Bassam Sebti

Al Jazeera Delivers Lesson in Journalism to U.S.

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America was founded upon the principle of liberty and freedom, but guess who was covering the quest for freedom in Tunisia extensively yesterday? Al Jazeera, not the American news TV Networks.

I am utterly disgusted by how American TV channels have abandoned an important historic event of our time. Tunisian people took to the streets and toppled a Saddam-like totalitarian regime, but their voices and images from their revolution did not make it to the American viewers.

CNN, FOX News and MSNBC were busy interviewing celebrities and discussing pet-related stories.

At work, I was able to follow Al Jazeera’s minute-by-minute coverage of the revolution through my iPhone. The Qatari network has an iPhone app that live broadcasts their news, in addition to its presence on Facebook, Twitter and Al Jazeera Blogs.

It was simply everywhere and for free!

Tech Crunch, a popular Web publication that offers technology news and analysis, summed it up in this article on how American news networks failed in covering the news. The article discussed how tweeps criticized American TV networks that were busy broadcasting news related to Marta Stewart’s dog and a guy who was arrested for drunk-driving a donkey in Texas on MSNBC, while CNN was busy interviewing the Jeopardy host about a robot contestant.

This is not journalism. What Al Jazeera did is!

And thanks to the social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook that brought the news to the American public, along with a few articles American newspapers published later in the afternoon yesterday.

Many know that Al Jazeera is unavailable in most American states, the thing that deprives millions of American viewers of watching breaking news with real, good reporting.

Making Al Jazeera, or at least BBC World (not the awful BBC America) available on air, cable or satellite will provide Americans with an alternate source to watch real news, not the heroic rescue attempt of a puppy who was stuck in a freezing river.

Shame on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News for intentionally ignoring a gripping event that will directly affect the United States’ foreign policy if such a revolution is spread across the whole Arab world.

7 Responses to Al Jazeera Delivers Lesson in Journalism to U.S.

  1. chris john 01/02/2011 at 4:52 AM

    The entire US Media is controlled by zionist jews who filter all essential news and only show what is good for them, not the American citizens.

  2. Dani Levi 20/01/2011 at 2:54 PM

    Relax Bassam, what might seem like an earth shattering event to some is far away for others. Main stream US media has lost its footing many years ago, not just things concerning Arab democracy. The above US channels need to be seen more as platforms to sell advertising than information portals, seriously. No intelligent person in the US watches this rubbish, as it has next to no info content. People read and listen to the radio. And before you mouth off over the US press, please make sure people in the Arab world can read probably and are moving towards a civil society as a whole. Criticizing the USA will not bring about the needed cultural shift in the Arab world. The US is an important player, but it is the people on the ground who have to change their way of dealing( Iraq being a good example, they just get democracy do they? ). I would welcome it if you turned you sharp words towards local issues. There are enough people screaming at/in the USA. If half the dudes who criticized the USA did the same in the Arab world we’d be a whole lot closer to where we need to be. Here is a good link regarding recent events in Tunisia
    Enjoy! My favorite is #30, truly a classic.

  3. UJ 18/01/2011 at 2:33 PM

    Ah yes, another post framed in the Arab world’s favorite pastime…beating up on the U.S. If you cared to actually look at U.S. news outlets, two of the biggest news website (NY Times and MSNBC) had Tunisia as the lead story for a good deal of time. It still appears on many of their homepages. Of course, Al Jazeera did a good job. But who are you to demand what should be on television? And why focus on the U.S.? Where is your analysis of other countries’ coverage of Tunisia? How about coverage in Arab countries besides what’s on Al Jaz? Why are you focusing on the U.S.? Oh right, because you blame America for everthing.

    And, by the way, BBC World is most certainly available in a majority of U.S. households subscribing to cable TV.

  4. AJ 18/01/2011 at 6:37 AM

    I totally agree with you. I live in the US, & I for one wouldn’t have heard about Tunisia if not for facebook then Aljazeerah App & site. US news outlets were busy covering nonsense, except for the AZ shooting. Also, BBC America is a disgrace to the globally dependable BBC

  5. razo 18/01/2011 at 6:00 AM

    well said
    great article

  6. Andrew W 18/01/2011 at 5:20 AM

    You might be giving U.S. networks too much credit. Stories here require two essential elements: that the media outlet knows how to tell the story and that the story is understandable by a sufficiently large audience.

    The “how” is missing, since U.S. networks have no capacity in Tunisia. (Based on Google News back to 2006, it looks like CNN hasn’t done a single bit of original reporting about Tunisia prior to this revolution, not to mention since.) They should, of course, recognize the importance of the story and pay to reprint others’ reporting.

    But then the audience is missing too. That’s a failure on a larger scale. But ironically, it’s worth considering whether it’s better to have an uninformed, uninterested American public that wouldn’t know to get involved versus an ill-informed, interested one that demands to be.

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