FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

This Revolution is Brought to You by Al-Jazeera

This past Saturday, when I managed to pull myself away from Al Jazeera for a half an hour so I could run an errand, I discovered that the TV at the dry-cleaning store was on the same station. No Muslims work there and, although the TV is usually on, this was the first time I had paid any attention to the TV set. Maybe it had always been on Al Jazeera and I simply hadn’t noticed.

During the Bush years, Al Jazeera was vilified as biased in favor of the Arab world. I never heard the Bush administration criticizing American TV networks for favoring the United States. It wasn’t until three years ago that Al Jazeera began broadcasting in English from its offices in Fairfax, Virginia, not far from where I live. I watched the station sporadically until a year ago when I went to a local Midas automobile repair shop and discovered—early in the morning when I dropped off my car—that the channel in the lobby was set on Al Jazeera. When I picked up my car in the afternoon, it was the same. I asked the manager if there were any Muslims working for him and he said no, but his more revealing answer came when I asked why his lobby television was set on Al Jazeera.

“It’s the only channel that gives you the real news.” His response led me to conclude that if middle America had figured this out, something interesting was happening.

I increased my own viewing of Al Jazeera and realized that, yes, the manager at Midas was right. Sometimes events unfolding in the United States received better coverage and analysis on Al Jazeera than on American network and cable channels. That was particularly true during the run-up to the 2010 mid-term elections.

Where would we be today without Al Jazeera as events in the Middle East continue to unfold so rapidly—events as momentous as the fall of the Berlin Wall—that many of us find ourselves glued to our TVs? CNN’s coverage is interrupted ad nauseam for commercials that often string half a dozen mindless advertisements together. FOX “news” continues its infantile coverage of non-events as if nothing of significance ever happens outside the United States.

That leaves Al Jazeera, first chronicling the remarkable events as they occurred in Tunisia and now Egypt. Though their bureau in Cairo has been closed down by the Egyptian government, live feeds of voices from phone lines continue non-stop. Maybe Americans will not only learn something about a part of the world about which we are so woefully ignorant. Perhaps we will also begin to realize that while media organizations are generally faithful to their geographical and cultural places of origins, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are distorting information.

The on-going revolution in the Middle East will be brought to you by Al Jazeera, God willing.

CHARLES R. LARSON is Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C.

 

More articles by:

Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C. Email = clarson@american.edu. Twitter @LarsonChuck.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
February 28, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bernie Sanders and the Socialism Question
Vijay Prashad
Witnessing the Hell a Migrant Can Face
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Knives Out
Andrew Levine
Bloomberg: What Is He Good For?
T.J. Coles
The Space Force Becomes a Weapons System, Arms Companies Profit
Paul Street
The So-Called Party of the People: From Nevada to South Carolina
Matthew Stevenson
Carolina and Super Tuesday on My Mind
Robert Hunziker
Forever-Chemicals Tap Water
Pete Dolack
No Thinking Please, We’re Red-Baiting
Nick Pemberton
If Bernie Sanders Is Unelectable, Then What The Hell Are The Rest Of You?
Jacob Hornberger
Immunity for Killings by Immigration Police
John Curiel – Jack R. Williams
Analysis of the 2019 Bolivia Election: No Evidence of Irregular Trends or Fraud
Ramzy Baroud
Israel at the Cusp of a Bleak Era
Ron Jacobs
Bloomberg’s Billionaire BS
Farzana Versey
Who Will Douse Delhi’s Flames?
Joseph Natoli
Dispelling the Darkness
Marshall Auerback
Boris Johnson, Not Donald Trump, is the Real Blue-Collar Conservative
Steve Early
VoteVets for Buttigieg:  Who’s Really Keeping Us in the Dark About Campaign Funding?
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: Those Meddling Kids …
Arshad Khan
Trump Visits Modi and Delhi Erupts in Anti-Muslim Riots
Karen J. Greenberg
How Democracy Ends
Tom Clifford
Corona and Flu in Beijing: a Report From the Chinese Capital
Scott Tucker
Pete Buttigieg: The Energizer Bunny of Hegemony
Victor Grossman
Breakthroughs Against the Rightwing Menace in Germany
William Hartung
It’s Time to Debate Pentagon Spending
Seth Sandronsky
Struggling for Shelter: Resistance to California’s Housing Crisis Grows 
Daniel Warner
The UN, Homeostasis and China
Eve Ottenberg
Police Torture in Chicago
Kenn Orphan
The Ruling Class Will Stop at Nothing
Sean Reynolds
A Difficult Peace
W. T. Whitney
For the Climate: Protecting the Commons and Fixing Democracy
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, Political Offences and Legal Restraints
Dedrick Asante-Muhammad – Jamie Buell
Does This Economy Work for Black Americans?
Tracey L. Rogers
Reflections on “Black Excellence”
Jill Richardson
Stop Calling Harmful Bigotry “Religious Freedom”
Barbara G. Ellis
Don’t Depend on FEMA to Save Us From Global-Warming’s Armageddon
Mike Garrity
Why We Sued Trump’s BLM Over Its Sagebrush-Juniper Burning Project in Montana
Christopher Brauchli
The Modi/Trump Anti-Muslim Alliance
John Kendall Hawkins
Science and the Turf Wars of Consciousness
John Peeler
Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Nicky Reid
Socialism Without Anti-Imperialism: A Different Flavor of Tyranny
Louis Proyect
Spies, Lies and Videotapes
David Yearsley
The Beef with Kobe
Andrew Stewart
How Netflix And “Manning Marable” Killed Malcolm X (The Third Time)
Elliot Sperber
Capitán Capital 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail