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The Listening Post
Debating the 'Ground Zero mosque'
The Listening Post looks at how the US media helped to fuel an often irrational and inaccurate debate.
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2010 10:57 GMT

On The Listening Post this week we look at how the American media constructed the 'Ground Zero mosque' story as well as the impact social media is having on business today.
 
If you are across the American media then we doubt you missed this story. Plans to build an Islamic community centre near the site where the World Trade Centre used to stand in New York has triggered a heated, often irrational and frequently inaccurate debate.

The community centre is constantly referred to as the 'Ground Zero mosque' by the media. From that phrase alone you can begin to understand why this story gained so much traction. Misleading the public into believing that a mosque - not a community centre - is being built at the place where the US was attacked by Islamic extremists - albeit two blocks away - will always get a reaction.

But on The Listening Post we do not look at the emotional or political motivations in a story. We look at the media and how, with this story, some news outlets got their hands dirty.
 
Our News Divide this week looks at a community centre that initially slipped through the news agenda, was dragged back into it by new media and was then blown out of all proportion when the mainstream had another go at it.
 
One of the most crucial elements in any business is reaching your customers. You have to be able to communicate with them if you want to sell your product. Businesses are always trying to reach out to the customer but traditionally it has been one-way traffic, spare a few surveys and questionnaires.
 
However these days, with the proliferation of social media, there is a steady flow of feedback online. But with the nature of the internet and social media, that feedback is no longer exclusively one-way. Companies need to be aware that any complaint taken online could be bad for business.

An example of this was when Canadian musician Dave Carroll flew with an American airline. He witnessed his guitar being mishandled on the runway as it was being loaded onto the airplane. On arrival his fears were confirmed, the guitar was broken. He spent the next few months trying to get compensation but with no luck. What followed was an online phenomenon that made Carroll famous, the airline infamous and the power of social media obvious. The Listening Post's Nick Muirhead reports on the growing role of social media in the business world.

In our News Bytes this week: Uganda's constitutional court rules that sedition under the country's penal code suppresses free speech; Argentina's president, Christina Kirchner, continues to battle against the privately owned media in the country; an Iranian journalist sues a well known mobile phone company for selling the technology to the Iranian authorities that landed him in jail; and Britain's News of the World undercover reporter, Mazher Mahmood, strikes again.
 
There is nothing like a bit of healthy competition to hike up the production value of web videos. Animation teams are competing online each week to see who can accumulate the most hits on YouTube for their videos. It has been fun to watch and there have been some great animations. One of them caught our eye. It is our internet video of the week. One of the competitors does not really come to the party but you still might learn a move or two.
 
We hope you enjoy the show. And if you have not already done so, hook up with us on Facebook and Twitter.

This episode of The Listening Post aired from Friday, September 3, 2010.

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