Concision

Juan Cole, from Monday’s Virtually Speaking Susie broadcast, on the nature of the the security regime in the Middle East.  He describes how the US sees the regional order, particularly from the perspective of the “Washington elites” who see a Egyptian, Saudi, Israeli triangle in the Middle East:

That order is unnatural.  It requires a feudal religious absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia. It requires a police state in Egypt and it requires an expanding and aggressive Israel that is taking the land of Palestinians keep them stateless and occasionally engaging punitive wars on them as well as on neighbors like Lebanon that object.

When Glenn Greenwald joined Digby on Virtually Speaking Sundays, he remarked afterwards that he enjoyed being able to discuss issues without the constraints of time that characterize most venues for these discussions. He referred particularly to the very short segments that make up political/policy discussions on television,  to Noam Chomsky’s remarks on concision’s role in limiting debate in televised venues like Nightline.  Chomsky argues that it is impossible to concisely make a comment that is grounded in something other than the conventional wisdom of the moment, and so demanding  concision of guests serves as a tool  to define the boundaries of  what Jay Rosen calls the Sphere of Deviance, “views which journalists and the political mainstream of society reject as unworthy of being heard.”

But as Juan’s concise clarity makes clear–especially when you contrast it with the flabby work we’ve been getting from venues like the NY Times on the topic–the absence of voices like Juan’s on the Sunday morning programs cannot be solely attributed to the need to express a clear point of view in four minutes.

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