How is an American to understand what is happening in Egypt?
Beware the social media activists tweeting and posting on Facebook. There are slick attempts to frame the good guy – bad guy paradigm with “facts” to sway public opinion. It’s most definitely not that simple; no white hats – black hats on the streets in Cairo.
The Egyptian military issued a pathetic statement to foreign correspondents on August 17 to reign them into the propaganda fold. This should be a news item in its own right. Reminds me of the news this week from Israel: Prime Minister Netanyahu is giving Israeli university students $$ to spread good hasbara online.
I’m sitting on the other side of the world being bombarded with information about the events in Cairo, watching video clips of horrible atrocities with commentary explaining what the “terrorists” on each side are doing. It’s mind-numbing and heart-wrenching. I don’t want to be hood-winked. I don’t want to be duped into pushing a propaganda spiel. How does an American learn the truth about what’s going on in Egypt?
- Avoid the obvious propaganda. My antennae have become much better over the past 12-18 months in weeding out the crazy bullshit because I have a better understanding of the different players and the language they use to sway the public.
- Ask questions, lots of questions. When things don’t sound right, ask where the information came from. When people are emotionally distraught, they will pass along questionable information without verification. I know; I’ve been guilty of just hitting the SHARE button on false or exaggerated information.
- Cross-check information. If one report sounds incredible but possible, see if you can find the same information reported somewhere else.