CNN's little coup box via the Atlantic
The 24-hour cable news network that's redefining non-stop news picked the wrong story today. In case you hadn't seen, history is unfolding in Egypt right now. It is truly earth-shattering news. But the poop-cruise network has spent the entire day broadcasting the bumbling minutiae of the George Zimmerman trial in Florida instead, relegating the chaos in Cairo to a picture-in-picture box in the corner. The only time CNN broke to cover Egypt in any sort of real depth was when the trial broke for lunch. And then it was back to the sad new reality of American TV news now.
People watching CNN on Wednesday morning experienced what was possibly the most richly symbolic example of American networks' relative indifference to the exploding political crisis in Egypt.
CNN was sticking with coverage of the George Zimmerman trial for yet another day. Host Ashleigh Banfield said the following as she explained a glitch in the trial:
"They are definitely trying to work out the bug-a-boos from what we just witnessed. Obviously the Skype line wasn't working too well, because everybody's friends were calling in and interrupting the line. They're going to work out a speakerphone situation. We're going to fit in a quick break while they get that all worked out. You won't miss a moment of any of the testimony. Back after this."
She then paused, caught herself, and added:
"Oh, and you know something else? We're going to get you back to Egypt aft—"
At this point, a commercial abruptly cut her off.
Revolution? Coup? Coupalution? Whatever, it deserves to be covered.
“Events” RT @MarkLGoldberg: So what term will American officials use to describe events in Egypt? They probably can't use "coup."
It can't be a coup. Coup-makers don't draw hearts in the sky. MT @storyfulpro: Egyptian Air Force draws heart in skies over Cairo.
"If George W Bush were president, he'd bend Egypt to his will," said no one.
More politics and policy below the fold.
As a commentator on Jeremy Pressman’s excellent blog post noted, Hein Goemans and Nikolay Marinov’s research on the rise of the guardian coup is highly relevant for interpreting what is likely to transpire in Egypt (see here our earlier blog). Below is the abstract of their article (ungated [.pdf], now forthcoming in the British Journal of Political Science:
We use new data on coup d’états and elections to document a striking development: whereas the vast majority of successful coups before 1991 installed durable rules, the majority of coups after that have been followed by competitive elections. We argue that after the Cold War international pressure inﬂuenced the consequences of coups. In the post-Cold War era those countries that are most dependent on Western aid have been the ﬁrst to embrace competitive elections after the coup. Our theory also sheds light on the pronounced decline in the number of coups since 1991. While the coup d’état has been and still is the single most important factor leading to the downfall of democratic government, our ﬁndings indicate that the new generation of coups has been far less harmful for democracy than their historical predecessors.
The above is from political scientists, not partisans trying to argue morality or politics. Just sayin'.
With this 'roadmap' Egypt enters risky territory
The fear must be that the army's move will reinforce the Muslim Brotherhood's sense of its victimhood
To help you keep up, here are seven Twitter feeds we recommend for keeping up with Egypt’s twists and turns. There are countless more great ones, and following these will quickly lead you to them. To my Egypt-based friends not included on this list: you are tied for eighth.
Back home from the Morsi rally, 5am, Egypt's skyline covered in the thickest smog I've seen all year, time for a drink.
LIVE BLOG: Egyptian revolution, the day after
President Mohammed Morsi currently being held in custody by Egyptian military, as a 'preventative' measure, as 'final preparations' are made.