Michael Massing asks a key question that most in the media are ignoring; Arab people. Don’t worry journalists; they won’t bite:
On Wednesday, I went to hear Ayman Mohyeldin, the Cairo correspondent for Al Jazeera English, speak at the office of the Committee to Protect Journalists. His subject was the risks and realities of covering the Mideast, and at one point he was asked to reflect on the current situation in Libya. In his answer, he said something that stunned me: The vast majority of Arabs support the no-fly zone.
Despite all their suspicions about Western intervention in the region and all their doubts about U.S. actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, “nobody in the Mideast would denounce the U.S. military intervention in Libya,” Mohyeldin said. Muammar Qaddafi had baldly stated his intentions of carrying out a bloodbath, he explained, and most Arabs were delighted to see the West act to prevent it.
In the vast outpouring of coverage of Libya and the no-fly zone, I’ve seen little discussion of what ordinary Arabs think about the situation. As much reporting as there’s been on the position of the Arab League, there’s been next to nothing about opinion on the Arab street.