Zooming In, Zooming Out
March 2005, Lebanon is on the verge of change. This year marked a watershed in the history of our country. Lebanon was basically divided into two sides, to parties, two ideologies and even two ways of reporting fact by Lebanese media outlets.
At that time LBC and Future TV were mainly pro 14th of March, whereas the other stations such as the Hezbollah owned channel were rallying with the 8th of March party. It is no secret that Lebanese TV stations are majorly owned and controlled by political parties and are heavily influenced by their actions. That said, it was normal for them to report facts with a special twist, the way they wanted to be seen.
A very famous form of presenting and broadcasting news at the time entered our political life and even Lebanese pop culture. Zooming in and out. It was reported that TV stations used to zoom out on certain manifestations to created this sense of added depth to the amount of protesters. Likewise rival TV station used to zoom in the view to remove this sense of infinite showing a few number of protesters. At this point in time, a Lebanese citizen was measured as the amount of square meter he can invade.
This practice was on everyone’s tongue; hours of political debates and explanations on air by reputed politicians. It was even the subject of dares by political rivals to count each person at the opposite protests and announce the majority. This slight use of propaganda by Lebanese medias created a new form of selective censorship and editing. It was a main argument to use while talking about the situation.
This practice shows that media outlets offer you the news the way they want you to see it. Technically, they are not masking facts or pretending they didn’t happen. They even didn’t re-edited or modified it. What they did is a mere job of zooming in or out the picture, to help the cause their political parties are fighting.
Until today, many regimes in the Arab world used this simple technique to blur the lines between reality and what they want you to see. This is why media has always been the go-to platform to publish and broadcast facts. The perspective and the way it is produced changes with every outlet depending on what coming for them at the end of the day.