The Blind Leading The Blind

Steph and I completed our “Big Summer Drive Across America” trip yesterday with an eight hour run from Arkansas to Texas. Along the way we listened to C-SPAN, the BBC and XMPR. One show on XMPR, Let’s Consider The Source, really jumped out at us, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.

The show’s theme is to “discuss the social ramifications of media.” Sounds like an interesting premise for a show and I’m sure it played well in host and creator Bob Mann’s proposal to the XMPR programming buyer.

Unfortunately, the actual product serves as an all too accurate reflection of the state of what passes for journalism, and the academics behind that profession, in modern day America.

The poster-child segment for the state of the profession also had a promising title “Media Portrayal of Arabs,” an interview with Laila Al-Qatami, spokesperson for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

During this segment it was revealed that Mr. Mann did not know that Iran was not an Arab country. Nor did he know that Turkey was not an Arab country.

Mr. Mann holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, a masters degree in communications, has been a college professor since 1988 and holds forth on American media and its coverage of world events on his satellite radio show. He is regarded as an expert in media and journalism, and lists history as one of his personal passions.

Mr. Mann didn’t know that Iran, once seat of the Persian empire, which enslaved Arabs for centuries and Turkey, once seat of the Ottoman empire, which also enslaved Arabs for centuries, were not Arab countries.

In a prior segment of the same Let’s Consider The Source show we listened to, an international reporter for the New York Times was ebullient in his praise and respect for Mr. Mann and his credentials.

So we had an international reporter for the New York Times, the Gray Lady, the flagship media source for United States journalism, the reference source for All That Is Truth, worshipful before a radio host/college professor/expert who didn’t know the most basic thing about the Middle East, its cultures and its people.

It was my nominee for this week’s example of The Blind Leading the Blind.

(And it gets worse. Ms. Al-Qatami said “you know” 13 times and “umm” or “ahhh” more than 60 times in the segment. If anyone could use an articulate spokesperson in the United States, it is the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.)


To become more informed about the Middle East than Mr. Mann in the ten minutes it will take you to read it, click here: