So claims a WikiLeaks cable, released last week. The message, first reported in the UK’s Guardian, cited increased broadcasts of popular American sitcoms as one of the main reasons for cooling of tensions among young people in the Middle East.
“It’s still all about the war of ideas here, and the American programming on MBC and Rotana [a channel part-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation] is winning over ordinary Saudis in a way that al-Hurra and other US propaganda never could,” two Saudi media executives told a US official in a meeting at a Jeddah branch of Starbucks. “Saudis are now very interested in the outside world and everybody wants to study in the US if they can. They are fascinated by US culture in a way they never were before.”
These broadcasts have been more effective than US-funded propaganda campaigns in the area, according to the cable. What do you think?