Scripting News for 11/27/2006

MSNBC: “NBC News is characterizing Iraq conflict as civil war; White House denies” 

Wired News: “The Zune only frees up tunes for a limited free sampling period — a policy that actually interferes with the rights of artists who want people to share their works freely.” 

Al Jazeera in the US? 

One of my favorite podcasts is On The Media. It’s irreverent, funny, timely, intelligent, flattering, even a little flirty. It comes out every Friday afternoon, and I always take my Saturday walk with OTM. Always good food for thought.

Two weeks ago they had two fantastic segments, one about Lou Dobbs, the iconoclast preacher of closed borders, the imitation-journalist of CNN, and the other about the English-language version of the Arab news network Al Jazeera, and get this, one of their anchors, Dave Marish, a semi-famous US journalist, is Jewish! They interviewed Marish, and he speaks right to me about the need for understanding, and I think it’s amazing that the Arabs have hired a Jew to speak English for them.

It might seem like a small thing, but a very large segment of the Muslim world doesn’t speak Arabic, and the only common language they have is English. In Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, they get their news in English and now Al Jazeera, speaking with an American accent, will be there. Will it be different from the Al Jazeera they see in the Middle East? Yes, according to the OTM report, it will be.

It’s good news for world peace, so it seems, but if you want to watch Al J in English in the US, you’re can only get it on the Internet. They haven’t been able to get distribution on any American cable or satellite networks. I’d love to hear an explanation why. Surely it can’t because they’re partisan or represent the views of terrorists? If that were true, and I kid you not, I’m not joking, they’ll have to stop carrying Bush and Cheney who have wasted a lot more people than any of the terrorists they carry on Al Jazeera. We need to hear other points of view. The Judith Miller fiasco proved that even the most prestigious and supposedly courageous journalists in the US are owned by the defense industry.

This seems to be a commercial decision that we, as customers, may be able to influence.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Dave,

    Although Al Jazeera is available here in the UK on one of Rupert Murdoch’s (!) Sky channels (Yes, that very same Rupert Murdoch…) I’m not a subscriber and I’ve been watching AJ intermittantly through Real Player, the latter I must say is an awful piece of malware!

    For me Al Jazeera is considerably better than the BBC. It has exactly same high quality feel but they seem to take objectivity much more seriously. And they are thorough, their features are better than anything I’ve seen elsewhere. Imagine the BBC, without the neo-imperialist/in-the-shadow-of the poodle attitude. Of course they cover the Middle East thoroughly which is great since accessible events from that area is scantily covered (Does one parden one’s puns in your salon, Dave?) in the Western media.

    In the UK they have hired some of the very best and most respected journalists and gave them a work environment where journalistic ethics are still taken seriously.

    Al Jazeera is indeed a bridge builder, like bloggers are, and last time I checked they had avery good blog as well.


  2. The funny thing for me, is that the guy behind the revamped Al Jazeera website is my old boss from BBC News Interactive TV 🙂 He was instrumental in setting up alot BBC News Interactive’s most highly praised systems, including the InteractiveTV propositions they have there. 🙂

    Go Russ! 🙂


  3. Dave — A comment about yesterday’s podcast that you did. You say that it’s not about the advertising. It’s the intellligence of the user that matters most. Google has made billions on the Internet as has Yahoo! Are they from that ivory tower past? If they are, who are the new shining lights of intelligence? We’re keen on this perpsective as it is the intelligence of the users that is a matter of importance for us. Enjoyed listening to the show.


  4. Posted by David Fumento on December 1, 2006 at 4:52 am

    Here we are the land of free speech with far better libel laws than the UK and we are unable to see A.J. network. I don’t own a TV, but I think it is really a pity because blocking A. J. distribution in U.S. is not what the U. S. is about.


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