I am a classic Reagan/Goldwater Conservative. I am careful to keep myself informed on every important socio-political issue, because I’m responsible that way. I find that almost has to include watching/reading Al Jazeera, and I challenge you to do the same…and this article will let you know why you want to.
Let’s start with this:
I’m about as strong an advocate of the free market as you can get. So why do I watch CCTV, Communist China’s truly evil state news network? It’s more chock-full of tyrannical socialist propaganda than two Obama press secretaries times NPR cubed.
But I want to be certain I understand it and am opposing it from an informed position. Know Your Enemy, as they say.
If some gullibly loyal Chinese prole criticized American freedom, you’d demand that they at least take the time to understand it, or else they’re really a hypocrite and a fraud.
- Hypocrite because they are (presumably) wanting to tell you why their system is better, but aren’t bothering to understand ours.
- Fraud, because if they don’t bother to learn the internal arguments and claims, they can’t really know for certain what they’re talking about.
In case it’s not obvious, this applies to us, as well. I know far more about exactly how evil and wrong the Communist Chinese government is, exactly what kind of lies it tells, et cetera, from watching CCTV. I even know of things that I assumed were one way, but after seeing (and distrusting) CCTV, I’ve done research on my own and found out they really are another way. Without watching their network, I wouldn’t have even known what to find out.
I did the same thing with AllAfrica.com, and learned that sub-Saharan Africa is far different, and worse, than I actually thought. I can now see the sparse information I get, now, from the mainstream media on that region in an entirely different light. Almost every government in that area is a joke. They usually don’t even have market economies in the sense socialist Europe does, but something even closer to Marxism. Almost all of the poverty of the region comes from the intrusiveness and corruption of their governments, in ways more ridiculous than you’re imagining. “Banana Republic” doesn’t convey it to you adequately.
I’ll take some time to write about it, another day.
Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya
So, naturally, I started reading Al Arabiya and watching Al Jazeera, with the intention of learning about the spin that Doha and Dubai put on news, to see exactly how people were being fooled with lies about American mass murder and plots to destroy Muslims, find out if they were teaching potentially good people that Jews are red-eyed, baby-eating demons, learn whether they were cheering terrorists, explaining the values of Al Qaeda screeds, et cetera.
And that’s sufficient reason to watch it. In fact, it’s a region whose attitudes and perspective is even more important to understand in America than China and Africa.
What I found, though, astonished me to the almost to the point of confusion:
Unlike CCTV’s lies, or AllAfrica’s unintentional revelation of government’s destruction of sub-Saharan Africa, Al Jazeera was packed with actual, solid information and reporting, presented with slightly more objectivity than American mainstream news (though that isn’t saying much).
I’m not exaggerating.
For example, Al Jazeera frequently covers Israel-Palestinian incidents from the Israeli perspective, as well as other ways. They show commentary by Israeli government officials I barely knew existed, Israeli and Jewish people you’ll not otherwise hear from, Israeli issues you never hear about, et cetera. Not only does the American Liberal media drop the ball on this, but so does the Neocon media like Fox News, and radio talk show hosts.
I actually have a better, and more sympathetic, understanding of Israeli perspective on events, thanks to Al Jazeera.
In fact, does a better job of revealing the flaws of every one of the Arab/Islamic states (that I expected it to sell to me as virtuous) than American or other foreign media.
The same is true of Al Jazeera’s coverage of other regions. I watched NHK (Japanese News) for a while, but Al Jazeera’s coverage of Japan is actually better, more objective.
No other network — and I watch news from all over the world — covered the Egyptian and Libyan revolutions from both perspectives, government and protester, as objectively and calmly as Al Jazeera. The second best was the BBC, but it paled by comparison.
More importantly, Al Jazeera cover the protests in Bahrain and Yemen, and the brutal crackdowns by the Saudi government that rules over them, with the same clarity and detail as Syria (and covers Syria better than anyone else)…and yet you, probably, had no idea that the “Arab League” member states were ignoring vicious crackdowns in their membership just as bad as there.
And, of course, they also cover Arab perspectives. If you depend on Mainstream Media, including Fox and neocon talk shows, you have no idea what the actual Arab or Muslim perspectives are. They simply don’t present such things, at all. They don’t even really pretend to.
You, especially if you’re a Conservative or another ideology that values self-responsibility, need to have a source of perspective outside of the two party-Establishment media cliques here in the US.
Of the options, Al Jazeera is the time-saver; more objective, detailed, and wide-ranging than even the BBC. Watch them for the information, or if you’re determined to believe they’re evil, the way I still think of CCTV, then at least watch them to Know Your Enemy.
But DO NOT trust them…because you should not trust any external source. Always verify things for yourself. But if you don’t have a source like Al Jazeera, you don’t even know much of what you could be checking out.
Where do you find Al Jazeera? PBS has it, but if you have a distaste for networks coercively funded by your tax dollars, a far better alternative is the cable network Link TV. They not only broadcast the full Al Jazeera half hour in English, but better still; they have a show they put together themselves, called Mosaic, that includes news broadcast from many foreign sources, including Al Jazeera, and Israel’s own nationalized television news (never forget that Israel’s government, including Likud, is socialist), IBA.
23 minutes a day, watching (or listening to, while doing other things) Al Jazeera or Mosaic, will double your ability to defend and advocate your own foreign policy beliefs, as well as making them better informed…because none of us has perfect knowledge, already.