From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Sat Sep 22 2001 - 01:57:41 EDT

re Allin's 5986

Even that, it seems to me, is highly questionable.  I admit I'm on
less firm ground here.  I'm not a TV watcher, but I did watch CNN and
NBC closely for a couple of hours or so on September 11th.  My
comments have to be taken as applying to the "real time" coverage; I
can't speak about subsequent regurgitation.

Anyway, when I saw the "celebration in Palestine" footage on that

(a) It confirmed what I had read half an hour earlier at the
Washington Post's website, in a brief from their Israel

(b) The clip was very short.

(c) The clip was bracketed by a report that Arafat had condemned the

I think the clip had been shown for hours on (e.g.) Fox  before this was 

(d) The news anchors went out of their way to say they had no
evidence this was representative of the reaction of Palestinians in

don't remember this being said on fox or nbc in the immediate aftermath of the 
bombing. jennings at abc seemed to have been careful throughout.  but the 
reporting did indeed change on all the networks over the course of the day. we 
don't get cnn however. had been looking at fox, nbc, cbs, abc.

 Far from encouraging viewers to conclude that all
Palestinians were delighted at the deaths of Americans, they seemed
concerned to forestall that conclusion.

yes indeed this has been the message since.

I remember the last point clearly, because when I first read of
jubilation in Nablus at washingtonpost.com it was immediately clear
to me that this was potentially very bad news for Arabs (and, as
Rakesh says, anyone with a brown skin) in the US.  So when the item
came up on TV I was watching closely to see how they'd handle it.  As
it happens, I was quite favorably impressed.

as i tried to say earlier, i am worried about our being shunned by those who do 
not even intend to do so. despite the many appreciated official pronouncements, 
i am worried about what happens at a 'preconscious' level, of the way in which 
people  position their bodies vis a vis us, and the possible policy 
consequences (re: e.g. immigration law).

there is no question that the situation would be much worse if not for the 
official pronouncements which have been reported. 

what is compounding the problem however is what seems to me a systematic under-
reporting of the harrassment to which people have been subject. perhaps this 
has been covered to your satisfaction?  i gave the example of the stabbing in 
sf last friday night. three arab men were forced off a plane yesterday or today 
by passengers who refused to fly with them--we'll see what kind of attention 
this gets. i heard on the pacifica network that there is a columbia prof of 
journalism (indian surname) doing an on-going analysis of this under-reporting.


 Amidst all the reports
of shock and outrage, and the messages of solidarity, pouring in from
around the world, a report of celebration was certainly newsworthy,
but I don't think it was overplayed.


again: no one was interviewed--not the celebrators or the on-lookers (who did 
not even enter in the picture). so it seems to me to have been a pernicious use 
of imagery. we don't know what these kids were thinking, what they were happy 
about, why they were happy, etc. Maybe they were celebrating the hit on the 
pentagon, not the world trade center. maybe they didn't even know what the 
latter was. who knows? seems to be irresponsible journalism to me. but there 
are many worse examples of journalistic abuse.

Rakesh N Bhandari.

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