Al Jazeera—Just the News
I’ve been a news junkie for decades. Reed Richardson’s “Can Al Jazeera America Save Cable News?” [April 28] is most welcome. By accident I tuned in to AJAM’s first broadcast, and I’ve been watching ever since. I met Ali Velshi and introduced him as a CNN man, but he said, “I’m moving to Al Jazeera.” Other great journalists have moved over as well. My favorite, from PBS, Ray Suarez, holds forth on the new network with his usual grace.
It was painfully obvious years ago that CNN was losing its way, with more glamor and glitz and less substance, all the lovely young women (sex should not be used to sell facts and truth), and the deification of Anderson Cooper. We must continue to aspire to the highest standards.
It is refreshing to watch an underdog work at being objective and informative. It is better than CNN by a long shot.
Reed Richardson writes about the “big bet on…intrepid, unbiased, long-form TV journalism” by Al Jazeera America, and its CEO asserts it does “hard-core journalistic reporting, not biased, not for entertainment, but fact-based.” But it is impossible for journalists, photographers, editors, producers and owners to escape some bias, even though they try to avoid it. I am just as skeptical of a network owned by the Qatari royal family as of one owned by Ted Turner or Rupert Murdoch—or of articles in The Nation. Having diverse information sources is helpful, so even if some bias creeps in at AJAM, I hope it succeeds.
Al Jazeera isn’t all that objective. When Putin sent troops into Ukraine, it reacted like all the networks, vilifying Putin and ignoring the rescinding of the Reagan-Gorbachev agreement not to expand NATO into the former Warsaw Pact countries.
I watch AJAM when I visit my son (my service won’t carry it). I love the clean reporting and that there are no celebrity journalists.
I used to watch Al Jazeera English streaming on the web. It was so superior to the watered-down news now shown on cable as Al Jazeera America. When I try to stream the old Al Jazeera, I get this message: “The video you are trying to watch cannot be viewed from your current location. Visit aljazeera.com/america to view content available in the U.S.” If it looks like censorship, it probably is. Or do they think we Americans just can’t take the full story?
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