Posted by Wordsmith on 2 December, 2009 at 11:15 pm. 16 comments already!


Round and round:

The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at George Bush, the former US president, has himself come under a shoe attack in the French capital at the hands of a fellow Iraqi.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi, a television reporter, was in Paris on Tueday at a news conference to promote his campaign for the “victims of the US occupation in Iraq” when the attacker turned the tables on him, shouting: “Here’s another shoe for you.”

Al-Zeidi, who ducked and the shoe hit the wall behind him, said: “When I used this method, it was against the occupation.

“I didn’t use it against a compatriot. I always knew the occupier and his lackeys would stop at nothing to get to me.”

The thickset man made a brief speech in Arabic during the question and answer session, defending US policy and accusing al-Zeidi of “working for dictatorship in Iraq,” before throwing his shoe.

Stolen ‘technique’

Al-Zeidi later quipped: “He stole my technique.”

What technique is that? Missing?

I’d say Al-Zeidi learned from George Bush’s technique of ducking.

Muntazer al-Zaidi (R) reacts as a shoe is thrown at him during a news conference in Paris, December 1, 2009. Zaidi, an Iraqi reporter imprisoned for throwing his shoes at then President George W. Bush, found himself on the receiving end of a similar footwear attack in Paris on Tuesday.

Noel Sheppard questions how the media will report this, given Al-Zeidi’s celeb status, now that “the shoe is on the other foot”:

To give readers an idea of the media’s fascination with the original shoe throwing incident, a Google search of “Man throws shoe at Bush” produced 1.2 million results.

As for LexisNexis, similar search terms produced almost 1,000 reports in the days immediately following the event.

CNN logged 34 such reports, with MSNBC and Fox News in second with eight, followed by ABC and NPR with seven, and CBS and NBC with six.

Will Zaidi on the receiving end of a shoe toss be as newsworthy?

Also of interest is not just who reports this, but how.

Consider the tone of the Agence France-Presse article published hours ago:

A protester who presented himself as an Iraqi journalist in exile hurled a shoe Tuesday at the colleague who one year ago found fame hurling his own footwear at then US president George W. Bush. […]

Following the commotion, the news conference continued with Zaidi taking questions about his famous assault on Bush on December 14 last year, which was shown around the world and made him a hero in the Arab world. […]

Zaidi’s shock action was rebroadcast repeatedly around the world and made him an instant hero among Iraqis and others who felt that Arab honour had been violated by the US occupation of Iraq.

Introducing his guest at the packed Paris press conference, the president of the local Arab Press Club, Kamal Tarabay, said Zaidi’s “audacious gesture” made him a “hero of the resistance against the occupier.”

See what I mean?

This piece presented Zaidi as practically a hero.

With this in mind, it will be interesting to see if other media outlets that cover this incident use it as another opportunity to praise Zaidi as they bash Bush.

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