Wanna Know What’s Going on in the World?

In I saw... on March 7, 2011 at 9:54 am

Because I got a little bored of fashion week…

If you haven’t yet stumbled upon the international Al Jazeera news channel while trying to find CNN on a hotel room television set, I recommend you take a look at the clip that follows. Giving you a taster of just how involved this news channel is, the incredible footage shows an Al Jazeera correspondent being attacked while broadcasting from the Palestinian-Israeli border back in 2009… this, boys and girls, is what I call dedicated front line media.

I’m hardly going to spew my opinion on the Arab-Israeli conflict– I’d be better off citing the similarities between Lady Gaga and the Pope. I am however, interested in the fact that the U.S. secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, praised an arabic news channel this week (once labeled by the Bush administration as a tool of radical Islam) for its fine news coverage, saying, “Al Jazeera [English] is gaining more prominence in the U.S. because it offers real news,” something she said American media was falling far short of doing.

I chose the BBC news as my go-to news channel during the height of the uprising against President Mubarak but alas I’ve found myself more informed on what Egypt’s protests means for British holiday makers than what it really meant for world politics.

While I’m being spoon-fed ‘info-tainment’, ‘pseudojournalism’, according to a journalist of the online Huffington Post, “no one– not the xenophobic or celebrity-obsessed or cut-to-the-bone American media, can bring the perspective, insight, and on-the-scene reporting Al Jazeera English can.”

Up close and personal... Al Jazeera's international coverage is more in depth than any other news networks


Since the protests in Egypt began, Al Jazeera reported its Internet traffic increased by 2,500 percent, with US users accounting for half of it.

I get the feeling all of a sudden that I’m watching the wrong channel.

Lagging behind on their international coverage– BBC, CNN and dare I mention FOX news appear to be losing an information war to rising global networks such as Al Jazeera that are “changing peoples’ minds and attitudes” says Hilary Clinton in her address to Congress, “and like it or hate it, it is really effective”. She continued, “You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners.”

The Simpsons Cartoon takes a swipe at Fox News


Watch Clinton’s address on the network here.

Al Jazeera is a 24-hour news and current affairs channel which launched in 1996 and is based in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. The government has called it the “first independent Arab TV satellite channel to specialize in news and information coverage.” Along with the Arabic news channel, Russia,  China and France also now have English-language networks to broaden their audience.

Since this inauspicious start, the Al Jazeera English team has been manning the PR battle lines against lobbyists anxious to keep the channel off US television line-ups. An Al Jazeera correspondent recently blogged, “Before I felt like people here really thought I was Osama bin Laden’s mouthpiece. Now I feel like I work for the cool kids!”

While I’m not suggesting you stop paying attention to local news, discovering a new source for information from time to time can be a healthy and an eye-opening experience.

And as for the story that’s been dominating western headlines since January– wanna know what’s really going on out there….? Try this on for size… Al Jazeera English.


Fact of the day: In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States.

  1. You’re absolutely right. I now head straight to Al-Jazeera for any international incident. You’ve got mad writing skills.

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