US and Egypt

The flags of Egypt and US, highlighting their alliance.

*These are the most relevant themes throughout the US-Egypt discourse in the US news.

Obama and Mubarak

Mubarak and Obama

In the first two days (January 25-26) of the Egyptian Revolution, both the conservative and liberal media sources in the US reiterated the thin line the US occupies in the Egyptian conflict. The news sources discussed the importance of balance on the part of Obama and his cabinet to maintain ties with Mubarak but also acknowledge the protestors. The right-wing and left-wing news differ: while this rhetoric changed as the revolution progressed further for the liberal news, the conservative news criticized Obama’s ambiguous stance from the start of the protest. Towards the end of the 18 days, both sides of the media no longer acknowledged the US’s relationship with the Mubarak regime as positive and cited the President and Hilary Clinton’s support of the protestors.


A comparison of the millions of US dollars spent in Egyptian aid

During the first 18 days of revolution in Egypt, the left US news sources did not focus many articles on the military; however, the military was regularly included in a larger discussion about US-Egypt relations. What was clear in the liberal US news was that US foreign aid is closely intertwined with the Egyptian military funding. While the right-wing news covered similar concerns about the Egyptian military, it also mentioned the concerns of a military-governed Egypt after Mubarak.

Israel and Foreign Policy

US role in Israeli-Palestine Peace Treaty

Liberal US articles concentrating on US foreign policy, particularly US’s relationship with Israel, began to appear towards the end of our 18 day examination, once the US government began to side with the Egyptian protestors and asked Mubarak to step down.  Because Egypt, through the leadership of Mubarak, was the main arbitrator of the Israel-Palestine peace process and one of the major powers in the Middle East, liberal and conservative news focused on a concern over what will happen with US and its foreign policy in the region if and when Mubarak steps down. Conservative news particularly focused on the situation from the stance of Israel and its concerns with the government changes.

Islam and Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood emblem

Concern of Islam and the power of the Muslim Brotherhood was not emphasized in a negative portrayal in the left US news. Because most of the population is Muslim and the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the major factions in opposition to Mubarak, liberal news sources discussed these factors objectively within the scope of the first 18 days of revolution. Of particular interest was an article which noted that Obama announced to the US population that it is not a choice between Mubarak or the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which was in response to the general fear in US culture about Islamic rule.

However, the right-wing news noticeably differed from the left-wing news on the Islam topic. From the start of the 18 days, it portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood in a factual manner: it originated in Egypt and is the largest opposition group to Mubarak. As the protests continued, though, the portrayal began to change, conveying the Brotherhood as evil and would lead to serious trouble for the US in the future.

Click here to see the breakdown of our news analysis.