tv The Listening Post 2018 Ep 24 Al Jazeera June 20, 2018 8:33am-9:00am +03
he's become an environmental activist uninspired artist and a voice for the plot to countless markets. might use in such a al-jazeera. history. first whether you. really understood me or here are. two hundred leaders. john donald trump and the trend. hello i'm richard gere's burton you're at the listening post here are some of the media stories we're covering this week donald trump diplomacy and the triumph of spectacle over substance india whatsapp and mob rule the consequences turned deadly once again fixers and the news business they are names you will seldom hear but they are central to the coverage of all kinds of stories and the white house produces a propaganda video worthy of pyongyang and rolls it out for kim jong. il.
in the television and internet age there's always an element of stagecraft to diplomacy and summit meetings the photo ops the soundbites the resulting communiques however two indelible images from two different summits could not have told more contrast ng stories u.s. president donald trump defying vana walking out on his allies at the g. seven summit in canada then getting down to business with north korean dictator kim jong un who trump described as talented journalists found themselves covering a president who once again seemed to put more thought into the spectacle and the twitter feed he has at his disposal than actual political substance still even his critics have to hand it to him at least for the moment donald trump emerged with what he likes to call a deal that will denuclearize north korea the devil will be in the details the kind that cannot be conveyed in two hundred eighty characters or fewer and at this stage
as they often are with this president the details are a bit sketchy our starting point this week is the site of the trump him summit singapore. imagine someone making a prediction just a few years ago that an american president would meet one day face to face with the leader of north korea. and that during that event one of the two sides would roll out a video that reeks of propaganda heavy handed and crumbs a new world can be given to. a video that speaks of a chance at a new day a choice between the darkness and the like had you been told that that video would be produced not by pyongyang and be part of. you but by washington for p.r. yeah would you have believed that. and too many people found the video to be
bizarre including members of the media both of these leaders are propaganda artists within their own right. president you'll recall rode down an escalator. and launched his candidacy for president in front of dozens of paid actors and they very much set the tone for how he sees the production of his presidency and kim jong un is not dissimilar certainly because he operates in a place where he controls the media and everything is controlled ultimately by the state featuring president donald trump who is a movie trailer as all the press is calling it and it was in the context so over the top it was compared by some journalist to a promotional for real estate in terms of donald trump's business career can
history be changed the press apparently first thought it was a north korean propaganda film and yet it turned out it was produced in the united states by the trump. of the back to back summits the g. seven meeting in canada and the subsequent bilateral in singapore the images that will endure are the still photograph. there was the symbolism contained in the trump kim hampshire and the potentially seismic shift but such an image convey. that came on the heels of a shot that appeared on the instagram account of the german chancellor angela merkel when the berlin would not have sent out like it captures the unraveling of the g. seven trade talks and the body language seems to say it all. even if you're not in trump land images matter a lot in international politics but what we see with the merc whole picture is that it shows her appearing to stare down donald trump who is in his characteristic you
know all arms crossed looking slightly petulant way and immediately critics of president trump say this is president trump isolated and so it feeds into that preexisting narrative for his supporters right it look well this is how america should be with every other leader gathered around it so going to side american strength status and position and their dominance hierarchy the g seven don't forget to do we're four different points of view that we know the famous photo was the german for there was also a french official a japanese official photo and in the four different points of view of the sea so that epitomizes the trade a sense and then shake it is a handshake but it's an eagerness a handshake is better seen through the video than the photograph because it was far more than a perfunctory or even normal manner and the symbolic meaning of
a thirteen second handshake in this visual form is the establishment of a physical and therefore a personal bond between the two meet. so the first image is one of alienation opposition and even international condemnation of trub the second is trouble claiming that he has in a sense made peace in the very first gesture of the second. the meeting of the u.s. president and the north korean leader was historic unprecedented there's no denying that but donald trump's declaration that the threat of a nuclear north korea had been eradicated is based on a brief vaguely worded joint statement it commits the two sides to further talks but there is no timeline offered and not a word on verification which matters because this isn't the first time north korean leaders have agreed to stop their nuclear program they first did that more than
twenty five years ago but each of those initiatives has fallen apart over the procedural details with verification often proving to be the sticking point the deal breaker donald trump the former reality t.v. star doesn't really do detail he does it and while the absence of details in the agreement has been reported upon the wider it tends to get overshadowed by the imagery generator at the summit in singapore the media spectacle the trump is happy to provide. its. reality t.v. it's like this society of the spectacle and he is very good at it which up we don't know what's going to happen next and that's what makes it a so opera and you as a journalist you should try to intersect you know cross reference the absolute craziness of the ongoing show is there any substance you know all this you
want world politics to be boring if you want the policy to be boring that means it's working well. but human beings are drawn to standard store we grow up watching them. television whether it's game of thrones or breaking bad or empire where there are personalities their immediate relationships are driving everything that happens and trump clearly you know that's what he thrives on but also what the media thrives on because it's easy to tell those stories but this is not the first administration to gauge in negotiations with north korea president chavez predecessors have tried to at least open up a dialogue some of them have walked away with similarly big issue and says of denuclearization so the question for the media as he put some of the spectacle behind what will ultimately set this deal apart from anything that president terms predecessors had sought to achieve what is that verification process even going to look like. they are the kinds of questions the trumpet ministration does not want
to answer at this stage or camera so where does that leave the news media the reporters and pundits trying to make sense of it all in the realm of speculation presented as a mouse i think you. want and that's the problem because analyzing a coherent policy is complicated enough analyzing a spectacle in the absence of a policy is a waste of time and runs the risk of normalizing the norms every instance of everybody who goes on these kinds of programs who are really is what they have to make sense of the president well i think the most reasonable assessment you can do to score points by being able to give an insightful strategic rationale for the sinking wouldn't happen it was in the truck didn't happen in the bush and i don't think any of that makes sense for trying these impulses are autocratic his decision making is he got he cares more about short term spectacle then he seems to care
about long term strategic planning trying to explain trump's behavior as if he were a normal president who did normal things which is what i've termed an academic ways analytic normalization. from years of normalizing he has his own rules invited now if you're doing t.v. in your for a journalist covering politics you should know that it's not a question of normalize interest try to understand that he said attention span is five seconds he's impulsive everything is warry everything can change in america meet in we have to do how to decode that and put him in a realistic perspective because we're dealing with a surreal on going experience but you have to make it real for our readers and you know. we're discussing other media stories that are on our radar this week with one of our producers flo
phillips flo vietnam has just passed a new cyber security law how will that affect what is already a difficult climate for free speech their internet censorship isn't new to vietnam and should of the past year that be multiple arrests with bloggers jailed over discussions of politics and viral mental issues among other things but this new cyber security law is yet another tool the government can potentially use to limit dissent the law forbids anyone online from organizing anything with an anti state purpose spreading false information or undermining the nation's achievements according to amnesty international the sweeping powers it grants the government to monitor online activity means there is now no safe place left in vietnam for people to speak freely in the critics of this law are just talking about freedom of expression are there also talk about the economic implications why because another requirement of this law is its effect on global tech firms and we're talking here about the major players google facebook twitter all of whom will now be required to
store the personal data of their bit me as uses locally so much like them having to open up servers in hong kong to store the data of the chinese uses tech companies. now have to do the same vietnam for the estimated fifty five million bit emmy's who are on social media and that according to the asia internet coalition will stifle the growth of vietnam's digital economy the new cyber law takes effect on january first next year and in india there have been more cases of fear mongering over the messaging service what's leading to people actually getting killed what's the latest case as we've reported before richard india is what saps biggest market more than two hundred million users the spreading of false messages and fake news is common and it spreads very very quickly making it difficult if not impossible for the or thirty's to debunk recently there's been a rash of child kidnapping stories and when two men asked for directions in
a small village in the state of assam they were attacked beaten to death by a mob who reportedly believed they were indeed the kidnappers they've been warned about on whatsapp they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and these words are proof is what specifically do they consist of what's actually being shared here people are citing messages that have been circulating about men disguising themselves as women to abduction i remember one of the men killed did have long hair and then there have been various videos like this one that shows a child being kidnapped in it two men on a motorcycle pull up to a group of children one of them grabs a child and then they write off but the video isn't even real it may not even if the originated from india now at least eighteen people have been arrested in connection with the two killings and local mobile internet services were suspended for a day to try and stem what's at messaging for a while ok thanks will. we're going to take a look now at the story behind the bylaws when a news article is published from
a foreign country the byline tells us who wrote the television equivalent of that is the on air sign however few news organizations credit the fix the local hires secures that critical interview gets access to that all important location who helps navigate a story right with regional complexities fixers know the local news to rain and open doors few foreign correspondents ever count on their own they're also part security specialist part editorial consultant they fact check stories and they do all of that sometimes putting themselves at risk but seldom get the recognition they deserve but this new post will young now on fixers so often the on song uncredited story behind the story. picks often than not it's someone from the country who guides you who leads you to this story which turns out to be
a hoax or an exclusive. one suspect. the person is going to. gain access to interviews gain access to space the pixel are going to have to leave down that way to. his position because he or she is from this country and they know whether or not the situation is it is their language and their culture their contacts without the experience you're not going to actually be able to how the story. watching journalists reporting from the feeling you're probably accustomed to seems like the. locals. will finally we have to. like what you see all the people behind the scenes the cameraman producers drive us but especially the fixin's. for twenty five years. bill has been a fixture in the philippines helping journalists navigate everything from filipino
culture to natural disasters and political events the most important the. no it's not an option so that means he'll have to exhaust. all possibilities to make something happen in the fixer should also be like. how much people will let you in their lives. how much these people are willing to share with you how much these people are willing to help you fix it i consider him as the eye of foreigners inside. as we say in arabic the stranger is even he has. is a trained nurse and paramedic he's also been helping journalists cover stories in gaza for nearly two decades each culture has had bits. and
different attitude and different behavior it's not a matter of a language only even a big journalist will come to the area and he's not aware of what's going on he need to fix. the word fixer can sometimes carry negative connotations and it lacks the prestige of a job title like reporter or correspondent so when a fixer dies on the job they sometimes receive a posthumous promotion like iraq you fix back to your hi dad who died in an explosion covering attempts by iraqi forces to recapture the city of mosul from islamic state death became a journalist. on the rare occasions when fixers do gain a public profile it's usually when they're arrested kidnapped or killed according to a report published by the international federation of journalists twenty four syrian yemeni and iraqi so called media professionals were killed during two thousand and
seventeen alone and in two thousand and fifteen in turkey vice reporters j camera head and philip pendlebury were jailed by turkish authorities covering unrest in the predominantly kurdish city of. pendlebury and hanrahan were released in a matter of days but their fixer mohamed rasool spent more than four and a half months in a high security prison on trumped up charges of allegedly assisting the outlawed p.k. k. mosul dam as the front line that this murder took it back from their islamic state . when it comes to reporting complex conflict ridden news stories it's not just the fixers who find themselves in the front lines whenever any journalist camera man local producer or other media worker loses their life in a hostile environment it serves to highlight just how much fixers are relied upon not only to open doors but also to be aware of what dangers might lurk behind them the fares they're mentioned. the security of the team who is coming from
abroad it's to be one of his priority. this is very sensitive and very important not only for the picks up but also for the crew that he's working with especially if there is a conflict because. with conflict your mistakes will be the first. and only the life of the fixer will be under risk but also the life of the other usually you are foreigners so sometimes it's even the first time you actually visit the country they're going to have to tell you what hostile situations you can face where where are the danger and. for example they understand the language so if there's a crowd in the crowd become aggressive. war or the tension in the air the picture will know when at this time to pull out their responsibilities have been varied but as budgets for international reporting a squeeze throughout the industry local journalists and fixes are increasingly
picking up the slack and while recognition of their work is growing so too is the debate around crediting them. as a research manager of the global reporting center. the focus is on the collected news stories around the world in two thousand and sixteen she coauthored a study which aimed to bring clarity to the grey area between the role of the conduct of the reporter i actually find that quite problematic and it's something that our research also showed because many of the fixers are actually local journalists they prefer to be called local journalists as well but then when foreign correspondent comes to a particular country then this local journalist assumes the role of the fixer the fixer recognizes the different roles and components into putting a story together the journalist is often blind to this terminology i think it is an adequate word why because their job is to fix a fix not really have a lot. of input when it comes to editorial issues unlike
a producer the fixer will not come and say to you this is the way you're going to structure this story this is the way we have to interview this person and that person in order to balance the story we have to make sure that you know these two sides are represented the or they're given a voice in a certain report that is the job of a producer there is a very big difference between a fixer and the producer a shared by line for the work that we do as. important allies and much appreciate but there are times when you operate on very delicate subject matter so. it is also good to have your name left out since if it's the fixer who made the initial. the fixer left behind long after the foreign journalist has their own country. on the whole has really received the recognition they deserve for ruling on don't to bring to the story
seems to be one of the few things think themselves cannot change. i'm really happy that this conversation is actually starting to take place i think that it's a conversation that has been taking place between fixers is a conversation that has been taking place with journalists as well but it's not a conversation that's been taking place between journalists and fixers nor between those who are producing the news and those who are consuming the news this is a situation where somehow we think that this news is just magically appearing and if we can have a better understanding of how news is created we're going to have a better understanding of what news is many people just know the international correspondent the news the byzantines you know but for. those who are working in the media then you know that behind this is. people who are debating making this easy for him god that. you are to make
a good story and to make a good reputation for the job. and finally we touched on that video that the white house played at the summit in singapore but really didn't do it justice it was four minutes long and not remotely subtle it talked of two leaders one destiny and the light of prosperity pictures of trump and kim were intercut with footage of galloping white horses waterfalls and bullet trains it was one part propaganda one part movie trailer or the type of video a real estate developer shows his prospective clients but this could have been a case of trump knowing his audience remember the north korean leader's father kim jong il was a movie buff hated america but was a fan of hollywood maybe it runs in the family trump says kim jong un watched it on an i pad and loved it was the next time at the listening post.
seven billion people that have a planet earth. of those alive today is small number of a lasting impact. and only the very few will make decisions or take actions that renew those their homeland and change the course of history and there comes a time when only a few are called upon to make a difference but the question is what difference will a few make just in the pictures presents a story of opportunity to score a new beginning one of these two men. leaders one just. a story of a special moment in time when a man is presented with one chance that may never be. one of the issues to show fish in leadership. or not clutter.
you. a land bridge from its indigenous people. plundered for its resources. now long held resentment it's a turning violent with deadly consequences and you cannot use that as an excuse to go over human rights people empowered travels to south america to discover the findings of the misconceived and al-jazeera.
and i'm down in jordan doha with a quick reminder of the top stories here on al-jazeera a cesspool of political bias is how the u.s. described the u.n. human rights council and that's why it's pulling out of the u.n. body president donald trump have been threatening to quit the council if it wasn't reformed. and george reports. special a year ago the u.s. ambassador to the united nations criticize the u.n. human rights council for what she called its hypocritical behavior and nikki haley said the u.s. would quit the council if it didn't change its ways it's hard to accept that this council has never considered.