Saturday, February 12, 2011
One of the beneficiaries of the Egyptian revolution -- in the United States, at least -- seems to be the Arabic broadcast network Al-Jazeera.
Long reviled by right-wing Islamophobes as "anti-American," Al-Jazeera displayed no such bias -- at least that I could see -- in its coverage of the events of the last three weeks in Tunisia and Egypt. Sure, its opinionators displayed points of view that could be called liberal or leftish, but no more so than the pundits of MSNBC or HuffPo.
In its early reporting Al-Jazeera was far ahead of the Western news organizations, all of which were caught flatfooted by the events in North Africa. Like generals and senators, editors and pundits tend to fight the last foreign wars and aren't very good at spotting unfamiliar blips on radar screens.
As American news organizations continue to shrink their foreign coverage, outlets like al-Jazeera are going to become ever more important to our knowledge of what's going on in the world as well as our understanding of the points of view of other cultures.
You can read the English-language reports of Al-Jazeera here, and also see its streaming video here.
Al-Jazeera is now a regular stop on my morning Internet newscrawl, and I hope a cable network will ignore the blinkered and bombastic Bill O'Reillys and start broadcasting the station live in the United States.
FEBRUARY 13: More on this issue here. Note the comments after the piece.