Monday, November 12, 2007

Why you can't see the news the way others see it.

Very few Americans have the opportunity to see international news the way millions of people in the Middle East see it, on Al Jazeera. Among those few are our soldiers in Afghanistan. According to Roger Cohen in his column in today’s New York Times:

In the gym at the NATO base in Kabul, U.S. soldiers hit the treadmills every morning and gaze at TV screens broadcasting Al Jazeera’s English news channel. When Osama bin Laden makes news, as he did recently with a statement about Iraq, America’s finest work out beneath the solemn gaze of their most wanted enemy.

Back in the States about the only way you can watch it is if you are one of the 147,000 subscribers to Buckeye Cablesystem in Toledo, Ohio.

Allan Block, the chairman of Block Communications, which owns Buckeye, [says]: “It’s a good channel. Sir David Frost and David Marash are not terrorists. The attempt to blackball it is neo-McCarthyism.”

Block, like other cable providers, got protest letters from Accuracy in Media, a conservative watchdog. Cliff Kincaid, its editor, cites the case of Tayseer Allouni, a former Afghanistan correspondent jailed in Spain for Al Qaeda links. This is evidence, he suggests, that “cable providers shouldn’t give them access.”

How do you feel about conservatives like Cliff Kincaid threatening cable providers to prevent you from seeing Al Jazeera?

1 comment:

purpleXed said...

Media outlets such as Cliff Kincaid's so-called Accuracy in Media ought to answer why they haven’t sufficiently probed the cakewalk crowd who promised a casual march to victory in Iraq. How many media activists have pressed for accountability the likes of Ken Adelmen who misled the American media by claiming “measured by any cost-benefit analysis, such an operation would constitute the greatest victory in America’s war on terrorism.”

Encouraging and embracing alternate sources of media has become increasingly important at a time when many US media organs tiptoe around issues in fear of overstepping their boundaries. The following examples illustrate why instead of encouraging broader, pluralistic coverage of say, Iraq and Afghanistan, some circles prefer a cover-up.

General Ricardo Sanchez's recent speech to US top military reporters is the long overdue hour of reckoning for tortoise-shelled media activists. It is a clarion call for often compliant and at times coopted journalists to wriggle out of their age of denial, dismissal and disapproval of sources that could have (and still can) otherwise provided alternate view of Iraq.

A dismissive approach towards any pluralistic media initiatives especially when coming from the Middle East will prove counter-productive.