Why do we have to almost depend upon Al Jazeera for the news?

I really don’t know what to make of it, but I’m getting more of a feel for what is going on in the Middle East and even elsewhere from watching Al Jazeera (or is it Aljazeera — one word?), which until recently was thought of as an Islamist propaganda tool, than I am from many of the usual American sources.

I’m sure those who run this Arab news entity have their own point of view, but they have become quite sophisticated and worldly about it and it sounds awful informative to me. I find the Al Jazeera English live stream available on the internet quite intriguing.

I hope I’m not being duped, but they seem to be presenting some real news and analysis here with a lot wider view and certainly a different perspective than seems to be available elsewhere. And while the presenters sound well educated and quite articulate, you get the impression they are trying to play up the news and not themselves, as is the case on American networks.

I notice that our own Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has been impressed with the work of Al Jazeera too: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/03/hillary-clinton-calls-al-_n_830890.html

(I know if Rush Limburger Cheese or his ilk read this they’d say I (as well as Hillary) was a dupe of the Islamists, but really what useful input have they, Limburger et al., ever had on intelligent discussion of national and world events? All they do is demagogue the airwaves for ratings and profit and only pretend to be patriots — hiding the fact that they were to a man cowards when they were draft age.)

If you want a comprehensive world view of the news you won’t get much from American media. The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) does an excellent job, and now Al Jazeera seems to be vying for the top spot as well.

I realize that Al Jazeera may be run by those who have figured out the best way to get people to go your way is to be the provider of the news — but all I’m saying is that whatever their motive, they seem to be providing a lot that has been missing up until now and do not seem to simply be a propaganda machine (even if some is neatly inserted into their reports).

I have not really been watching and reading Al Jazeera enough to get a complete take on it all, but so far, I find it fascinating.

One compelling aspect of it all is that the presenters and correspondents are so cosmopolitan. You see people with various shades of skin color, and on the English live stream, you hear them talking in better English than most of us use, and more sophisticated — but at the same time understandable — than U.S. broadcasters often seem.

(They kind of remind be of East Indian Doctors — maddeningly smart and well spoken.)

I suppose part of the problem is that U.S. news outlets have to make money so they have gone the way of show business, while Al Jazeera has the backing of a rich Arab (or Arabs).

The BBC is a state-run media that seems to take a world view (and probably longs for the days when the sun never set on the British Empire).

If you haven’t caught it, you ought to give Al Jazeera a look see. The more sources the better — you always have to sift out the propaganda, no matter where it’s from.

I notice on Google there seems to be two choices, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera English live stream. I usually click onto the live stream to get running video update on the news: http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

ADD1:

Public broadcasting (PBS and NPR) in the U.S. also offers an alternative and can be quite informative, if a little anemic and left leaning at times.

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