In today's tour of state-run propaganda, Mali television goes off air, Iranian media betrays its favorite U.S. presidential candidate, North Korea's Andy Warhol is profiled by CNN and propaganda gets out of control in the Middle East. We begin in Mali...
We Will Never Return to Your Regularly-Scheduled Program
State TV is pretty much always boring, save for a few exceptions. But never is this axiom more true in Mali, where the mutinous soldiers that took over the country Thursday also co-opted state TV, which has gone completely off the air following the soldiers' initial broadcast, reports the Associated Press. No doubt the soldiers scored a ratings coup (ha!) Thursday when they announced their takeover of the government in fatigues and a we-mean-business demeanor (see the original broadcast here). But apparently the soldiers are having difficulties keeping the signal going while they face resistance from pro-ancien regime forces. "Contacted by telephone, resident Mohamed Traore said that after the signal went dead, he went outside and saw the troops rushing to put up large defenses," reported the AP. We don't know about Mali, but if a coup happened in the U.S. and everyone's TV stopped working, the new regime wouldn't last more than a few hours. Rough start, guys.
Iran Thinks Ron Paul Sold Out
Iran's propaganda arm Press TV typically covers U.S. politics in a scathing and conspiratorial light. But Ron Paul has always had a special place in its heart—especially when he argues for pulling all U.S. forces from the Middle East or against intervention in Iran. (Press TV has even accused the MSM of censoring Ron Paul's fans). That's why we were surprised when Press TV came down hard on the libertarian, re-surfacing the recent charge that he sold out to Mitt Romney. Below Press TV weighs in on Ron Paul's "dirty deal":
Ron Paul up to now seems to be more interested in his dirty deal with Romney whereby Ron Paul would give his delegates to Romney and Rand Paul might become - the son of the current candidate and currently a Senator - might become vice president on a Romney ticket.
You know what they say, Dr. Paul. If you've lost Iranian media, you've lost ... SANA?
North Korean Propagandist Becomes Pop Art Icon
It's starting to sound like being a professional propagandist in North Korea isn't a bad stepping stone to more fulfilling work. Earlier this month, we told you the story of a propagandist for North Korean state media becoming an Associated Press journalist. Yesterday, CNN published a story of a communist party propagandist who became a pop art icon. Song Byeok used to paint grand images of North Korean soldiers until life took a downward turn in the mid-1990s when food shortages forced him to travel to China. Now, he lives in South Korea where his paintings "explore themes of freedom while skewering his former devotion to North Korea's leaders." Here are a few samples:
Middle East Propaganda vs. Middle East Propaganda
In an excellent weekend piece in The Wall Street Journal, Sam Dagher reviews the coverage of Syria's uprising through the prism of Sunni and Shia-owned media companies. "All you have is propaganda and counterpropaganda," Marwan Kraidy, a communications professor at the University of Pennsylvania's tells the newspaper. "The number of channels is staggering, and the intensity of the sectarian hate and rhetoric is scary." The article looks at war coverage from outlets such as Al-Jazeera, broadcast out of Qatar, Al-Arabiya, financed by the Saudi royal family and Safa TV, by a Saudi Arabia-Salafi Sunni Muslim, and finds a distinct pro-protester bias. "Shiites are worse than Jews," says a Safa TV anchor. On the other end, outlets such as Addounia TV, backed by Bashar al-Assad's maternal family, Al-Manar, backed by Hezbollah-Iran, and Al-Alam TV, backed by Iranian state TV, have a pro-Assad bias. "The media battle is galvanizing populations across the region along sectarian lines and further fueling fears that a local conflict will metastasize into a regional one," writes Dagher.