From TomdispatchTomdispatch: Do you sleep? This is a question your readers wonder about. Take October fourth. You put up four posts, time-stamped between six and six-thirty AM. By the time I'm up at seven you're always there.
Juan Cole: I'm a night owl. The way it works is this: The Arabic and Persian newspapers in the Middle East go up around ten or eleven PM our time, but they're the next day's newspapers. So basically it's like time travel. I get to see tomorrow's newspapers tonight.
TD: About the President's most recent global terror speech you wrote, "Mr. Bush, I don't recognize the world you paint." Could you start by laying out for us what's missing from our picture of Iraq -- not just Bush's picture, but the mainstream media's?
Cole: It's not just from Iraq. It's our picture of the world. The United States is a peculiarly insular society. Most people here haven't traveled very much and our mass media, all television news of any significance, is controlled by about five corporations. We have a tradition in the State Department and our press corps of preferring generalists and being suspicious of deep expertise as a form of bias. So a journalist covering Iraq, who knows the Middle East well and knows Arabic, might well be seen as someone too entangled with the region to be objective. The American way of ensuring objectivity is to parachute generalists into a situation and have them depend on local informants. The whole theory of it is wrong. The BBC, for example, wouldn't dream of having most of its Middle Eastern coverage done by people who don't know Arabic.