December 31, 2011

Osama-Obama: How Al Jazeera Framed the bin Ladin Erasure


After overindulging in domestic media’s “photos of the year” orgy this past few weeks, it’s fitting to close out 2011 looking at a couple pics from Al Jazeera’s Top 10 list. (And props, by the way, for bravely and economically holding to 10.)

Taking on the bin Laden killing, they could have gone with a shot from the Pakistani compound or something more tense and stereotypical from the Arab street, but instead we are offered something more nuanced and political.

Here’s a few of our takes:

1. Interestingly, Al Jazeera characterizes the operation as a contest for hearts and minds. There is certainly a lot more to say about this, but we’ll leave it with the observation that, in contrast to domestic western media’s penchant for antagonism and extremism, this photo is stunningly reasoned.

2. Our lizard brains never vanquished, the bin Ladin Seal mission is also framed as an OBL-BHO mano-a-mano.  (Also makes us think about where that leaves Bush, Dubya-Saddam consigned to history as the definitive undercard.)

3. More and more  — maybe especially more with social media’s 2011 power move — wars are won and lost on the screen.

And, see our last take on “Pix of the Year”– How Al Jazeera Framed Occupy Wall Street. (Hint: It’s a Bit More Black-and-White.)

The rest of the AJ list here:  In Pictures: Al Jazeera’s top 10 of 2011

(photo: GALLO/GETTY caption: Death of Osama bin Laden: On May 2, it was announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed by a team of US Navy Seals in Pakistan.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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