Plural Perspectives

Plural Perspectives
Plurality promotes and powers Perspectives

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Marash: Slow, Serious, Contemplative Reporting better than Rolling News

It is quite interesting to compare how much one hears about Dave Marash who's leaving Al Jazeera for writing and teaching pursuits than about CNN's anchor Shihab Rattansi replacing him as a younger face for Aljazeera's news programmes from Washington. Clearly, some commentators accord far more attention to who is leaving the news channel that was launched in November 2006.

Referring to some recent departures, a spokeswoman for Aljazeera has pointed out: "The channel is still opening new offices across the world and still recruiting new staff." The channel's Managing Director for business acquisition and development,Nigel Parsons, she said, believes it was "unrealistic to think that some people would not leave at the end of their two-year contracts".

Dave Marash offered these comments in an article to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"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?"

Having now worked for both an American network and an Arab network, this is what Marash told to Newsweek's Daniel Stone how he sees the difference in the coverage between the two:

"I think that anyone who watches some of the in-depth shows [on Al Jazeera] will ask themselves, "Why doesn't American news do stuff like this?" Because they slow down and take a real look at some serious, positive, negative and very characteristically American issues. Nowhere in American TV do you see those kinds of things being address very seriously... I'll be a lifetime viewer. I think they're a terrific network."

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