What to Watch for in Egypt Coverage

Media has 'bias' toward action, which isn't always best course
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2011 8:53 AM CST
In this photo taken Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, anti-goverment protesters clash with police in Suez, Egypt.   (AP Photo/Amru Salahuddien)
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(Newser) – The next few days will no doubt be filled with much pontificating on what President Obama should be doing in Egypt, and political scientist Jonathan Bernstein has some advice for those watching and listening:

  • Do something, anything! "Media-watchers should remember that there's usually a media bias here in favor of action," writes Bernstein. "I don't have any suggestion of what's best to do, but remember that sometimes doing as little as possible (especially publicly) can be an effective strategy."

  • It's all about the US: "American press and political reaction to things like this invariably overstate the American role in whatever is going on." The US plays an important part, of course, but not the only one, despite what you may hear.
  • Loud voices: People who advise a "wait and see" approach don't make for great television, so pundits with pre-formed opinions are the ones who dominate. You know, "the sorts of people who are inclined to immediately attribute things to social media/American imperialism/American fecklessness/that we haven't started drilling in ANWR/that we haven't passed an energy tax/that it's all Barack Obama's fault/that it's all Sarah Palin's fault (pause, breath...)"
Click here for Bernstein's full blog.

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