FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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.

Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail