust?

  • Old Nick

    welcome back, h wally! i’ve written a shoutout to you here. Let us know how you’re doing!

  • David and Goliath’s story was one of my favorite when I was young. I thought the one you’re talking about was the one written in history. Anyway, I just hope that the war in there would stop.

  • Not sure I agree with Ethan. War zones, which the Middle East has been for some time will naturally garner more media attention. Moreover, the ongoing democratization of the region garners attention as well.

    If there’s a rant to be had against media, it’s crime coverage … especially domestic crime coverage. Much more global news could be covered if less time was dedicated to select domestic crime.