Whoever thought all of this WikiLeaks business would produce such an absurd and relevant nugget for us?
]]>reports that recent cables from the U.S. Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, credit satellite broadcasts of “Desperate Housewives,” “Friends” and “The Late Show With David Letterman” with dissuading Saudi youth from joining violent jihad.
In fact, these programs are apparently doing more to improve the American image in Saudi Arabia than the U.S.-funded Al-Hurra network. Despite broadcasting flattering interviews with American politicians, the channel has made little progress. Ross and Rachel, however, lose none of their charm with Arabic subtitles.
The story cites a conversation between two Saudi media professionals and U.S. official, appropriately held at a Jeddah Starbucks.
“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,” the executives say. “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.”
The more we hear about WikiLeaks, the more we think the film adaptation should probably be a Steven Soderbergh comedy.