Monday, February 19, 2007

The Iraqi War Filter: Where Do Ideas Flow From?

I just watched a video on Google. It was called, "Iraq: The Hidden Story" and the title is what led me to it. Clearly there was a political slant here, but I wanted to hear about what I guess I wasn't hearing. The story was about the information blackout in Iraq. The country is too dangerous for western reporters to go out and get real interviews, so they rely on brave Iraqis to gather fodder for stories for them. A point is made about how this stops professional reporters from the west from asking the deeper questions they feel that they would have followed up on but can't because they weren't present. Any interviewer feels the same when they miss out on an opportunity like this.

Throughout the 49 minute piece there was mention of the presence of Iraqi bloggers and their impact on the reporting of this war. The conclusion made by the narrator was that while this perspective is good, the Iraqis speak with a decidedly Iraqi slant and don't have the ability to perform the analysis that a real reporter would. This is what propelled me to blog about it.

There is such a breakdown of language and culture here, why do they feel as if they would perform a better job of giving a true perspective on Iraq over an Iraqi? A ton of Iraqi blog data would provide a much greater missing piece here than a few more reporters giving their analysis of things.

An example of this is while typing this I wanted to see what images would come up on Google if I typed in the string iraqi blog. The result was lots of purple-fingered-Iraqi voters, US service men and George Bush images. Propaganda style photos and not real people sharing their view of the world. I typed in a variety of search terms but kept getting the same stuff. Probably a language thing or Google thinking too much for me. Maybe Time's person of the Year wasn't an Iraqi.

So this leads me to think about what would be the best idea gathering mechanism for what to do in Iraq? Our news is censored, the western political views don't seem to map to the region, and the insurgents/terrorists/people-with-guns are the loudest voices from within the country. The customer of this war is the Iraqi. Is there a process or product lifecycle for the outcome of war?

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

Is there a voice for the quiet Iraqi? They can't all have bombs strapped to there bodies heading toward a checkpoint. I bet if we dig really deep we'll find a different voice. Good stuff here. I'm inspired to look.