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15.4.06

The CONSERVATIVE Case FOR AlJazeera

I think it is safe to say that the controversial Middle Eastern satellite television news network AlJazeera has rattled a number of minds and invigourated many others.
The Qatar-based news channel is often cheered by some for telling the truth about Middle Eastern and even American and European governments whilst it is reviled by others for allegedly appeasing terrorists.
Well, let's cut through all the rhetoric and I will explain to you why I as a conservative trust AlJazeera, and why other conservatives NEED to TRUST AlJazeera.
First of all, let us understand that AlJazeera are in business to report the news from a Middle Eastern perspective. And whilst the Qatar government have financed this operation they have worked to ensure a suitable alternative to the British Broadcasting Corporation (who themselves are launching an Arabic language news channel) and Cable News Network their journalism has exposed the inner workings of Middle Eastern governments and even some terror operations.
But they have also been accused of fomenting terrorist activity such that the Coalition governing Iraq which is building its own government have excluded the network from that wartorn country.
Of course we all know that AlJazeera have aired a number of videos featuring AlQaeda mastermind Osama BinLaden. Admittedly I used to see AlJazeera as the terrorist's primary mouthpiece.
But then I started reading articles from the AlJazeera English website (see their logo on the right and click that to get that news source) and after careful analysis of their articles which come sometimes from their own reporters and other times from other agencies I have come to this conclusion:
I admit that a fair amount of AlJazeera's reportage about the United States and Israel is negative especially with regard to the American-led War On Terror and efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq to quash AlQaeda and other corruptors of the Islamic faith and the endless moves Israel must employ to deal with terrorist activities by Israeli Arabs not satisfied with having to live under Israeli law whilst on Israeli land respectively.
However when it comes to the reportage of other issues from round the world, from South Asia to the East Indies to Latin America to Europe, and with regard even to business and science and technology, and even on other matters in America and the Middle East, AlJazeera actually perform a very useful service and some of their reports are very well written with a fairly objective point of view. I myself have used a number of their articles in my forums for discussion and some of them have proven very pivotal in bolstering my arguments in debates.
Of course they are not quite as objective as Fox News or the BBC (see their logos to the right and click those for their respective news stories) but then again that is sometimes difficult in the international media.
However I have a lot to say about the international media, which has a number of outlets that deserve to be placed in the independent media category as opposed to the controlled media.
These are good examples of independent media outlets:
(USA) Fox News, Newsmax, World Net Daily, Front Page Magazine, Drudge Report, Washington Times, New York Post, Cybercast News Service, National Review, Conservative Chronicle, The Limbaugh Letter, Reason Magazine
(UK) BBC News, The Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, Max Power Magazine, AlJazeera.com (not related to AlJazeera.net, the website for AlJazeera International, the parent of the news channel being described here; their articles are more radical compared to AlJazeera.net but more interactive, allowing for input from visitors and readers, more about them later)
(International) AlJazeera.net (Qatar) (The very focus of this article), Channel News Asia (Singapore), Deutsche Welle (Germany), Expatica (France), Interfax (Russia), Daily Star of Lebanon, Turkish Press, Israel Net Daily, ABC News (Australia), SBS News (Australia), News24 (South Africa), SABC News (South Africa), Independent Online (South Africa), NDTV (India), Rediff (India), Asia Times (Hong Kong), CBC News (Canada), CTV News (Canada)
All of the above news sources can be trusted to give you fair balanced objective and unbiased coverage, though Asia Times sometimes has strong partisan commentaries both pro and con America alike.
Honourable mentions include China Daily and Xinhua: Those may be government organs but compared to CNN they actually appear somewhat reasonable with a more moderate bias.
These are examples of the controlled media:
The American ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, CNBC News, MSNBC News, CNN, PBS News Hour, National Public Radio, Air America Radio, Time Magazine, US News & World Report, Newsweek, The New Republic, The Nation, Rolling Stone, Media Matters, Bartcop, MoveOn.org, Common Dreams, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, St Louis Post-Dispatch, Atlanta Journal and Constitution
ALL OF THOSE media outlets MUST be approached with the greatest of caution especially given that irrational partisan hatred plagues their collective reportages. I have found significantly less bias in AlJazeera articles than have I found in reports from, say, the American ABC or CNN.
The controlled media putlets obsess over trying to force a media coup and stealing power from the people and selecting Democrats across the board in order to force George Walker Bush---the first popularly elected president since 1988---out of office with their lying liberal sayso, treasonously fomenting seditious attitudes and glorifying Cindy Sheehan as everywoman in effort to select another Democrat dictator on the order of their never-elected media puppet Bill Clinton whom they anointed twice in the 1990s then failed to anoint Al Gore in 2000 or John Kerry in 2004.
I have seen relatively little of that in AlJazeera's reportage, but when I have they have tended to be more objective than the controlled media have been.
And sometimes you find the most fascinating articles from AlJazeera, like the Malaysian government's recent decision to mix in palm oil with diesel fuel for government vehicles and a South African petrochemicals group planning soybean-based fuels.
I give them credit for challenging the official editions of state media which in that part of the world is usually run with a tight grip from the governments of the Middle East or South Asia or even the East Indies, where AlJazeera have opened a primary bureau to go along with their Washington bureau, a pivotal office in their bid to get picked up by American cable and satellite television services.
And Sir David Frost from the BBC and Dave Marash from the American ABC could have gone with a far worse news outlet. After all, one of Mr Marash's former colleagues, Aaron Brown, did leave ABC for CNN...and found himself dissatisfied.
Maybe he could find work at AlJazeera International himself.
Even their former colleague Ted Koppel---the longtime anchor of Nightline---admitted himself that AlJazeera were not trying to glorify BinLaden or terrorism but were merely reporting what news networks would normally report.
And AlJazeera reports of the BinLaden videos are decently written but have a long way to go in being of ultimate quality.
However even American controlled media outlets...including Mr Marash's former employer, ABC News...would come a long way uphill if they started adapting AlJazeera's techniques and commitment to unbiased coverage. It would be too much to ask them to try to match Fox News or the BBC.
So what is the REAL threat from AlJazeera.net? Far less than you might think. However AlJazeera will invigourate news competition in North America as it has elsewhere; the controlled media outlets will have some stiff competition. Only Fox News appears safe. The only real challenge Fox News will face is if the BBC come to the US. But initially the Beeb will kick most networks' backsides into the mud.

MORE ABOUT ALJAZEERA.COM
AlJazeera.com belongs to a British magazine that has been publishing articles about Muslim affairs for 13 years and narrowly beat out AlJazeera International for the domain. That left AlJazeera having to settle for AlJazeera.net in what was derisively dubbed a cheesier domain by a columnist.
But the suffix of your URL for your domain shouldn't bother you; it is the quality of the content that matters more.
AlJazeera.com has some fairly incendiary articles and discussions but they are more interactive than even Fox News. Many of their anti-American articles have long strings of pro-Americans commenting as well as the antis. And the good editors and hosts, including Dr Kareem BinJabbar and Sheikha Sajida, hold court with an interface that insists upon shunning single figure numbers, references to race and religion, vulgarities, and special punctuations.
AlJazeera.com is also underestimated as well.

Conservatives who worry about AlJazeera making its presence known on American television will have nothing to fear. If anyone has anything to fear it is liberals who fear that AlJazeera will further cut into the already depressed audiences of CNN, MSNBC, and the old line networks.
If anything the conservatives could stand to follow some of their articles then compare AlJazeera articles to let's say those from CNN or MSNBC about the same topics. More than likely they will find that though they fall short of the gold standards of Fox News and the BBC they still run circles round the controlled media in America with regards to quality of reportage.

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