News is back!

After a month-long hiatus during Ramadan–when soap operas reign supreme– Lebanese TV has reverted to its default mode of political propaganda broadcasting, known locally as “talk shows.”

Much like the poorly-produced soap operas, the number of actors and scripts are limited. So instead offering anything particularly insightful or useful to the audience–like some substantive ground reporting–we are treated to the same faces of the same pundits employed by the same parties spewing two sides of the same propaganda coin.

And what better way to start this season of discontent than by interviewing supporters of the recent kidnapping of Turkish pilots:

I mean where else can you get a crowd to go on camera and openly support kidnapping?

Actually this could be a fascinating topic to explore, raising a number of deep post-war issues Lebanese need to reconcile with.  But bringing on two guests to play tennis with propaganda will not get us any closer.

Instead of looking at local issues and local decision-makers–such as the limitations of policing, law enforcement and judicial accountability– both guests will earn their paychecks by diverting attention to vague, intangible conspiracies– such as “what they (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Sunnis, the Shia, the Christians, the Druze)  want Lebanon to be.”

Keeping it vague means zero accountability and zero reporting. Less aggravation for everyone–except the viewer of course, who will turn off his or her television hours later having gained more frustration than knowledge and full of regret over the time wasted.  

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