Monday, 2 June 2008
Burlington Better Off with Al Jazeera as Commentators call for plurality
Commentators, journalism teachers and media professional are increasingly questioning why the US media space remains in denial of alternate news channels offering a different perspective to American viewers.Will the American viewers realize what they have been missing out in terms of content richness, analytical depth and topics covered by Aljazeera English?
The news channel launched on 15 November 2006, is adored by many worldwide but still abhorred by some in the USA. But the number of those who have had a chance to see it abroad is voicing their surprise over the fact that it is not widely available in the United States. A look at the responses to Roger Cohen's column reflects a overwhelming number of readers favouring wider AJE access to US homes and institutions.
The article, Let’s face the new “core facts”, that appeared in in NYT and IHT can be seen here: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/11/11/opinion/edcohen.php
According to author and former executive of USIA, Alvin Snyder, it's a shame AJE isn't being given the chance to compete in the US marketplace. Writing more than two-years ago Snyder anticipated that AJ would be giving Fox, CNN and the others "a run for their money" in America, based on the popularity of its website in the US. This would have taken place if it was given a level playing field to perform and demonstrate its merits and demerits.
At a conference, “Creating Connections: New Partnerships for Understanding in the Middle East,” sponsored by the Vermont Peace Academy, Vermont Council on World Affairs and Norwich University. A participant said: “It’s an intellectual tragedy that the United States has cut itself out of Al Jazeera English’s contribution to [informative] conversation. Everything that’s happened to us in Iraq shows that’s very dangerous. The lesson of Iraq is: Ignorance kills.”
There is a noteworthy article in Asheville Citizen-Times on free expression which refers about those who manipulate opinions about imaginary risks if access to alternate media widens in the USA. See full text at:
A trends analysis of German media, reveals that Al-Jazeera English is now one of the most quoted international media outlets in Germany — “far ahead of CNN and neck-and-neck with the Washington Post,” says Roland Schatz, CEO of the Media Tenor, adding that the Arab media is becoming increasingly influential, largely due to the advent of the Qatar-based television network Al-Jazeera, which started an English-language version, from 15 November 2006. When asked if Al-Jazeera English will eventually become a major force in the TV news industry, Schatz responded: ‘‘Knowing about their ambitions and their cash resources, and knowing that they took a lot of BBC journalists, I would say, yes’‘. ‘‘Do you think it will take a couple of years?’‘ the journalist asked ‘‘I would say less,’‘ Schatz said. Media Tenor is the leading media institute in the field of applied agenda-setting research. The company’s detailed analysis of news reports provides insight to major corporations and government agencies, such as the U.S. State Department.
It is also worth to see Delinda C. Hanley’s article “Al Jazeera English: The Brave New Channel They Don’t Want You to See” in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October 2007 www.wrmea.com/archives/Sept_Oct_2007/0709024.html
Once David Brancaccio of PBS asked Josh Rushing, formerly a spokesman of the CentCom in Qatar, whether Al-Jazeera is a valuable shaper of public opinion that is too powerful for the US to ignore? Note the response below: "Looking back on it," says Rushing, "Al-Jazeera may be a more important front in the war on terror than Iraq was...it's the largest shaper of Arab opinion and perspective in the world." Full transcript at http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcriptNOW102_full.html
Dave Marash who is leaving Al Jazeera for writing and teaching pursuits offered these commentsin his latest article: "If it's been "market forces" that have kept Al Jazeera/English from an American audience - fears that it would have no audience, or that it would be "terror TV" - it is time to readjust to reality. If it's been political pressure that has kept Al Jazeera/English off America's cable and satellite servers, it's time to reject such literal "know-nothing-ism. I recently left Al Jazeera/English because of defects I saw in its attitude toward and coverage of the United States. But I still will watch regularly for its excellent coverage of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Without it, I'd be blind to half the planet. Why would anyone want that? Why do we as a nation, as a viewing audience, permit it: television news that institutionalizes willful ignorance of the world?"
The strongest criticism about the heads-in-sand policy has been voiced by someone who in his 25-plus year journalistic career has worked for United Press International Radio, the Associated Press Radio Network, US Radio Network, CBS Radio News, and NBC News Radio. Read Brad Gibson’ article “Stupidity Robs U.S. of Good, Fair Journalism” at http://thinktank.typepad.com/weblog/2007/01/stupidity_robs_.html
- ▼ June (4)