Saturday, February 12, 2011

Al Jazeera in America

Mike Licht wrote a wonderful post on the xenophobic censoring of Al Jazeera in the United States.

Al Jazeera’s name means “the island” or “the peninsula,” a reference to Qatar, where it was founded. But Al Jazeera English is stranded on a desert island in America — no major cable or satellite provider carries it. Over-the-air provider MHz Networks in Northern Virginia makes AJE available for free here in Washington, so we got real coverage of events in Egypt. The rest of the U.S. got celebrity gossip and blather.
Now, this presents a bit of a dilemma for the true patriot who resents government interference but hates those damn camel jockies even more. What' a real American to do, demand access to Al Jazeera?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. Now, this presents a bit of a dilemma for the true patriot who resents government interference . . .

    Um . . . what "government interference"? Is it your contention that the government is prohibiting major cable and satellite providers from carrying Al Jazeera, rather than said providers having come to the conclusion that it makes no economic sense for them to do so>

    And you've accused me of "anti-government paranoia"!

    Funny stuff.

  2. Ha! I missed the beginning:

    Mike Licht wrote a wonderful post on the xenophobic censoring of Al Jazeera in the Unitùed States.

    It's so darned cute when you try to talk like an adult--"xenophobic censoring"! I'm laughing so hard, I'm in danger of cracking a rib.

    Has it ever occurred to you that the reason that Al Jazeera doesn't have a chance in hell of being popular enough in the U.S. to be remotely profitable is that Americans just ain't interested in loathsome idiocy like this?

  3. Zooroy, if you want information, don't rely exclusively on U.S. news sources.

    Don't rely on any Rupert Murdoch propaganda disinformation media at all.

    It's worth checking out Al Jazeera America online if you're not in an area that gets it on your cable service:

    I try to follow alternate news sources; what we DON'T have here in the U.S. is insightful.

    When I can I try to keep my foreign language skills from getting any rustier than they already are by listening to news that is not in translation. FAR too few Americans speak another language, much less more than one, while in most developed countries being multilingual is a matter of course. The tragedy is that lack of lingustic diversity makes too many of us dependent on what our won media feeds us, and not sufficiently critical of all media.

    I applaud Obama for giving an interview to al jazeera early in his administration.

  4. Dog_gone, I agree that it's wise to get one's news from a wide variety of sources (including international ones), and I make an effort to do that.

    I'll also agree that some proficiency in foreign languages is valuable--I can't claim to have such proficiency (wasn't very strongly emphasized where and when I went to school), but I know enough to wish I could claim it. Perhaps you've heard the joke (Note: if I blow the foreign language parts, remember that I don't claim proficiency in foreign languages):

    Two Americans vacationing in Switzerland were walking down the street, when a man approached.

    "Parlate italiano?" he asks.

    The Americans shrug, uncomprehendingly.

    Undaunted, he tries, "Sprechen Sie Deutsches?"

    Another shrug.

    One last hope: "Parlez-vous français?"

    Nothing. The guy throws up his hands, and stomps off in disgust.

    One of the Americans turns to the other and asks, "Do you think we should learn a foreign language?"

    "Nah," replies the other, "That guy knew three of them, and what good did it do him?"

    My point wasn't really to bash Al Jazeera, Cliff Schecter's idiotic assholery notwithstanding--it's not as if we don't have plenty of that in American media. I was just laughing at our gracious blog host's attempt to paint Al Jazeera's absence from most American TVs as some kind of government censorship, which it very obviously ain't.

  5. I am a little puzzled, what exactly does this have to do with government censorship? Is there actually some government blockage of Al Jazeera, or is it like other suggest, just not economically viable to provide it?


  6. Maybe Zorroy's right and this has nothing to do with the fed and everything to do with business and economics. But, I don't know. Maybe it's one of those lobbying, back-room, influence-peddling kinda things that are orchestrated by the real "owners" of the country, as George Carlin put it.

    It seems pretty naive to say it's just not economically viable therefore not available.

    Even if I am wrong, it's well worth it to read Zorroy's comments. I love it when he lambastes me like that.

  7. A gun-worshiping commenter finds Al Jazeera "loathsome" because its blog carries a post about NRA lobbying. But the piece was not written by an Al Jazeera staffer --it is clearly marked "Opinion" at the top and ends with this disclaimer:

    "The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy."

    Islamophobia aside, U.S. criticism of the Al Jazeera network is based on the absurd premise that those who report events fully and accurately are responsible for causing them. Well-funded hate-mongering lobbies routinely mount capaigns against U.S. broadcasters who express interest in carrying Al Jazeera, and they even instigated Congressional committee hearings on the network. If that chilling effect does not rise to the level of censorship it is not for want of trying.

  8. Mike Licht:

    A gun-worshiping commenter finds Al Jazeera "loathsome" because its blog carries a post about NRA lobbying.

    "Gun-worshiping"? Hardly. I'm not really the worshipful type. I do, of course, respect guns, and am well aware of the axiom that, "Guns are bad news for would-be tyrants*," but I don't see that as worship.

    As for your contention that I "find Al Jazeera 'loathsome,'" that, of course, is not what I said. I called Schecter's blatherings "loathsome idiocy," because that's precisely what it is. I did not call Al Jazeera loathsome, or any other derogatory adjective.

    *In the hands of a resolute citizenry, proficient in the use of firearms, and prepared to use them at need.