The media’s coverage of the Egypt crisis has been one-sided

The media has done it again. They’ve presented the wrong message to the American people about the Egyptian crisis, and it’s not just because of the liberal bias of the U.S. media. It’s also because liberal and conservative media outlets have the same agenda: to sensationalize stories in order to raise ratings. They’re interested in creating the story that sells best. Facts come second.

The media has chosen to sell the storyline told by the rioters and anarchists in the streets. They have chosen to interview only one side, those participating in the protests. But is that representative of the true storyline? Is there another side to the story? Of course there is.

I just got off the phone with a longtime friend — a successful Egyptian business leader. He believes that several hundred thousand people in the streets do not represent the 80 million citizens of Egypt. They represent anarchists, communists, and Islamic extremists — all with an agenda and an axe to grind. He says if you polled the people of Egypt today, the majority would support Mubarak. He says that the backbone of Egypt — the business owners, small business community, and middle class — still supports Mubarak and the military. They are horrified by the mobs in the street and are shocked at Obama’s tepid response to the riots and the one-sided portrayal of the situation by the U.S. media.

My friend asked a simple but powerful question: “If several hundred thousand people rioted on the streets of New York and demanded Obama be removed, would that represent all of America’s three hundred million citizens? Would the media report this meant the end of the Obama regime?”

Good question. If the Million Man March or the Rally to Restore Honor had turned into a riot, would the media have painted a sympathetic portrait of the rioters? Would we cave to the demands of a relatively small number of rioters? I think not.

Has the media bothered to interview anyone on the other side of this Egyptian crisis? Has anyone gone out of their way to interview the shop owners or home owners not rioting in the streets and ask them if they would rather be represented by Mubarak and the military or allow anarchy and mob rule to determine their leaders?

My friend explained that if the Muslim Brotherhood takes over, he, his family, and virtually the entire business community will be forced to leave the country they love. If Egypt becomes a Muslim extremist country, Egypt’s #1 industry, tourism, will be extinguished. Egypt’s economy will be destroyed and those who think they are bad off now will experience true poverty and starvation.

My good friend’s prediction is that in the end the military will end mob rule and remain in control, choosing to protect tourism and the business community. If Mubarak actually leaves, he will hand-pick his successor from the ranks of the Egyptian military and institute some moderate reforms.

The lessons we can all learn from this crisis:

1) Media coverage is often based on sensationalism, not facts. Are you certain who the good guys are here? I know I’m not.

2) It is not the U.S. government’s duty or right to determine other nation’s leaders. Besides, we have an awful track record — see Vietnam, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. At most we should have influence behind the scenes and always in the direction of moderation, reform and democracy.

3) We should dramatically cut or end foreign aid. The $2 billion per year we borrow from China to give to Egypt is a terrible waste of taxpayer money. And if we’ve bet wrong on Mubarak, and our sophisticated military equipment falls into the hands of Muslim extremists, we’ve made a tragic error.