General Petraeus, left, with George
Bush, the US president [AFP]
In The Listening Post this week, Richard Gizbert dissects the huge media build-up to the testimony of General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, regarding the success of the so-called US troop "surge" in Iraq.

At the beginning of this week, General Petraeus testified in front of US congress on the impact of the "surge". In an effort to head off media debate over the report however, the White House leaked a significant amount of the report in advance, working up an unprecedented build-up to the event.

The tone of the advance coverage, however, did not take much heat off the US administration, as critics and sceptics aired their suspicions about the general's independence in writing his report and also broadcast their disagreement with the report's conclusions.

Next this week, we take a look at the power of the Egyptian blogosphere where rumours of President Hosni Mubarak's death attracted enough attention to push the state into releasing footage of the leader to show that he was alive.

We focus on the Egyptian internet rumour mill and analyse state reluctance in releasing information about the Egyptian leader's health.

In our Newsbytes section, we update you on two unique television productions – one is a hit Iranian TV series that chronicles the romance of an Iranian-Palestinian Muslim and a French Jewish woman and the other is Second Life, a film shot entirely in the virtual world for which HBO has coughed up a six-figure sum.

And if you are a bandwidth glutton and live in the US, watch out! Internet service provider Comcast could soon cut you off the world wide web for slowing their network down and degrading service quality for all other users.

Closing the show is our weekly viral video favourite. This one caught our fancy since it mashes together many of our candidates from previous weeks. Take a look.

Watch this episode of The Listening Post here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

This episode of The Listening Post aired from 14th September 2007

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Source: Al Jazeera