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Media & Politics Spring 2016

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Ed Webb

on 5 May 2016

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Transcript of Media & Politics Spring 2016

Radicalism & Militarism
Performance Failures
Different, related paths of many peoples
Ethnic groups: Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Berbers...
Religious groups: Jews, Christians, Muslims, Zorastrians, Druze...
Emergence of competing nationalisms as empires decline: Zionism, Arab & Turkish nationalisms
Challenges for state legitimacy
Source: http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/maps.shtml
Source: http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/maps.shtml
"little rain, much oil, increasingly many (and therefore young) people" (44)

Population growth 2.2%, double in ~32 years.

More variation in per capita income than any other major region.

Just under 70% of world oil reserves. But note politics of revealed numbers (48-49).

Time horizons vary for how long reserves exploitable. Affect pricing preferences, urgency of alternatives.

Low production costs mean high rents.

Price shocks in early and late 70s linked to war & politics, lead to flood of revenues.

Manufacturing highly geographically concentrated.
"In no country was the rate of growth of output sufficient to keep up with the growth in the labor force--which was estimated to be between 5% and 7%--much less to significantly raise real wages. Even today, real wages and labor productivity in many countries are not markedly different from what they were in 1970" (58).
Problem of investment efficiency:
"For Algeria, for example, generating an additional dollar of output required twice as much investment during the 1970s as was the case in the labor-intensive, rapidly growing South Korean economy. Many economists believe that the culprit for the relative inefficiency of investment in the region can be found in government policies" (64)
Economic Growth and Structural Change
Coupon Clippers:
Oman Qatar
Oil Industrializers:
Saudi Arabia
From Richards, Waterbury, Cammett, Diwan (2013) A Political Economy of the Middle East (Westview)
Studying the Media in MENA
Fields (adapted from Hafez)
Link between politics/government and media
Link between society/challengers and media
Ownership, infrastructure, technology
Media processes
Media effects
Regulation, censorship, propaganda
Activism, investigation, public sphere
Capital, globalization
Professionalism, training, ethics, safety
Advertising, agenda-setting, framing
Markets, consumption, preferences
Not exhaustive
What are the qualities of different platforms in terms of the above fields and concepts?
Other print
Broadcast versus many-to-many (social)
Major challenge: data
Is the medium the message?
Media, Democracy, Transitions
In transitions "the proper role of journalism-be it advocacy, partisanship, or impartiality-will be unclear" (O'Neil 1998, 10).
"the fundamental question is whether during transitional periods the media can serve as an instrument of both democratic consolidation and pluralization—tasks that may be at odds with each other" (O'Neil 1998, 10).
"It is often the media's defection from the authoritarian camp that seals the latter's fate. Another important factor in the media's impact on authoritarian transition is the declining ability of the state to direct electronic broadcasting, undermined by the increasingly global nature of electronic communication and the role of satellite dishes and private cable systems" (O'Neil 1998, 8).
"Demonstration effects refer to the process by which transition processes in one state influence the calculations of societal and state actors in another. Populations become informed about and encouraged by changes elsewhere and begin to press for change at home as well; elites become panicky over the downfall of autocrats abroad and in response become more conciliatory or reactionary, either of which may spark mass mobilization" (O'Neil 1998, 12)
Comparative experiences
What can we learn from the CEEs?
By 1989, events in Central and Eastern Europe were global news. The global media helped tip the dominos so that what happened in one country was not merely news for the world, but also undercut the rules of leader after leader by bolstering the public's growing belief that they could dare to question and by increasing the elite's sense that they could no longer control what happened in their countries (Curry 2010, 54)
cell phones, Twitter, and the Internet allow any daring individual to send messages to the outside world. This action may not stop rulers from brutal repression but does turn it into a globally known event, significantly raising the potential costs for repressive regimes (Curry 2010, 54)
Western media and democracy advocates were among the first who stepped in to aid the transition away from Communism and gave among the most effective democracy-building aid the West gave. Regime-backed and independent journalists received training as soon as Communist governments collapsed. Western media instituted programs to teach them not only methods of investigative journalism but also, and more importantly, the business operations of journalism so their papers and stations could be less dependent on the government (Curry 2010, 56)
the journalists who were trained did not take on the model they were taught by the Western trainers; instead, they perceived themselves standing with and serving as a platform for opposition to the rulers and their failings (Curry 2010, 56)
For state journalists, the pressure not to lie, when the truth was being broadcast by others, made them go public with their opposition to the status quo and support of the demonstrations (Curry 2010, 57)
Media in cross-cultural communication/media in revolutions
Journalists as change agents
Audiences and Opinion: What do Arab Publics Want?
Lust Ch. 6
Poll data: Arabs prioritize economic development, favor democracy, are skeptical about the US role in the region, and are divided about the proper role of religion in politics.
KEY: states have struggled to provide basic goods and services; political parties are weak; informal sector of economies and political life very developed and important. Networks
Civil society: what is it, why does it matter?
note this dynamic
Social movements & popular mobilization
Media roles?
Lust pp. 280-284
NB transnational networks
Citizen Journalism
Lynch in Hafez
Effects of Arab media: minimal or massive?
Media as political opportunity structure, not independent actor/variable?
agenda setting
political opportunity structures
"Made for television" events
A forensic approach
Is anything changing due to technological or political developments?
Amin & Eickelman both suggest internet & satellite TV will force change. Are they right? To what extent?
Fragmentation of authority? (Eickelman 42)
religious authorities
creators and publishers
Information or views that:
challenge orthodoxies
undermine legitimacy or acquiescence
contravene moral or other important values
Precensorship: control of the means of dissemination
economic tools - bonuses, promotions, firings, fines, withdrawal of accreditation, advertising
physical coercion - threats, violence
legal tools - prosecution (it helps to have flexible laws)
Postcensorship: influence over producers
licensing, closure, seizure
Self-censorship: the most efficient, induced by the others
Arab Television
In what ways, if any, is the Arab television industry distinctive?
Guaaybess in Hafez
Orientalism problem
Al Jazeera & Al Manar not the whole of the industry!
Al Jazeera as "news channel of the South" (201)?
Al Manar as "terrorist organization" (202)
TV became commercial in 1970s
CNN impact in 1991 war --> deterritorialization of TV stations
Homogenization of content
100s of channels
--> mostly aimed at wealthy GCC countries
--> TV & newspapers about even, get the bulk (207)
--> Mainly consumer goods similar to Europe
Lebanese television
Kraidy: Star Academy as political phenomenon
Notzold content study
news broadcasts of 6 channels
domestic news 3/4 of content
Al Manar an outlier in many respects
But others also reinforce sectarian group identities at expense of national identity
Driven by owners, audience, or both?
Entertainment-politics nexus?
"reality" television
Globalization --> format adaptation
Alternative view of public participation: voters get to decide
Different effects in different markets
"indirect articulations rather than direct causations" (55)
Satellite of love?
Effects of satellite television
Group discussion questions
On other media
On governments
On ordinary citizens
Passive, Active, Interactive?
Is the focus of so much research on television justified/reasonable/effective?
Is there a transnational public sphere?
Amin & Kraidy in Hafez; Ghadbian; Horan
Al Jazeera - worth all the fuss?
"The Arab public sphere interpreted each development through the filter of a narrative that had been finely tuned through years of public argument" (Lynch 2006, 172)
"The Bush administration did not face a generic, irrational hatred and mistrust of America in its campaign against Iraq - it faced a specific, deeply entrenched narrative about the preceding decade that almost guaranteed a negative reception for its arguments" (Lynch 2006, 174-5).
"The arguments in the Arab public sphere revealed genuine uncertainty and a real variety of viewpoints, despite an overwhelming consensus on the overarching narrative" (Lynch 2006, 175)
"The furious demonstrations and protests in March and April 2002 startled virtually everybody: not only regimes, but also the Arab public itself, which had come to expect its own impotence" (Lynch 2006, 176)
Note the diversity of voices, and preference for contrasts, in the guests invited to debate the run-up to the Iraq war, pp. 178-9. Note also new distinction between Iraqi people and regime (181).
"American and Arab television portrayed strikingly different wars" (Lynch 2006, 188):
Control Room
"My station is a threat to American media control" (Lynch 2006, 189)
Abdullah Schleifer, quoted on page 191 - Jazeera doesn't make up facts; but presenters do spin, due to emotional commitments.
After the war: shift from studio guests to call-in formats: "closest thing to a true public sphere in the history of the Arab world"? (Lynch 2006, 197).
Tunisia's Uprising
Before During After
Mass media
Social media

Before During After
Mass media
Social media
Before During ...
Mass media
Social media
Media & Politics in MENA
Key organizing concept:
structural transformation of the Arab public sphere (Lynch)
transnational & transmedia
enabled by technological developments
driven by domestic repression/censorship
built of shared identities, arguments, & concerns
includes illiberal & Islamist elements
"active arguments before an audience about issues of shared concern" (32)
Sawt al-'Arab --> Europe-based Arab media--> Al-Jazeera --> Al-Jazeera's competitors today
"Well-versed in the arts of deciphering political codes in the authoritarian media, these audiences now excel in comparing coverage and analysis and triangulating" (46)
Satellite TV part of an ecosystem with social media, blogs, online newspapers etc. (earlier cassettes, faxes, VCRs)
What kind of public sphere?
Not necessarily cosmopolitan, progressive
Can be depoliticizing
"a weak international public sphere" (53)
Moral influence, but not necessarily access to political power
tanfis/safety valve?
counterpublics & hidden transcripts
Media of resistance and identity
sensationalism, polarization, populism
Ownership & advertising: who pays?
(not the "Arab street")
NB parallel Islamist public
Media essential in democracies - link rulers & ruled, & play watchdog role (ideally): but what role in non-democratic polities & in transitions? (O'Neil 2)
modernization theory discredited
"citizen journalism cannot be stopped"
(Curry 2010, 57) - true?
Objectivity versus engagement:
question of perspective/purpose
Why is AJ so popular in the Arab world?
Can it replicate that success
"selling human brains' available time" (209)
Arabic television not really "exotic"
Used as vocabulary of criticism in Lebanon
Leveraged by cultural conservatives in Kuwait
"regional cultural commodity" (54)
"an idiom of contention" (55)
Kraidy: "hypermedia space"
nation-state the
right unit of analysis?
(why so hard to measure? - see Amin for state of the field)
Stuart Hall
"These intense internal debates are, ironically, powerful evidence of its own existence as a public sphere: self-referential, self-critical, and aware of its role in the Arab political system" (236).
"The CPA never fully resolved the inherent conflict between the concept of a free, independent, critical media and a concept of the media as a vehicle for conveying a particular political narrative" (218)
Jazeera et al. covered occupation and insurgency in ways U.S. & Iraqi government disliked. But also covered elections intensively and enthusiastically.
Iraqi public angry with wider Arab public. Shock for all.
"the intense demand for internal reform was deeply central to the identity and the agenda of the new Arab public, regardless of American policies" (240)
Image: Al Ahram

Keywords/ concepts: blocking; filtering; crony capitalism; diversification; ATCE; public service media; pluralism; amplification; regulation (HAICA); confidence;
single-party state; training & professionalism (CAPJC).
Keywords/concepts: emergency law; internet shutdown; filtering, monitoring; propaganda; content-based censorship; platforms; Bambuser; SMS; scrambling; media infrastructure; quarantine strategy; Speak2Tweet; inclusion/exclusion from public sphere; marginal media; intermedia influence; challengers/contentious groups; counterhegemonic discourses; guided deregulation; frames/framing; opinion leaders & gatekeepers; countermobilization; dichotomization; government accountability.
Keywords: AKP; CHP; press-party parallelism; predominant-party system; polarization; bias; electoral dominance; corporatist-clientelistic structure; commercialization; fragmentation; concentration; yandaş (proponent, supporter, advocate) or Erdoğanist media; defamation; content analysis; intercoder reliability; common field of values; intimidation; mass firings; buying off/forcing out media moguls; wiretapping; imprisonment; procurement; Gezi Park; military guardianship/tutelage; holding companies; Ergenekon; Gülen; penguin documentaries; Privatization High Council (OİB); Housing Development Administration (TOKİ); Savings Deposit & Insurance Fund/Tasarruf Mevduatı Sigorta Fonu (TMSF); stenography; legal reform (Arts. 125, 220, 301 of criminal code; anti-terror law).
Religion in/as/and media
Turkey: major cleavage between secularist old elites and insurgent religious-conservatives
In Turkey, the media’s potential effects on the public opinion may be diminished by levels of literacy and education that lag behind per capita income, and the public’s relatively low trust in the media. But the media content more directly influences political elites including the media elites themselves, and the intelligentsia at large (Somer 2010, 559).
Role more like French than U.S. journalists:
higher % of space given to opinion - public intellectuals
There is considerable elite consensus on the overall value of democracy as an ideal, and on the desirability of its liberal, pluralistic kind. As discussed below, the problems lie in the issues of trust that seem to result from value gaps on other issues, and deficits in applying pluralistic-democratic principles to specific problems and groups other than one’s own. As a goal in itself, however, democracy is valued by both groups. Over nine years, ideas pertaining to democracy were coded 10,331 times. Only a minority—10.4 and 5.8 percent in the religious and secular press respectively—were negative ideas on democracy discussing any flaws or weaknesses (Somer 2010, 564).
a remarkable transformation of how democracy was viewed by the religious elite. Before 1998, the value of democracy equally stemmed from elections’ potential to bring the majority’s will upon government and from its liberal
benefits such as rights and freedoms. After 1998, the latter gained prominence. During interviews, religious-conservative journalists confirmed that the authoritarian practices of the February 28 intervention reinforced an existing discussion on
liberal democracy within the Islamic intelligentsia, helping them to better appreciate European standards of rights, freedoms, and rule of law. This change in the thinking clearly offered an intellectual basis for the AKP’s formation in 2001 with a remarkably more liberal rhetoric and ideological outlook than any previous Islamist political party. This critical shift of thinking helped the AKP to gain the support of many secular liberal circles, win the elections in 2002, and gain the approval of the EU as a result of its reformist policies between 2002 and 2004 (Somer 2010, 565).
The difference between the religious and secular press becomes clearer on the question of secularism. For the religious press, the question of secularism (laiklik) was relatively less important (43 codings per newspaper per year, six percent of total codings), the plurality of the codings neutral, and critical codings (34 percent) were considerably more than favorable views (24 percent). By comparison, the secular press was more interested in the secularism question (100 codings per newspaper per year, 11 percent of total codings), and more homogeneous than the
religious press: 74 percent of the codings were positive, with only two percent of codings being critical (Somer 2010, 568).
In the secular press, the majority of ideas (59 percent) emphasized the value of social pluralism, with only 11 percent critical codings. By contrast, the religious press was divided between 38 percent favorable, and 36 percent critical codings that refer to the problems social pluralism may create (Somer 2010, 571).
Mediterranean model of polarized pluralism. Party-paper parallelism. But more internal pluralism than predicted
Religion: internet effects
Anderson: high/low Islam - scriptural/popular - orthodox/sufi
No central authority in Islam: plurality of interpretation
"Media not only place messages into wider circulation, but also rebalance their authority from that of the sender to include the circulation itself" (Anderson 2003, 46-47)
massification of education
Internet connects Muslims globally; brings private discussions into public; empowers new interpreters
State responses: filtering/censorship; official interpreters online
universal versus particular: UDHR versus CDHRI & ADHR
halal internet
violators as sinners
"Islamic State" & media
Drawing on English and Arabic Islamic State (IS) communiqués produced by its central media units, wilayat information offices and broader supporter base, this study examines the strategic logic of IS information operations
(IO). It argues that the overarching purpose of IS’s IO campaign is to shape the perceptions and polarise the support of audiences via messages that interweave appeals to pragmatic and perceptual factors. Pragmatic factors—such as security, stability and livelihood—are leveraged in IS messaging by promoting the efficacy of its politico-military campaign and
denigrating its enemies’ efforts via rational-choice (logic of consequence) appeals. Perceptual factors—which are tied to the interplay of in-group, Other, crisis and solution constructs—are leveraged via identity-choice (logic of appropriateness) appeals that frame IS as the champion of Sunni Muslims (the in-group identity), its enemies as Others complicit in Sunni
perceptions of crisis, and IS as the only hope for solving this malaise. With this approach, IS seeks to resonate its message across a diverse ‘glocal’ constituency and supercharge supporters towards action. IS simultaneously targets its enemies with messaging that manipulates the inherent dualities underlying perceptual and pragmatic factors, vigorously counters criticisms and ‘baits’ opponents into ill-conceived IO responses. (Ingram 2015 abstract)
Strategy of polarization
" designed to provide supporters with a competitive system of meaning—i.e. an alternative perspective of the conflict and its actors (indeed the world) to that perpetuated by its opponents—as a ‘lens’ to fundamentally shape audience perceptions" (Ingram 2015, 730).
Insurgent/terror groups are fundamentally about messaging
" simultaneous appeals to pragmatic and perceptual factors create mutually reinforcing narrative cycles,
whereby the veracity of IS’s system of meaning is evidenced in the efficacy of its politico-military apparatus (and vice versa)" (Ingram 2015, 736)
"devotes a significant portion of its IO activities to portraying its governance apparatus as multidimensional, sophisticated, bureaucratised and well resourced" (737)
"IS’s communiqués were not about winning over ‘undecided’ viewers, but unambiguously reinforcing the perceptions and polarising the support of friends and foes alike, while, yet
again, capturing global media attention" (746).
"Messages that pertinently attach IS to perceptions of crisis, denigrate its system of control, and expose ruptures between its narrative and action will be more effective than counter-proselytising efforts" (747)
Fernandez (2015) on Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSSC)
unable to project counterterrorism messages consistently across government
relied on own digital outreach team to "contest digital space" (490) using attack videos
goal not to win friends but challenge enemies
U.S. policy on Syria a liability
Dec 2013 onward English language messaging (#ThinkAgainTurnAway)
Government is risk-averse
comparative success of Niemoller-based banner (496-7)
Govt can't engage in theological messaging successfully
"It takes a network to fight a network"(498)
What effects do media technologies and practices have on politics in MENA region?
How do states respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by emergent trends in communication?
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