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   The Egyptian mirror:      Information Clearing House: ICH

   The Egyptian mirror:      Information Clearing House: ICH: "None of this is to say that such matters are not newsworthy when they take place in other countries; they are. And obviously the domestic political repression in Egypt does not compare to what one finds in the U.S. But there are two points about these types of articles worth making.

The first is that they have the effect of manufacturing the appearance that such problems exist only Over There, but not here. One would never, ever find in The New York Times such a sweeping denunciation of the plutocratic corruption and merger of private wealth and political power that shapes most of America's political culture. Just like 'torture'-- which that paper has no trouble declaring is used by Egypt's government but will never say is used by ours -- such systematic corruption can exist only elsewhere, but never in America. That's how this genre of Look Over There reporting is not just incomplete but outright misleading: it actively creates the impression that such conditions are found only in those Primitive Foreign Places, but not here.

The second point is how adeptly the media morality narrative has been managed from the start of the Egypt crisis. Any foreign story that interests the American media for more than a day requires clear villains and heroes. What made the Egypt story so rare is that the designated foreign villains are usually first separated from the U.S. before being turned into demons; it's fine to vilify those whom we have steadfastly supported provided the support is a matter of the past and can thus be safely ignored. Thus were Saddam Hussein, the former Mujahideen (now known as The Terrorists) and any number of Latin American and Asian tyrants seamlessly turned into Horrible, Evil Monsters despite our once-great alliances with them; the fact that it happened in the past (albeit the very recent past) permitted those facts to be excluded.

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