The World Reacts: A Tale of Two Talk Shows

The World Reacts:A Tale of Two Talk

Television talk shows the world round tackle many of the same
issues. Writing for, Tarek Atia
compares a Middle Eastern talk show to a televised BBC debate and
finds that they both rile the audience and ignore context.

Al-Biyoot Asrar (House of Secrets) tries to address the question
‘Why Arabs Hate the U.S.,’ but the panel of writers and journalists
ends up focusing on the validity of the ‘American Dream’ and its
similarity to imperialism. One panelist points out that Arabs need
to decide whether or not they believe in elements of the ‘American
Dream,’ such as freedom and equality before they discount all that
comes from the West.

Meanwhile a BBC debate featuring news corespondents and analysts
degenerates into a kind of yelling match and — like the Middle
Eastern talk show — fails to examine new and thoughtful points of
view. At one point the host asks if the broadcasting on TV of Osama
bin Laden’s call to kill Americans was irresponsible. Robert Fisk
tries to question the lack of context of bin Laden’s statements,
however, the show runs out of time, and it ends with the haunting
question, ‘Is the propaganda war more important?’

‘What they [both shows] reveal about the crisis at hand,’ Atia
concludes, ‘is the need for greater understanding between societies
and peoples around the world.’
–Sara V. Buckwitz
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