Why Egypt’s government targets journalists

WHY EGYPT’S GOVERNMENT TARGETS JOURNALISTS…. As the protests in Egypt have intensified, government forces have responded with brutal violence towards demonstrators, and a campaign to intimidate, harass, detain, and in many instances, violently assault journalists from around the world.

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Rachel Maddow did a powerful segment on this last night, exploring why. “What’s happening in Egypt right now is not about journalism. It is not about journalists. It is about the Egyptian people trying to topple their own government. So why are all of these reporters covering that getting attacked?” Rachel asked.

She went to explain, “It’s a tactic being used by the Egyptian government, and that is obvious to anybody who’s there. It is obvious to anybody who is reporting what’s happening on the ground there — which brings us back to this question, why are we seeing journalists getting attacked? Attacked in the streets, hunted down, rounded up, having their equipments smashed and confiscated, getting kicked out of where they are staying, because the fact that they are there poses a risk to anybody else who is staying there?

“Why are they being attacked? Because they [the journalists] need to be stopped — they need to be stopped from stating the obvious. They need to be stopped from showing what’s happening and what they’ve been reporting since it started, which is that the violence was started by the government against its own people in a last ditch effort to stay in power.

“If you are the Egyptian government, that story has to be stopped. And as a result, journalism has to be stopped. And so, journalists have to be stopped…. You do not attack reporters and cameraman and you do not ransack press offices because you are looking for good public relations, because you want to present your spin to the world about how things are going. You do it to stop journalism, damn the consequences. Because the real story that journalists are able to tell is so dangerous to your strategy to stay in power.”

On the other side of the ideological divide, we see Rush Limbaugh alerting his audience to the same developments: “Ladies and gentlemen, it is being breathlessly reported that the Egyptian army — Snerdley, have you heard this? The Egyptian army is rounding up foreign journalists. I mean, even two New York Times reporters were detained. Now, this is supposed to make us feel what, exactly? How we supposed to feel? Are we supposed to feel outrage over it? I don’t feel any outrage over it. Are we supposed to feel anger? I don’t feel any anger over this. Do we feel happy? Well — uh — do we feel kind of going like, ‘neh-neh-neh-neh’?”

Soon after, Limbaugh took a less disgusting line, but only after learning that a Fox News crew had also been severely beaten. “We were kidding before about The New York Times, of course,” he said.

Of course.

For context, let’s also note that earlier this week, Limbaugh publicly expressed his support for the Mubarak government staying in power.