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Friday, September 11, 2009

Fit to Print

A young journalist’s foray down the rabbit hole of media-led reporting — a tale of disillusionment and self-examination set in the world’s most headline-grabbing regions.

In Fit to Print, a bestseller in Holland, Joris Luyendijk tells the story of his five years as a correspondent in the Middle East. Extremely young for a correspondent but fluent in Arabic, he speaks with stone throwers and terrorists, taxi drivers and professors, victims and aggressors, and community leaders and families. Chronicling first-hand experiences of dictatorship, occupation, terror, and war, his stories cast light on a number of major crises, from the Iraq War to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

But the more Luyendijk witnesses, the less he understands, and he becomes increasingly aware of the yawning gap between what he sees on the ground and what is later reported in the media. As a correspondent, he is privy to a multitude of narratives with conflicting implications, and he sees over and over again that the media favours the stories that will be sure to confirm the popularly held, oversimplified beliefs of westerners.

In Fit to Print, Luyendijk deploys powerful examples, leavened with humour, to demonstrate the ways in which the media gives us a filtered and manipulated image of reality in the Middle East. This is a must-read book!

AUDIO: Listen here