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The Mideast Journalism News You Missed, Or How We Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Backrub

(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
I know what you're thinking, Public Eye reader: I know all about the violence in the Middle East. But what's going on over there journalism-wise? Not to worry: We've got you covered, as this week we've posted a number of times on that very topic. Here's a handy compendium:

Did you know that Israel has a military censor with significant power over the press – she says she "can close a newspaper or shut down a station. I can do almost anything?" Read about her here.

Ever heard of al-Manar? It's Hezbollah's television station, and the U.S. considers it a terrorist organization. The station was recently bombed by Israel, a move that earned Israel a rebuke from the International Federation of Journalists. The IFJ rebuke so infuriated a group of Israeli journalists that they renounced their membership. Here's the story.

Who needs big media, anyway? Especially when you can watch Noam Chomsky, raw footage of bombings, and demented rappers on Youtube? Read all about it here.

How much knowledge does a correspondent think viewers have about the Middle East? We asked Richard Roth and Sharyn Alfonsi – and they let us know.

And what's it like for Arab journalists in Israel? Short answer – Not so good. "Wail Tanous was filming Al-Jazeera anchorwoman Guevara Albudeiri live in the northern West Bank city of Nablus early Wednesday afternoon when an Israeli military jeep pulled up and rammed the anchorwoman in the middle of her broadcast. The soldiers then proceeded to shoot the cameraman, Wail Tanous, in the leg." And there's plenty of harassment of the non-violent kind as well.

And what about American media outlets? They rushed in to cover the conflict – and some soon had to take cover.

Have a look at those stories, and in the meantime, ponder this – why does no one seem all that interested in this stuff? We have a powerful censor controlling information and undoubtedly influencing coverage in Israel, violence against journalists, and a bombing that calls into question the very definition of journalism – and few in the media seems to be talking about it. Sure, we are getting ample coverage of the conflict itself, something media organizations have had to scramble to provide. But in that scramble important issues have gone largely ignored, although there have been no shortage of stories about utterly inconsequential "news" like President Bush's impromptu Angela Merkel backrub. Speaking of which, we're starting to get a little sore.