Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Medium Is The Message

Obama's "first official" interview on Al Arabiya struck all the right notes, but too bad it happened on the wrong station. Obama's aides should know better that, just like in the US, the medium is the message. Al Arabiya, a Saudi funded network out of Dubai, is regionally perceived as being too pro-America and pretty much in support of established regimes and monarchies. As such, despite their very strong penetration in Arab markets, their audience is rather small and falls behind many other networks such as LBC, Future, and the notorious Al Jazeera.

And speaking of Al Jazeera.. love it or hate it, it is by far the leading network in the regions, and thru its English outlet (AJE), rapidly becoming a leading news organization worldwide. Our enemies and foes realize that and that is why they go out of their way to ensure that their messages are somehow carried there. Even the Israelis, who have long resisted dealing with AJE have finally realized that it is the network of choice to speak to the Arab Street/Muslim World.

Knowing Obama, I know this won't be his last interview for that region.. let's just hope that better planning and media realities are taken into consideration next time.

Let me suggest a sit down with Sir David Frost or Riz Khan...


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