Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Al-Jazeera to enter the English-language news realm

The popular Arabic news channel, Al-Jazeera, is to launch an English-language news channel on 15 November. As the afore-linked article says:

Al-Jazeera's Arabic-language channel, which marks its 10th anniversary on Wednesday, has clashed repeatedly with Washington, which says its exclusive broadcasts of Osama bin Laden speeches show an anti-American bias.
. All the airing of the Bin Laden speeches shows is that Al Jazeera has guts and shows information that the news media is [often] expected to present to the people, as is illustrated in the continuance of the above quote:
Its freewheeling newscasts have overshadowed state-run TV stations across much of the Arab world, leading some countries to close Al-Jazeera's bureaus.
Another reason the White House hates Al Jazeera is that it does not kiss up, sugar coat, cover up, or do all the things independent news media is supposed to not do (but Fox News often does regularly). See this great Foreign Policy article for more on Al-Jazeera truths and fallacies and profiles the news network in general. Make room CNN, Fox, and MSNBC, there is a new news broadcaster in town (possibly). On the international English-language platform, Al-Jazeera will compete with [the worse] CNN International and [the better] BBC World.

At least then there will be some variety. CNN and MSNBC are trying to be more and more like Fox News (because of Fox's increased viewer-ship due to its super conservatism, ignorantly pro-Bush views). Al Jazeera, contrary to popular American belief, is not a 'terrorist' network nor is it a wing of Islamic fundamentalism. Some of that view has been instilled in the minds of the public by the US news media, some by the politicians in the White House and on Capital Hill (if anyone remembers, a while back plans leaked that President Bush was to try to blow up an Al Jazeera news operation centre for no real reason). The Bush administration has, over and over again, shown their contempt for the news media, the only exception being the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terror attacks when everyone was, all of the sudden, very patriotic and blindly backing the president as he fooled nearly everyone with fear mongering for ideological, political capital gains. Al Jazeera is surprisingly objective and a usually-accepted news source. The BBC is still by far the best news broadcast though.

For more news media analysis see Project for Excellence in Journalism, Wikipedia's entry, On the Media, and CJR (and CJR Daily), among other sites.

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