Will the Iraq war  continue its downward spiral
into an informational abyss?
Welcome to 2008 on The Listening Post, Al Jazeera English's global media show. In this special edition of the programme we are going to let loose with a few predictions and anticipate significant media events for the year 2008.

Some of our predictions may shock you but some should come as no surprise, particularly to regular viewers of The Listening Post. We predict for example that the war in Iraq will continue its downward spiral into an informational abyss vis-à-vis casualty figures, private security firms and the shortage of Iraqi based journalism.

The potential of the US elections to turn on another Swift Boat Veterans type incident is also apparent. The Listening Post has long been highlighting the propensity of all participants to conduct insidious and vicious attacks on each other via the media.

Some sections of the US media may present
the case for war with Iran
The political situation regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions is a little harder to call but on the media front, we are confident that US hawks will stay focused on their campaign to justify an attack on Iran. This will mean another year during which some sections of the media will liaise with politicians to present the case for war.

We have not concentrated so much on financial news stories on The Listening Post but this year we predict that we may have no choice! Over the last six months the global economy has endured a number of shocks from the collapse of Northern Rock in the UK to the sub prime mortgage crisis in the US. There are strong indications that a tough recession will take hold over the next year and as a result we predict that financial journalism will move onto the front pages and become more mainstream.

The Listening Post also predicts that Mahmoud Adhmadinejad's role as a hate figure for some within the media will be usurped by one Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan leader's attacks on Bush, the King of Spain and continued devotion to the Socialist dream with his comrade in arms, Fidel Castro, has enraged his opponents. We predict there is lots more to come! Castro, as regular viewers of The Listening Post know, has long been a favourite of overly eager obituary writers - we predict more of the same this year for both him and Hosni Mubarak whose 'death' last year attracted so much coverage that his wife was forced to come out and deny it! We will also ponder how China's attitude to the media may 'evolve' after the Olympics later this year.

Will Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be usurped by
Hugo Chavez as a media hate figure?
It was the biggest year so far for YouTube for both positive and negative reasons. We think that the latest controversy when it was linked to the Finnish high school killings may prove to be a watershed moment and result in more stringent regulation of the website. Nevertheless YouTube will continue to delight and infuriate viewers in far less serious ways. We will showcase some of the best examples of internet videos from 2007 and preview a video which we think will be a hit for 2008, a trailer for a new graphic novel, Shooting War.

Finally we believe that 'event' documentaries will continue to achieve box office and critical succcess. We predict that two such films will be King of Corn and Body of War. The former is a beautifully made examination of the mighty US corn industry, the latter is a haunting portrait of Tomas Young, a young man who enlisted into the US military after 9/11 to fight in Afghanistan but was instead posted to Iraq where he was shot and paralysed on his first week of duty.

Watch part one of this episode of The Listening Post on YouTube.

Watch part two of this episode of The Listening Post on YouTube.

This episode of The Listening Post aired from Friday, January 04, 2008
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