Today I am taking a pause from Faylasoof’s stamp collection to report on the latest from the Arabic news channels. You might be expecting me to comment on Arabiya’s and Jazeera’s coverage of last night’s debate – and I will. Tomorrow.
What struck me as I watched the news last night – first on the Lebanese channels, and then on Jazeera and Arabiya – was how much attention they are giving to the financial crisis, both here in the US and around the world.
Well, diamond, OF COURSE, you might be thinking. And you’re right – this is a global news event. But seeing LBC and Mustaqbal devote more time than the usual token few minutes to world news, listening to the terms the announcers used to describe the crisis (more on this below), and noting the new graphics that Jazeera has created (ditto) brought the global-ness of this crisis home to me.
Let’s start with the terms. The most common term I heard as a description of the financial crisis was the same as we use in English: “al-azma al-maliya”, or “financial crisis”. This was also used as the “story title” on the text bar for LBC and Future’s newscasts. (We do get NBN and New TV, but I haven’t sorted out when their news broadcasts are. If you want to know, please ask H :).)
But this wasn’t the only phrase used – and the others were much more poetic. LBC described the crisis as the “zilzil al-mali” – the “financial earthquake”.
And Al Jazeera, which delayed its coverage of the presidential debate to broadcast a special report on the financial crisis, has created a new set of graphics just for this story. Its title:
That’s right: “financial hurricane”.
Jazeera’s coverage focused on New York (I know: the locator bar says “Washington”, but as the building shown itself clearly states, this is the New York Stock Exchange) and the stock market’s tumble there:
Jazeera did cover the presidential debate after its special news broadcast ended – but the fact that the channel chose to prioritize direct coverage of the financial crisis over a debate that largely focused on this crisis suggests to me how seriously it, and its viewers, are taking this “hurricane”.