Octavia Nasr | BIO
CNN senior editor for Arab affairs
Arab media focused on the Republican National Convention with the same intense interest it gave the Democrats a week earlier...
On the Dubai-based channel Al-Arabiya, the coverage began on a positive note highlighting the choice and timing of John McCain's running mate announcement - the day after Obama’s acceptance speech in a packed Denver stadium.
Hisham Melhem is Al-Arabiya’s US Affairs analyst. He said, "McCain surprised everyone by taking an historic step and nominating Sarah Palin to his ticket. This strategy forced the media to focus on his pick at the expense of Obama's speech at the conclusion of the DNC."
Arab media compared and contrasted both tickets on various shows and in opinion editorials. In the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Jihad el-Khazen wrote, "US voters can now choose between two equal tickets: A young candidate with an old running mate or an elderly candidate with a very young running mate."
Throughout the week, the attention shifted at times from the Republican Convention to developments of Hurricane Gustav and Senator McCain’s efforts to assist the victims. Anchor Abdel Rahim Fuqaraa’ of Al-Jazeera wondered whether "Gustav, at the end, will be a blessing or a nemesis for Senator McCain." In his editorial in the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awssat, Hussein Shobokshi offered his opinion that, "Even nature is siding with Obama as Hurricane Gustav forced the cancellation of many events at the Republican Convention."
In addition to Gustav, the anti-war demonstrations at the Republican Convention got a lot of coverage on Arab media. As Al-Arabiya's correspondent Pierre Ghanem concluded, "The convention floor was loud with Republican supporters. Outside, the noise from Gustav and the anti-war demonstrators was louder."
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