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Het zijn net mensen: Beelden uit het Midden-Oosten

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Vijf jaar lang was Joris Luyendijk correspondent voor de Arabische wereld. Hij liep vluchtelingenkampen af en sloppenwijken, joodse nederzettingen en fundamentalistische bolwerken. Hij sprak met terroristen en bezetters, met slachtoffers, daders en hun familie. Hij doorstond beschietingen en bombardementen, doodsbedreigingen en zelfmoordaanslagen, bezetting, terreur en oor Vijf jaar lang was Joris Luyendijk correspondent voor de Arabische wereld. Hij liep vluchtelingenkampen af en sloppenwijken, joodse nederzettingen en fundamentalistische bolwerken. Hij sprak met terroristen en bezetters, met slachtoffers, daders en hun familie. Hij doorstond beschietingen en bombardementen, doodsbedreigingen en zelfmoordaanslagen, bezetting, terreur en oorlog… Hoe meer hij zelf meemaakte, hoe meer het begon te knagen. Want wat gaapte er een kloof tussen wat hij als correspondent met eigen ogen zag, en wat hij daarvan kon laten zien op radio, tv en in de krant. In Het zijn net mensen probeert Luyendijk iets van die kloof te dichten. Met pakkende voorbeelden en vol humor legt hij uit waarom het zo moeilijk is om iets van het Midden-Oosten te begrijpen, en welke rol de massamedia daarin spelen.


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Vijf jaar lang was Joris Luyendijk correspondent voor de Arabische wereld. Hij liep vluchtelingenkampen af en sloppenwijken, joodse nederzettingen en fundamentalistische bolwerken. Hij sprak met terroristen en bezetters, met slachtoffers, daders en hun familie. Hij doorstond beschietingen en bombardementen, doodsbedreigingen en zelfmoordaanslagen, bezetting, terreur en oor Vijf jaar lang was Joris Luyendijk correspondent voor de Arabische wereld. Hij liep vluchtelingenkampen af en sloppenwijken, joodse nederzettingen en fundamentalistische bolwerken. Hij sprak met terroristen en bezetters, met slachtoffers, daders en hun familie. Hij doorstond beschietingen en bombardementen, doodsbedreigingen en zelfmoordaanslagen, bezetting, terreur en oorlog… Hoe meer hij zelf meemaakte, hoe meer het begon te knagen. Want wat gaapte er een kloof tussen wat hij als correspondent met eigen ogen zag, en wat hij daarvan kon laten zien op radio, tv en in de krant. In Het zijn net mensen probeert Luyendijk iets van die kloof te dichten. Met pakkende voorbeelden en vol humor legt hij uit waarom het zo moeilijk is om iets van het Midden-Oosten te begrijpen, en welke rol de massamedia daarin spelen.

30 review for Het zijn net mensen: Beelden uit het Midden-Oosten

  1. 5 out of 5

    Marc

    This book is both interesting as a critique on mainstream journalism, as well as an introduction to the Middle East. For years the Dutch journalist Joris Luyendijk was a news paper correspondent in Egypt, Lebanon and Israel-Palestine. He wrote this book afterwards, clarifying that objective journalism in this region isn't really possible, and illustrating how media in general make a mess of their reporting on the Middle East. Of course, he's a bit one-side once in a while, but he does make his p This book is both interesting as a critique on mainstream journalism, as well as an introduction to the Middle East. For years the Dutch journalist Joris Luyendijk was a news paper correspondent in Egypt, Lebanon and Israel-Palestine. He wrote this book afterwards, clarifying that objective journalism in this region isn't really possible, and illustrating how media in general make a mess of their reporting on the Middle East. Of course, he's a bit one-side once in a while, but he does make his point clear. Luyendijk sets the bar for journalism very high: you will not find the truth there, for those who still had that illusion; a bit of humility is more appropriate. Mandatory reading for every one aspiring a career in journalism or interested in current affairs.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    I read this book to preview it for possible inclusion in a reading series about war and peace in the Middle East. It's the kind of book I almost certainly wouldn't have picked up otherwise - it's nonfiction about politics in the Middle East. I don't really have a political brain and I find it difficult (and tedious, and frankly, boring) to follow the intricacies of this particular sport. But Luyendijk's book is different. He is a former M.E. correspondent for a major Dutch newspaper, a journalis I read this book to preview it for possible inclusion in a reading series about war and peace in the Middle East. It's the kind of book I almost certainly wouldn't have picked up otherwise - it's nonfiction about politics in the Middle East. I don't really have a political brain and I find it difficult (and tedious, and frankly, boring) to follow the intricacies of this particular sport. But Luyendijk's book is different. He is a former M.E. correspondent for a major Dutch newspaper, a journalist who constantly questioned the norms of his profession. He stepped away from journalism to reflect on the huge gap between what is actually happening in the region and what is reported in the media. He explains the reasons for the difference in clear and convincing terms. He manages to convey the situation with just the right balance between distance/perspective and personal stories. His analysis of the media machine is both insightful and damning. And his perspective on the role of dictatorships (in the lives of the affected citizens and in British/American interests, too) is different from anything I encounter in the media. Read this if you care about the U.S. role in the Middle East. Read it if you think you don't care about the U.S. role in the Middle East. Either way, it is a thought-provoking yet readable book. A note about why you may not have heard of this book: This book was originally published in 2006, in Dutch. The English translation came out in 2010 with an afterword by the author. He mentions that while the book sold an amazing quarter million copies in the Netherlands and was well received in Denmark, France, Germany and Australia, it has been ignored in the U.S., Hungary, and Italy. Today (12/29/10) I checked WorldCat to get a sense of library holdings in the U.S., and only FOUR U.S. libraries are listed as owning it (a public library in Wisconsin + 3 academic libraries). (Of course, I always have to take WorldCat holdings with a grain of salt. My academic library's copy - which I have in hand - isn't reflected there yet. It's a new acquisition and I'm not sure how frequently WorldCat holdings are updated. But still...) If you're a librarian, order this book! It should be on shelves. Update February 2012: Hello, Everybody! One Journalist's Search for Truth in the Middle East is the UK-English edition title. The US-English edition title is People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East. The Australian-English edition title is Fit to Print: Misrepresenting the Middle East. I'm pleased to report that as of February 2012, 198 libraries own the US-English edition (according to WorldCat).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jan Hidders

    A great little book. In my opinion a must-read for anyone who would like to claim to have an informed opinion on the situation in the Middle East. It is written in a very personal and fluent style, which makes it a very pleasant read. Although short, it is a very informative book about the difficulties that Joris experienced as a reporter in the Middle East while attempting to report as objectively and honestly as possible. Through a combination of personal anecdotes and additional background inf A great little book. In my opinion a must-read for anyone who would like to claim to have an informed opinion on the situation in the Middle East. It is written in a very personal and fluent style, which makes it a very pleasant read. Although short, it is a very informative book about the difficulties that Joris experienced as a reporter in the Middle East while attempting to report as objectively and honestly as possible. Through a combination of personal anecdotes and additional background information he shows why this is next to impossible. He mentions several factors such as the local dictatorial regimes that make normal news gathering impossible, Western prejudices, the way that modern mass media filters certain types of news, but also the differences in competence of the involved parties in executing effective media policies. These are all things that most of us already were at least vaguely aware of, but it is still very confronting to see these mechanisms directly at work in this book. A strong reminder that we cannot take the objectivity of our media for granted. PS. The book reminded me a bit of "Great War for Civilisation, The Conquest of the Middle East" by Robert Fisk, which I read earlier. This book is by a more experienced journalist and has a much bigger scope both in terms of history and geography, but it shares the almost palpable anger and frustration about the whole situation. I can also recommend this book, especially if you are interested in more "on the ground stories" by reporters in the Arab world. It is however very thick, and as such per page not very informative, but this is compensated by a very direct and personal writing style that clearly shows his personal involvement and the spectacular anecdotes such as his interview with Bin Laden or the time he was all but lynched by a mob of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    Foreign correspondence, especially that reportage from the Middle East and other redoubts of dictatorship, is a house of cards. That’s the conclusion of Joris Luyendijk, the former Dutch correspondent who spent five years reporting from Cairo, Beirut, Jerusalem, and other regional hotspots. People Like Us, however, is more than a simple accounting of his time on the ground. Instead, it’s a hard-hitting critique of the news business, of the concerted efforts to shape what that business reports, a Foreign correspondence, especially that reportage from the Middle East and other redoubts of dictatorship, is a house of cards. That’s the conclusion of Joris Luyendijk, the former Dutch correspondent who spent five years reporting from Cairo, Beirut, Jerusalem, and other regional hotspots. People Like Us, however, is more than a simple accounting of his time on the ground. Instead, it’s a hard-hitting critique of the news business, of the concerted efforts to shape what that business reports, and of the often illiterate consumers of that reporting. Readers might be forgiven for looking to another more influential critic of the news business, the former New Yorker journalist A.J. Liebling, to succinctly capture the spirit of Luyendijk’s short and utterly readable book. For it was Liebling that said famously, “Journalism is what somebody doesn’t want you to print. The rest is publicity.” By describing how foreign reporting works, or more aptly, how it doesn’t work, Luyendijk is able to convincingly extirpate any notion that it’s possible for the casual observer to really understand the situation on the ground in culturally distant or undemocratic places. Luyendijk writes about his former profession in the same jaded way that an ex-wife might air out the dirty laundry of her former spouse. And though one sided, his account is refreshingly forthright in a way that a current journalist could never be. Furthermore, he doesn’t shy away from self-critique. He very candidly describes his inability to reestablish friendships with ordinary Egyptians that he had met while earlier studying at university there. He says that absent those work-a-day relationships, it was impossible for him to report norms, only distortions. Rather than being a participant-observer, in the classic model of anthropology, he was doomed to be only a removed onlooker. Being likened to an anthropologist may be the highest form of praise any journalist can receive. But in reading People Like Us it becomes readily apparent that the discipline of anthropology may even be a more appropriate course of study than journalism school for aspiring foreign reporters. “It was a Catch 22 situation: In order to hear what was going on, I needed ‘local contacts’; yet I’d only get those contacts by living in a way that was incompatible with the life of a correspondent,” he writes. One suspects that his remove from those people he was reporting about is not unique to journalists, but to diplomats as well. At the same time, Luyendijk has a playful and light-hearted streak when it comes to his work. Though not all of the humor translates well from the original Dutch text, he does relate some humorous stories, such as that of doing an interview with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in the pious group’s public relations office which happens to sit one floor above a large intimate apparel retailer in South Beirut. In another moment, he relates how he would playfully mock his Palestinian interlocutors who suspected that a Jewish conspiracy could explain media coverage of the region. In the middle of their conversations, Luyendijk would look at his watch and say, “Can I just make a call? My secret boss in Israel is going to dictate tomorrow’s article to me.” Luyendijk also writes with great force and lucidity about news stories being ‘precomposed’ by governments. His examples range from the Sudanese showing melted pill bottles at a pharmaceutical factory just struck by a U.S. missile to Gazans throwing out baby clothes onto the wreckage of a building just destroyed by Israeli airstrikes. With convincing detail, he describes the media life cycle of a terrorist attack in Israel and also quotes a U.S. military official telling a gathering of foreign reporters at the outset of the Iraq War that they need not worry, that “we’re going to make sure that after the war your boss comes up to you and gives you a slap on the back and compliments you on what a fine job you’ve done.” The true indictment, however, is not of government spin agents, but instead of editors worshipping at the alter of simplification and nationalistic bias. Robert McChesney, the noted scholar of American mass media might argue that the root of the problem lies not with editors, but with the corporatization of the news business. Others, such as National Public Radio reporter and media critic Brooke Gladstone, have suggested that we get the media we deserve, and that it is a reflection of ourselves. Either way, there couldn’t be a more searing indictment than Luyendijk intoning, “If the Western mass media had done their jobs during the war, viewers would have set in front of their television sets crying and vomiting.” What perhaps makes People Like Us most prescient, however, is what it has to say about the possibility for democratic change in the Middle East. “Try imagining this report,” Luyendijk writes, “Today in Kuwait, thousands of people marched against Western support of their dictators. They demanded the dismantlement of the secret Western bank accounts in which dictators hoard their loot, and chanted slogans against the generous commissions that Western defense companies pay out to dictators and their entourages. Banners displayed protests against Western training and armament of the Arab secret services who torture and murder on a large scale.” Of course reading such a report today, following the Arab Spring, is entirely imaginable, but when the book was published in 2006, such a report would have been farfetched. Yet, this was precisely the point. Journalists covering the numerous summits and other non-events that shaped news coverage from the region were never going to be able to foresee the mass movements that have shaped Arab politics over the past year. Though it is far from clear that either the refreshing breeze of the Arab Spring or a new model of more ethnographic reporting will be enough to topple the house of cards that shapes the region’s reporting, Luyendijk has done an admirable job of pulling the curtains open behind the great and powerful wizard that is the mainstream media. While certainly there is another side to the story, one that a more connected and seasoned reporter from the region might be able to tell, this book is a good reminder to the casual media consumer that all is not what it appears in the news. Distortion often trumps reality and it’s very difficult to do good reporting amidst repressive and non-democratic regimes. © Jeffrey L. Otto October 8, 2011

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lourens Reinalda

    'Journalism is about the world, likewise there has to be journalism about journalism since it's part of that same world. The media are a controlling power, but it also holds power. The idea of a democracy is that all powers are held accountable, that's the main reason i wrote this book.' Growing up, i used to be a big reader. My mom would take me and my sister to a local bookstore for National 'Book-week' and buy us a book. More often than not, i would finish the book that same day. Sadly, over t 'Journalism is about the world, likewise there has to be journalism about journalism since it's part of that same world. The media are a controlling power, but it also holds power. The idea of a democracy is that all powers are held accountable, that's the main reason i wrote this book.' Growing up, i used to be a big reader. My mom would take me and my sister to a local bookstore for National 'Book-week' and buy us a book. More often than not, i would finish the book that same day. Sadly, over the years, reading started feeling like more and more of a chore. This however, felt like my return to form. Such an incredible book. It's quite literally overloaded with hot-takes, realizations and 'pressing-your-nose-on-the-facts'. I kept getting surprised that there was éven more stuff i had no idea about. Such an interesting part of the world, experienced, and subsequently written about, by such an interesting person.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matthias Hogrefe

    A witty, at times funny, more often sad summary of five years as a Dutch news correspondent in the Middle East. Apart from the last part about the US Invasion of Iraq in 2003, even in 2021 this book is not at all outdated. On the contrary: In the meantime, ever more polarized "information bubbles" raise questions that Luyendijk offers intriguing answers - or at least profound insights that lead to more sophisticated questions. Because people who look for answers, don't study the current Middle East A witty, at times funny, more often sad summary of five years as a Dutch news correspondent in the Middle East. Apart from the last part about the US Invasion of Iraq in 2003, even in 2021 this book is not at all outdated. On the contrary: In the meantime, ever more polarized "information bubbles" raise questions that Luyendijk offers intriguing answers - or at least profound insights that lead to more sophisticated questions. Because people who look for answers, don't study the current Middle East. Reporting from the engine room of news production, this well-written book takes you on a reading adventure. (Dutch language)

  7. 5 out of 5

    İpek

    "Before going there, I’d had certain preconceptions about the Middle East, mostly derived from the media. Once I arrived, my preconceptions were slowly replaced by reality itself, which proved to be rather less coherent and understandable than the media depicted." As a middle eastern, sometimes even I don't understand what is going on. "Before going there, I’d had certain preconceptions about the Middle East, mostly derived from the media. Once I arrived, my preconceptions were slowly replaced by reality itself, which proved to be rather less coherent and understandable than the media depicted." As a middle eastern, sometimes even I don't understand what is going on.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julius

    Thanks tinne

  9. 4 out of 5

    Grada (BoekenTrol)

    http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/8... When I bought this book I knew it was about journalism, the Middle East, one persons opinion. What surprised me very much is, that I liked the book so very much. I'll never watch the evening news again without, in the back of my mind, hearing that little voice saying: is this crowd really a crowd or just several people, filmed from a good angle? Or: is there really noone in that particular country that has a different opinion? To me this book made perfectly http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/8... When I bought this book I knew it was about journalism, the Middle East, one persons opinion. What surprised me very much is, that I liked the book so very much. I'll never watch the evening news again without, in the back of my mind, hearing that little voice saying: is this crowd really a crowd or just several people, filmed from a good angle? Or: is there really noone in that particular country that has a different opinion? To me this book made perfectly clear that what we see as 'news', is made by human beings, with their own backgrounds and filters, led by the 'madness of the day', what the big news agencies dictate, what the public at home wants to hear or see and what news they are able to get background nformation about. You shouldn't look at the Arab / Palestinian / Israeli world with western eyes. They live under different circumstances, have different cultures. There should be room for correspondents to explain differences, to show the people behind the rhetorics of the officials and the spokes persons. The other way round should journalists from that region that are covering 'the west' be allowed to get more nsight information on what is going on and why. And be enabled to give a more balanced view on the western world and thoghts. If a correspondent would start with an explanation of the situation and explain why he cannot know the things the public wants to see or hear, the public might gradually be able to look 'at the other side' too. IF the regimes (western and arabic / israeli / palestinian all the same) will allow voices to be heard and pictures to be seen that go against or differ from the main stream opinion of what they (in their positins of power in whatever form) decide is good for us. WOW book! P.S. According to the note in the back of the book this book has been translated in Arabic, German, Danish, Hungarian, Ialian and English. If you're interested, you might try to find it. It is really worth reading!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tim Morrissey

    Dictatorships like they have in the middle east do not allow journalism in any way.  The things we see on TV are in no way a reflection of what is happening since all the news correspondents stay at the same hotels in isolated parts of town and still simple receive their news via email.  Norwegian new reported 5 years in Arab world. Arab world is massively different, can not discuss broad strokes. Dictatorships=can not know the truth, know polls, know nothing, only know one person's opinion, the Dictatorships like they have in the middle east do not allow journalism in any way.  The things we see on TV are in no way a reflection of what is happening since all the news correspondents stay at the same hotels in isolated parts of town and still simple receive their news via email.  Norwegian new reported 5 years in Arab world. Arab world is massively different, can not discuss broad strokes. Dictatorships=can not know the truth, know polls, know nothing, only know one person's opinion, there are millions of others, no way to organize and get general thoughts. The ‘foreign correspondents’ in middle east live in a western bubble.  All info from computers could do exact same job back at home. There are 100s of millions of peaceful Arabs and muslims in the world. Journalism is not the answer, what is? This guy walked away from it all.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dewi

    Luyendijk's writings hits you in the head and the stomach. The things he describes are horrible, but the optimistic idealism shining through leaves the reader with a positive view for the future. Not so much for the horrors of dictatorships, but certainly for the way they are portrayed in the media. Compared to a lecture by him I attended last year, I can also say he writes as he speaks: open, honest and with a bit of satiric humor. Luyendijk's writings hits you in the head and the stomach. The things he describes are horrible, but the optimistic idealism shining through leaves the reader with a positive view for the future. Not so much for the horrors of dictatorships, but certainly for the way they are portrayed in the media. Compared to a lecture by him I attended last year, I can also say he writes as he speaks: open, honest and with a bit of satiric humor.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jantine

    I am fan of Joris Luyendijk. He described with incredible credibility how Middle East is portrayed by Western media and how images of the Middle East are constructed. After I read this book I watched and read the news differently, since he demonstrated how 'news' is far from objective and how news is created and written by journalists who all have an agenda. I am fan of Joris Luyendijk. He described with incredible credibility how Middle East is portrayed by Western media and how images of the Middle East are constructed. After I read this book I watched and read the news differently, since he demonstrated how 'news' is far from objective and how news is created and written by journalists who all have an agenda.

  13. 4 out of 5

    James

    This was mentioned in passing in another recent book, but it had the winning combination of being both interesting and informative. Parts of it were like an Adam Curtis film, challenging the Western view of other countries, while others were a peek into the world the other side of the camera and described how news reports are constructed. Luyendijk worked in the Middle East as a correspondent for Dutch print and TV media from 1998-2003, and this book covers his work and the way he approached it. This was mentioned in passing in another recent book, but it had the winning combination of being both interesting and informative. Parts of it were like an Adam Curtis film, challenging the Western view of other countries, while others were a peek into the world the other side of the camera and described how news reports are constructed. Luyendijk worked in the Middle East as a correspondent for Dutch print and TV media from 1998-2003, and this book covers his work and the way he approached it. Initially, he seemed quite dismissive of reporters who stayed in nice hotels and took their lead from AP and Reuters, and wanted to integrate more, learning Arabic in order to talk to locals rather than merely dedicated press spokesmen. A significant topic in the book is that finding out what the locals think is not easy even with that approach, and the effect that has on the news - much of which is directed by the lead taken by the biggest news organisations. One of Luyendijk's main points is that it is a mistake to focus on major events and avoid the everyday experience of living in a dictatorship, and all it entails. Most notably, the dictator controls the media, meaning people are ignorant and bigoted as they are only fed one narrative. Not only is the biggest media controlled, but people are wary of informants if they speak out of line meaning they cannot be candid off the record, let alone on the record, and editors are much happier to use testimony when it is not anonymous. The author also suggested dictators' wishes for loyal lieutenants meant that competent comms people were not employed in case they were too good in the media and offered a threat, but this enabled inaccurate portrayals of baddies to go unchallenged. The PR efforts of the US military and Israel were also revealing, but Luyendijk was highlighting rather than criticising the practice. Broadly, his point seemed to be that their militaries can get away with more questionable actions, while dictators' armies are terrible at defending their actions or criticising their opponents'. This is balanced by the repressive regimes that stifle opponents and criticism, and foster cultures of bribery and corruption that result in a society of far worse daily experience, and with no independent arbiter of justice if you are a genuine victum. If there was one personal conclusion, it was of personal fortune to live in the West with a civic structure. The other thing he did well was finding the balance between broader concepts and anecdotes and case studies, as this was significantly more than tales from a journalist, but more personal than a dry analysis of news procedure and media bias. Unusually, there didn't seem to be many clumsy translations either, and this was a very easy read for quite a serious subject. In case you thought the author was stupid, he presciently predicts a populist US president (the afterword was written in 2010) if the news landscape didn't change, although he did acknowledge that social media had altered things considerably, preventing the media from covering up everything in dictatorships. As long as you have a passing interest in world affairs, this is highly recommended.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Suz

    FIT TO PRINT: MISREPRESENTING THE MIDDLE EAST JORIS LUYENDIJK / SCRIBE AN INSIGHTFUL, honest and informative examination of the process behind television and newspaper foreign news journalism and, more importantly, the truth about what's left out; what you don't see. If you believe that you're getting accurate information about world events by watching television news, you are dead wrong. Luyendijk is a Dutch reporter who, with refreshing directness and honesty, reveals the drudgery, information li FIT TO PRINT: MISREPRESENTING THE MIDDLE EAST JORIS LUYENDIJK / SCRIBE AN INSIGHTFUL, honest and informative examination of the process behind television and newspaper foreign news journalism and, more importantly, the truth about what's left out; what you don't see. If you believe that you're getting accurate information about world events by watching television news, you are dead wrong. Luyendijk is a Dutch reporter who, with refreshing directness and honesty, reveals the drudgery, information limitations and deadlines involved in television and newspaper reporting, where reports are often based on government-supplied media releases (complete with government suggested interview leads), the assumptions and biases of individual reporters, and stories selected on audience appeal rather than news relevance due to television networks' insatiable hunger for ratings. Luyendijk examines many failings of the news media--specifically, news media coverage of the Middle East, his specialty. What ends up on film is rarely the most important--or accurate--story. With his stomach-full of government and military spin doctors, disinterested editors, war-room buffet tables and tired colour pieces, the author chooses to recapture his passion for reporting by getting involved with the country and people. His experiences in living in Palestine-settled East Jerusalem to see first-hand what life is like in the occupied territories, rather than writing about it from the distant safety of the patrolled city areas, are both surprising and shocking. Far from being a depressing or politics-heavy read, Fit To Print is infused with humour, and the author skillfully applies his writing skills to entertain and inform the reader in equal measure, while also putting to rest fallacies such as: religious fundamentalism is a threat to Western civilisation; that the nation of Israel is a long-suffering and repressed state under siege by its aggressive (and war-hungry) Arab neighbours; and that non democratic governments are both less evolved and more repressive than western society. Fit To Print is essential reading.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Casimir Zoutendijk

    Luyendijk uses his experience of being a foreign correspondent in the middle-east to write on the influence of the media in the Netherlands, but I guess the same lessons can be applied to other western countries. It is a book that helps tv-watchers and newsreaders to figure out to what extent they are bamboozled by their medium of choice (L. Does not say this, I interpret it this way.) For instance, we do not know what it is like to live in a dictatorship and only have distant memories (via grand Luyendijk uses his experience of being a foreign correspondent in the middle-east to write on the influence of the media in the Netherlands, but I guess the same lessons can be applied to other western countries. It is a book that helps tv-watchers and newsreaders to figure out to what extent they are bamboozled by their medium of choice (L. Does not say this, I interpret it this way.) For instance, we do not know what it is like to live in a dictatorship and only have distant memories (via grandparents) of what it is like to live in occupied territory. We might have read the definitions in social studies class or history class, but, fortunately, we have never really experienced this. This makes it very hard to understand reporting on events in countries where this is the case. Or, on a more basic level, what the taboos of other cultures are. Also, there is news that is not 'fit to print', this results in items that do not tell the viewer/reader anything. But also in more 'boring', vague or unaccredited though more relevant stories to not be published. Something else was fit to print, but not newsworthy at all. To me this explained why I started to really dislike most tv-news from the Netherlands; usually there is nothing new or important about it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jorn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In his work about filters, distortion and outright manipulation, Luyendijk not only addresses the many problems of reporting on the Middle East, but the problems with media more generally. Arab dictatorships, the media warfare over Israel-Palestine and finally the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq all come with different, but often very similar problems. Throughout these stories, Luyendijck highlights how journalism is affected by, -and- actually affects, these conflicts. A fascinating account which, in In his work about filters, distortion and outright manipulation, Luyendijk not only addresses the many problems of reporting on the Middle East, but the problems with media more generally. Arab dictatorships, the media warfare over Israel-Palestine and finally the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq all come with different, but often very similar problems. Throughout these stories, Luyendijck highlights how journalism is affected by, -and- actually affects, these conflicts. A fascinating account which, in today’s era of “fake news”, offers some much needed perspective. Finally, the book closes by pointing towards what is perhaps the most important spoiler for better journalism: the reader/viewer/listener, who wants news fast, simple and in a way that doesn’t require them to change their prejudices. A short book that reads very quickly. The author has a knack for writing (in Dutch at least), and manages to balance serious analyses with human stories and sometimes even funny anecdotes. A must-read for anyone interested in the Middle East or journalism.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Josine

    Loved it. My dad sent me a copy of this back when I was at uni and had just discovered how different the news was on Al Jazeera vs the BBC vs Russia Today. I only just got around to reading it, and even though mostly takes place pre-9/11 and was released for English-language audiences just before the Arab Spring, it is a fascinating and timeless insight into the practical implications of dictatorship and the charade of the news media. In the releases for other markets, the title focuses on our c Loved it. My dad sent me a copy of this back when I was at uni and had just discovered how different the news was on Al Jazeera vs the BBC vs Russia Today. I only just got around to reading it, and even though mostly takes place pre-9/11 and was released for English-language audiences just before the Arab Spring, it is a fascinating and timeless insight into the practical implications of dictatorship and the charade of the news media. In the releases for other markets, the title focuses on our commonality with the subjects of our news media who have been so otherised ("People Like Us" in America, Italy, Denmark; "They are just people" in the Netherlands) and this comes through beautifully in all the jokes Luyendijk shares from the various countries and cultures he has experienced. What better way to humanise and understand a people than to understand their sense of humour?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    I've always been sceptic about media representations and biases. This book was part of a set of books because otherwise I wouldn't have picked it up, but I quite liked it to my surprise. The author explains his journey as a correspondent through the Middle East and tells his readers about the biases, censorships, struggles, ... he finds when writing his article. He also talks about set-up scenes and the different vocabulary that different news programs use to depict a country/group. I would defi I've always been sceptic about media representations and biases. This book was part of a set of books because otherwise I wouldn't have picked it up, but I quite liked it to my surprise. The author explains his journey as a correspondent through the Middle East and tells his readers about the biases, censorships, struggles, ... he finds when writing his article. He also talks about set-up scenes and the different vocabulary that different news programs use to depict a country/group. I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in the media (extended in the conflict in the Middle East but you can apply the newsmaking proces to other items as well) and who wants a fresh perspective from someone on in the inside.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bart Boneschansker

    A somewhat horrifying view on the state of journalism with regards to the Middle East, as well as an insight on the various countries where Joris Luyendijk has been and lived during his years as the Middle East correspondent for various Dutch news outlets. It's a refreshing personal insight in the inner workings, for as far as can be ascertained by a wealthy rich white male, of various countries in the Middle East and their inherent differences with the western democracies. Additionally, it prov A somewhat horrifying view on the state of journalism with regards to the Middle East, as well as an insight on the various countries where Joris Luyendijk has been and lived during his years as the Middle East correspondent for various Dutch news outlets. It's a refreshing personal insight in the inner workings, for as far as can be ascertained by a wealthy rich white male, of various countries in the Middle East and their inherent differences with the western democracies. Additionally, it provides a mirror on the way news is presented and how the coverage of news influences public debate and opinion. An inspiring read, if perhaps not the most uplifting

  20. 5 out of 5

    Abhimanyu Rana

    This book shows how hard it is to report something unbiased and accurate on middle east or how manipulations are done by media to show perception of wars because many states are dictatorships. Its not just your usual media machine manipulates your views by showing an image, it also shows how hard it is to do proper journalism in a dictatorships like many in the middle east. It also shows the flaws of the journalism and how news is shown by the mainstream media who are guided by marketing firms a This book shows how hard it is to report something unbiased and accurate on middle east or how manipulations are done by media to show perception of wars because many states are dictatorships. Its not just your usual media machine manipulates your views by showing an image, it also shows how hard it is to do proper journalism in a dictatorships like many in the middle east. It also shows the flaws of the journalism and how news is shown by the mainstream media who are guided by marketing firms and how marketing firms guide news outlets to present news in a way that stokes more views and popularity.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Petya

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I read the English translation of the book and was very impressed. Joris tells you the things you suspect, but don't want to hear/read about in a way that makes them interesting and understandable. Suddenly it all starts making sense. The afterword is a manifesto/ profecy for our current situation. I'd recommend this book for everyone interested in how media, civil society and different political regimes operate. Joris, thank you for the courage and thoughtfulness that must have taken to write " I read the English translation of the book and was very impressed. Joris tells you the things you suspect, but don't want to hear/read about in a way that makes them interesting and understandable. Suddenly it all starts making sense. The afterword is a manifesto/ profecy for our current situation. I'd recommend this book for everyone interested in how media, civil society and different political regimes operate. Joris, thank you for the courage and thoughtfulness that must have taken to write "Hello everybody!"

  22. 4 out of 5

    John

    Very well written account of the difficulties of reporting the news and covering governments in the Middle East. Luyendijk describes how trying to uncover truth within a dictatorship is nearly impossible as many do not feel safe enough to always speak bluntly or speak at all about their government, particularly its leader. Written from the pages of a personal journal, this is very readable and timely even today although it was written between 1998 and 2003. There were just a few grammatical error Very well written account of the difficulties of reporting the news and covering governments in the Middle East. Luyendijk describes how trying to uncover truth within a dictatorship is nearly impossible as many do not feel safe enough to always speak bluntly or speak at all about their government, particularly its leader. Written from the pages of a personal journal, this is very readable and timely even today although it was written between 1998 and 2003. There were just a few grammatical errors in the English translation but overall, it was very good.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wim van Ekeren

    For long, I did not really know much about the countries in the Middle-East, my perspective was all pretty much set by the media. This book was the first step of my changing perspective to both the Middle-East and journalism. It is very well written, tailored to the open-minded but ignorant European reader.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    Required book for stading the modern day world and the place 'the news' takes in it. Easily written. Incredible! Required book for stading the modern day world and the place 'the news' takes in it. Easily written. Incredible!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Frank Van De Pieterman

    Good read and a realistic approach into the life of a journalist, but could have gone deeper into political context.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Natascha Van Bommel

    Everyone should read this book! To both understand journalism and the impact of media better, but also to get a better understanding of the Middle-East.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Daniel LeTexier

    Readable book illuminating the complexity of journalism and news media. I found it really interesting, especially after living in the Middle East for 15 years.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Roy Becker

    Revealing. Shows the truth about media and journalists.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marieke

    An insightful overview of how journalistic media works, and how it might work differently.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jalke Visser

    Really a must-read book! It is very interesting, even for the people that are not normally interested in politics.

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