carl guderian on Sun, 13 Feb 2011 00:11:02 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Old & new media, CNN & Al Jazeera

Indeed. As opposed to high-level (TV mostly) journalism in the US,
which shies away from even the most obvious social or political
wrongs, afraid of accusations of not being "objective" (actually
conflating it with "balance," degrading both concepts). There's always
someone arguing for torture, predation, etc., because there's money
in it, and Wolf Blitzer on CNN will let them lie, dodge questions or
just repeat their "talking points" until the clock runs out or the
viewer tunes out in disgust. It's a win either way and "objectivity"
is preserved.

(The BBC is sometimes guilty of this too. While al-Jazeera showed
Egyptian protestors describing their torture, BBC on Thursday night
gave airtime to sleazy neocon and former Director of the CIA James
Woolsey arguing for "tough choices" like supporting Mubarak to ensure
peace with Israel and keep the Muslims down. (Shame they didn't
mention Mubarak trying to save his skin by spreading rumors that
foreign journos are working for "teh Jews."))

A week into the revolt, was Farid Zakaria, ex-pimp for the Iraq war
and CNN's foreign expert anywhere near Egypt, for the biggest story in
that country's 5000 years of existence? No, he was in Davos, watching
the Great Men of history jerk each other off about saving the world
while they took a break from dodging taxes, blocking regulation
and chasing after labor cheaper even than robots. Christiane
Ammanpour did her part by interviewing the Great Man himself, not too
confrontationally of course. She's no Orianna Fallacci, that's for
sure (neither, apparently, was Orianna, always, but whatever).

Idiots flatter CNN by calling this revolt al-Jazeera's "CNN moment."
But the "CNN moment" was about being able to fill a 24-hour news
cycle during the 1991 Iraq war. It wasn't about the quality, though
their reach, reporting and analysis were pretty good compared to
those of the competition. But al-HJazeera's engagement, competence
and willingness to take real risks to get the story and report it
accurately, incidentally demolishing a lot of self-serving myths
(such as "teh Muslims are gonna wreck the country!")--in short, doing
journalism that matters--makes this their *al-Jazeera* moment.

I wish CNN would have an al-Jazeera moment.


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