Reporting Conflicts and Cosmopolitanism
Chapter 3. A World in Crisis: Atlas Reports
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A WORLD IN CRISIS
‘Al Jazeera has historically had a higher threshold for gorethan BBC has, BBC worries about offending its viewers,and in my view it often sanitized all the impact out of its package, because they don’t want to upset people too much.So you know, there are horrible things happening out there,I want people to understand that, I want them to see it’.36
The giant Atlas has carried the world on his shoulders, iconographically, from the days of the ancient Greeks to the present. Ayn Rand borrowed the image for the title of her dystopian classic, Atlas Shrugged. The novel is a paean to her philosophy of ‘objectivism’, the central tenet of which is that people have a moral responsibility to put their own self-interests first, and that laissez-faire capitalism is consequently the only acceptable social system. The setting of the 1957 narrative—which continues to have a cult following—is a world overshadowed by depression, with crisis simmering under the surface until people revolt against the regulatory measures of an undemocratic government. It is a mirror image of the setting of news reports in the years following the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2007 and of the ‘Arab uprisings’ that began late 2010, with revolts in these cases giving vent to outrage at the consequences of arguably just such a morality—of economic and political ← 37 | 38 → elites having acted in...
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