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People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East Paperback – 15 Oct 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard, Div of Avalon Publishing Group Inc; Original edition (15 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593762569
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593762568
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 508,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. Murray on 6 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was supposed to be published in the UK by a company called Reportage Press. Although reviewed in the Financial Times, a British newspaper, the UK publication seems to have been cancelled, and anyone wanting to read the book has to buy the US, Australian or Canadian edition. I would be interested to know why publication did not go ahead.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Blokland on 22 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book by a Dutch correspondent lifts the veil on how the foreign media in the Middle East are manipulated and self-censored. The author paints a striking picture of how the Israelis and the Palestinians orchestrate the news, among other things.
The book itself is written in straight-forward language, compact and to the point. The author does not shy away from revealing his doubts and limitations, which gives the book an honest flavour. The reader will certainly view the international news differently after reading this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
People Like Us 8 May 2010
By Lobewiper - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the most important books about foreign policy, the middle east, and the limits of journalism (especially, as presented in the mass media) that I have ever read. This is not a chatty account of "How I learned to love Egyptian food when I lived in the Middle East." Instead, it is a highly readable but very powerful critique of modern journalism and how difficult it is for middle eastern correspondents to provide the context (background information) necessary for readers of the news to interpret it meaningfully. How the mainstream media manipulate the news (and hence, the reader) is discussed in detail. One of several examples given presents the reasons behind the superiority of Israeli over Palestianian attempts to influence Western public opinion. Also mentioned is the difficulty in obtaining reliable information about countries under dictatorship (no one talks on the record due to fear of official retribution; the absence of reliable statistical data, etc.). The discussion of the profound difference between the absence of free speech/journalism in middle eastern dictatorships (which the USA supports) and democracies is also compelling. Finally, the author points out how journalists routinely fail to mention the diversity of views in middle eastern countries. This is a book that I am certain that the major news networks wish had never been published. Mr. Luyendijk shows what persistent journalistic dedication to telling the truth and discussing alternative views of the same issue can create: enlightenment and understanding.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
inside journalism 10 Jan. 2010
By wannabe - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of this excellent book is perhaps a little misleading; I think it is as much about the media and the constraints of "on the spot" reporting as about the Middle East. As the author gives us a glimpse into the reality of the basis for the articles we read in the newspaper, including his own reports, I wonder if he is writing for expiation as well as an expose'.
It is well written as a first person narrative of his own experiences in the Middle East. If you are interested in the Middle East and how impossible it is to "know" and thus report what is really happening then this I would definitely recommend this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Must-Read 22 Feb. 2011
By IndyPete - Published on
Format: Paperback
The afterward to this book was written 3 years after the book was first published in Holland. In it, the author appears to be struggling to summarize what he wrote, just as I was struggling to make sense of it all after I finished reading it. But I knew what I read was important.

Even without any "lessons" or "policy suggestions," this book is worth reading simply for the ground-level insights into life in the middle east. From the mundane (where journalists live in Cairo and the jokes the locals would tell) to the detailing of dehumanizing daily events that are suffered by the repressed "common" people in the various countries where the author lived and worked. That background alone is worth the price of admission in helping to understand what is going on in the middle east today.

It is also worth reading to understand the daily dillemmas faced by reporters who care about what they write. When a government that is in a position to grant or deny a reporter's visa to cover a story restricts the access of that reporter to people and places, what is the story? Is it the supposed "news" item that the reporter went to see (which will be influenced by the one-sided information made available), or does it rightly become the restrictions placed on gathering the news, which make it impossible to write the full story? How about when a government (or business?) makes the reporter's job of meeting her deadline 'easy' by providing neatly packaged story lines? Should the pre-packaged item be the story, or should it be the prepackaging of it? Too often, it seems, the choice is made to present the (necessarily biased) news story without any indication of the constraints imposed on its telling, and thus the public is, in an important way, deceived.

I think that the author was right to not present an afterward, as he chose initially. The real value of this book lies in the unvarnished details of his life as a reporter in the middle east. It is left to us to internalize those details and demand better reporting of how news stories are made so that our public debate is fully informed. I am thankful that this reporter opened his world to us. This book is a must-read.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The Best 16 May 2010
By themanfromamsterdam - Published on
Format: Paperback
The best book I ever read on journalism.

The best book I ever read on the Middle East.

One of the best books I ever read on foreign/media policy.

This book should be obligated for every journalist, every student of journalism, every student of foreign policy, every student of history, every student of cultural anthropology and every student of media.

This book is truly mindblowing!! Eye-opening. On of the best books I ever read.
Superb insider's view 10 Mar. 2014
By Do Androids Dream - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a foreign correspondent must be fascinating for those with a real interest in how the world works.

Luyendijk does a superb job of describing the nitty gritty of his time as a journalist in the Middle East. The book is at its best when he illustrates the differences between the Israeli and Palestinian's ability to give foreign media representatives material to report.

He also does a genuinely admirable job of explaining the sometimes extreme constraints and impediments put on news gathering in the region's dictatorships. If you want to know why so much news looks the same this book will help make many things clear.

Highly recommended.
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