Was there an Arab Spring?

I recently attempted to crowdsource an answer to the question, was there a unitary Arab Spring? I asked because a friend who has worked in Iraq and today teaches military personnel commented on a draft, questioning the entire idea of an Arab Spring that had guided my selection of cases to look at.

Posing the question, “Was there an Arab Spring,” in a Google search returns results that rarely question the idea. One that did, written by a former CBS Sunday Morning┬áproducer, reminds me that journalism is not scholarship, tidy packages are easier to communicate via television news and that events need a tag line to remain sticky in public’s imagination. The best line:

“Part of the problem, I think, is that we tend to send reporters to cover these kinds of “breaking news” stories who (for the most part, and there are certainly exceptions), don’t know the language, don’t really know the history, don’t really understand the region or the politics or the players. they depend on local fixers, and the local fixers work for the networks and get paid because they deliver to the reporters what the reporters want to hear to begin with.

This is not journalism. This is television. And television is mostly about entertainment.”


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