June 7, 2009

Different CUltures - Different ways to questions

I looked at the transcript of an interview session Pres. Obama had with Arab news organizations while in Egypt.

Take a look at how many of the reporters prefaced their questions:

  • Q Well, thank you for your speech. I'm sure that the Palestinians are overwhelmed by some of the things that you have said regarding the Palestinian issue, specifically about the settlements.
  • Q (As translated.) I think your speech was wonderful and more -- above and beyond everybody was expecting. And you have talked about the Middle East and the future of this region. You also spoke about the commitment of the United States towards achieving progress towards special issues. I also believe there are some difficulties. I might want to be much more precise.
  • Q First of all, Mr. President, I want to congratulate you for a great speech.

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

    Q I believe that everybody in the region listened to it, including in my country.

Now to be clear, not ALL the reporters did this. And before anyone criticize the way the reporters from the area do their jobs, but it does show differences in how news is gathered and perceived in other countries.

1 comment:

Rachael said...

Prof- You're totally right. When I was in London I noticed journalists there have different priorities. Yes, they intend to stay objective, but they approach their stories with the standpoint that it is their job to advocate for their subjects. Though I saw some problems with this attitude, I also saw some huge benefits. People as a whole were more trusting of journalists and were more willing to talk to me when they thought I was "on their side." It really has made me rethink some of my own ideas on the reasoning and thought behind journalistic objectivity.