On 2/3/2011, Diane Sawyer started her ABC World News broadcast by walking with her high heels over the map of Egypt, a grievous insult to Arabs and Muslims.
What is the significance of this?
According to the Free Republic, “In many Arab countries, showing the sole of one’s shoes is considered a sign of extreme disrespect.” The American version of “The Finger”.
Remember the Iraqi journalist who threw his shows at President Bush? The Auburn Journal reported that, “In Iraqi (Arab) culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of deep derision and contempt. Iraqis hit a statue of Saddam Hussein with their shoes after U.S. marines toppled it during the 2003 invasion.”
And in June 2009, a photo taken of President Obama reclining in his chair with his shoes on a table, the soles pointing towards the camera, while he spoke with on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was taken as an “insult” to Israel.
ABC and Ms. Sawyer have extensive coverage of endless global events. They are aware of certain customs in certain areas of the world where women reporters need to wear special garments to be politically/religiously correct. They are aware of that certain cultures have certain signs of disdain, contempt, or insult. And yet, no one at ABC thought of the fact of Ms. Sawyer walking over a map of Egypt may send an insulting message to the Muslim world.
These professional and well-seasoned journalists at ABC and their network employers know the subtle innuendos of the world’s cultures and religions, yet they blatantly have a journalists walking with her high heels across a map of a Muslim country.
Either they did it out of ignorance, unlikely, or their corporate bosses wanted to send the Muslims their own message. So who owns ABC and its news program? The Disney Company, and its Chairman is Robert A. Iger.
This is not rocket science to understand that creating a network studio where you have a map of a country and then a non-Muslim (non-believer) stands with their shoe souls on top of that country “MIGHT” send the wrong signal to the people living there.
And during her evening’s broadcast that night, Ms. Sawyer introduced the ABC reporter on the ground in Egypt, David Muir, with the lead in that people loyal to President Mubarak were threatening journalists with violence and death.
It is very doubtful that ABC’s “Walk On Me World” studio or Ms. Sawyer had any influence at all regarding the threat on journalists, but why even chance it.
ABC and all news networks need to connect-the-dots on such important items as a network set design. The American networks are not only just reporting the news, they are mirrors of America. They broadcast to the world and therefore the U.S. networks are representing the virtues and/or vices of the American people.
As the dust will eventually settle in Egypt, and a new regime takes over, there will be no doubt reviews by Arab and Muslim intelligence of what transpired in Egypt, what countries were helpful or not, and which networks showed the true side of the happenings in Egypt during a time of crisis.
If our American news networks continue to show, either naively of subtly, a slant on true journalism, then what will Americans face when they visit these countries? What will happen to Americans wanting to visit Egypt and its rich archaeological history such as the pyramids?
One news reporter already understands the situation of Americans traveling abroad. I witnessed what Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC News Chief Medical Editor, recently said on NBC , that when she travels, she has her American passport in a passport cover so no one can see she is an American citizen. Is she a proud American? Of course, and she is also a very smart individual who understands the real world.
In 1958, the book, “The Ugly American” was released. “In the novel, a Burmese journalist says “For some reason, the [American] people I meet in my country are not the same as the ones I knew in the United States. A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They isolate themselves socially. They live pretentiously. They’re loud and ostentatious.” Ultimately, the phrase “ugly Americans” comes to be applied to Americans behaving in this manner, while the positive contributions of the Homer Atkins character are forgotten.”
In ABC’s case it seems the ‘Ugly American’ has no need to travel abroad, rather just switch on your TV and there is the ‘Ugly American’ walking across a map of Egypt.
ABC NEWS with Diane Sawyer, broadcast on 2/3/2011
Free Republic, 12/18/2008, ” Code Pink activists march in solidarity with shoe-thrower “.
Auburn Journal, 12/14/08, “Bush Is Now As Popular As Saddam’s Statue”.
World Watch, 6/9/2009, “Some Israelis Insulted By Obama Picture”.
The Walt Disney Company, “Company Overview”.