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  • Technorati: graph / links

    US news vs British 24 news


    by Sunny on 5th January, 2008 at 7:34 AM    

    So I spent most of today, the day after the Iowa elections where Barack Obama stormed to the front, watching the 24 hour news channels. CNN, MSNBC etc, occasionally even Fox to see what they were up to.

    What strikes me about American broadcast news media is how great they are at repackaging the same stories over the course of the day in different ways to keep you hooked.

    You see, BBC News 24 or Sky News make this assumption that we watch them only for 15 min - 30 min bursts. Watch either for an hour and you can see the headlines, stories and transcripts repeat themselves. To avoid an overwhelming feeling of deja vu, you have to switch off after that.

    Over here they might have the same stories… actually, they had only one story - the elections, and yet each station has like 15 different presenters (per hour) and 200 commentators over the day to discuss the elections. You may get the niggly feeling by the end of the day that the news agenda hasn’t actually moved since the past 5 hours, but it’s a lot more fun watching it.

    Of course, American news channels don’t really bother with international stories, or even a broad range of domestic stories, but somehow they are a lot more gripping than British news channels. And their presenters have more flair. Why can’t we have more of that in the UK (without losing that broad news coverage)?

    Update Desi Italiana takes issue with me in the comments, saying: “We have ‘flair;’ and that’s because what we do is not ‘news’ but infotainment. We need more hard hitting reporting.”

    I don’t disagree with her, but if I wanted hard-hitting investigative or in-depth reporting, I’d head to Borders and grab one of the many excellent political magazines they have here: The New Yorker, NY Mag, Mother Jones, Harpers, The Atlantic, New Republic, American Prospect etc etc. I can’t remember half the names, all I remember is spending inordinate amounts of time at Borders.


         
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    1. Desi Italiana — on 5th January, 2008 at 7:44 AM  

      “somehow they are a lot more gripping than British news channels. And their presenters have more flair. Why can’t we have more of that in the UK (without losing that broad news coverage)?”

      Sunny, no offense, but I hope you are joking when you say this. Our news coverage is really awful, our press is in a deep crisis; very, very few news media are actually doing their job, and the structure of journalism in the US has produced a journalism that is not really doing journalism.

      I’m really, really disappointed that you would say that you enjoy the “flair” and hope that the British media comes off as this way. We have “flair;” and that’s because what we do is not “news” but infotainment. We need more hard hitting reporting.

      “What strikes me about American broadcast news media is how great they are at repackaging the same stories over the course of the day in different ways to keep you hooked.”

      This is the problem- repackaging the same fucking stories rather than reporting on a plurality of issues, and even when they spend an inordinate amount of time on the same issue, you come away feeling like you haven’t really learned anything concrete.

    2. Sunny — on 5th January, 2008 at 7:49 AM  

      Heh. Notice I didn’t say the breadth of coverage was any good.

      The thing is though, I would still rather watch 5 straight hours of CNN or MSNBC rather than BBC News 24. The latter kills you with its repetitive nature.

    3. Desi Italiana — on 5th January, 2008 at 7:51 AM  

      How do you present news on, say, genocide with “flair”? Or Hurricane Katrina? How about discussing the war in Iraq with “flair”?

      Presenting things in an interesting way is one thing and a completely valid objective; journalists striving to have “flair” makes you not really practice journalism in the end.

    4. Desi Italiana — on 5th January, 2008 at 7:53 AM  

      Sunny:

      “Heh. Notice I didn’t say the breadth of coverage was any good.”

      Yes, I did notice that, and my criticisms applied to the Iowa coverage as well. In light of the elections and Iowa coverage, it is the same thing.

      BTW, why are you watching FOX and CNN beyond wanting to see what the definition of well funded but crappy coverage looks like???????

    5. halima — on 5th January, 2008 at 8:18 AM  

      Hmmm. Not convinced US news is more arresting.. Some might say that all the flair, charm and style serves one purpose: to stop you from actually reflecting on the news much, but be entertained.

      I guess the point of news is not to entertain, but inform…. Sounding terribly old fashioned and public service minded, but I think the BBC charter had a point once.

      Interesting to ask what are the benefits and differences between wholly publicy owned service (BBC), commercially funded but publicy owned ( Channel 4) and the wholl commercially funded models in the US and what this means for journalism etc.. Guess this throws up more than an analogy on US/British TV .. and takes us to the role of media in democracies.

      Personally if i were a bloke, I wouldn’t be paying attention to the news when the charming female news readers read the news to me .. but hold on, wasn’t that the point of BBC news 24 service .. lone, male business travellor in hotel somewhere in the world.. Give me the world service anytime on radio.

    6. faz — on 5th January, 2008 at 8:32 AM  

      just saw Obama’s victory speech http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/iowavictoryspeech/

      Pretty powerful!

    7. Sunny — on 5th January, 2008 at 9:29 AM  

      Desi - what do you suggest otherwise?

      Halima - I’m only referring here to my experiences in watching BBC News 24 at home and CNN from home (in LA).

    8. Desi Italiana — on 5th January, 2008 at 9:42 AM  

      “Desi - what do you suggest otherwise?”

      Reporting, giving news and informed analysis, not flair and polished products! Are we supposed to watch a soap opera and vote for the best performance, or are we supposed to vote for the president? And it doesn’t help that politicians and their campaign managers will craft every single speech and sentence with the current media state we have, ie sound good for the “flair”!

      Come on, Sunny, I can’t believe you asked me this!!!

    9. digitalcntrl — on 5th January, 2008 at 9:55 AM  

      “Reporting, giving news and informed analysis, not flair and polished products! Are we supposed to watch a soap opera and vote for the best performance, or are we supposed to vote for the president? And it doesn’t help that politicians and their campaign managers will craft every single speech and sentence with the current media state we have, ie sound good for the “flair”!”

      Give the people what we want. Most Americans prefer reading the gossip column to serious international news. Most American news media closed down their international bureaus years ago due to lack of interest. Well I guess Britney Spear’s mental meltdown is more interesting than instability and terrorism in some stan.

    10. Desi Italiana — on 5th January, 2008 at 10:19 AM  

      “Give the people what we want. Most Americans prefer reading the gossip column to serious international news.”

      This is not true; and unless you can provide some back-up for this assertion, I’m inclined to dismiss your comment. Don’t mistake trashy ubiquity of low quality garbage for “this is what Americans want.” We don’t really have a say in what we get to see in our news and TV; we choose what is on the menu, and the menu sucks.

      If you want to get into WHY the menu sucks, I’ll be happy to explain. It has to do with the economy and structure of journalism in the US, monopoly of media (both news and not) concentrated in the hands of the few, and deregulation. But it’s not simply “What Americans want.”

    11. Genghis — on 5th January, 2008 at 11:39 AM  

      ‘but somehow they are a lot more gripping than British news channels. And their presenters have more flair. Why can’t we have more of that in the UK (without losing that broad news coverage)?’

      IMO, the American presenters on News channels are pretty poor in comparison to UK Presenters. More flair? no thanks. I prefer the Jon Snow types we have over here.

    12. Steve — on 5th January, 2008 at 1:14 PM  

      We dont have real “news” channels in the Yoo Kay, we have “Selective News” Channels, Misinformation and propaganda channels, they go with one “Non-story” (Big brother, britnesy Spears, orchestrated “Race rows or racism” etc) time after time, continuously, to bury all the real news, no doubt on the McBritish governments orders.

      If you want the real news go online, be quick though cos that will be stamped upon no doubt in the future.

    13. Sid — on 5th January, 2008 at 1:16 PM  

      I agree with Sunny’s point that the news delivery in the US is far more appealing than it is here in the UK. But are you sure you’re not preferring style over content. Because the content of US TV news is absolutely dire. How and why do people consume serious news dumbed down to such an extent, with little or no analysis, whole segments with their own backing music playing in the background like some kind of movie soundtrack, the almost total dearth of international news. To use an Ameicanism and say it SUCKS would be an understatement. Give me BBC Newsnight any day.

    14. Genghis — on 5th January, 2008 at 2:47 PM  

      ‘Give me BBC Newsnight any day’

      Spot on.

      Fox News? CNN? CNBC? ABC? Rubbish!

    15. Anil — on 5th January, 2008 at 4:08 PM  

      Sunny:

      “The latter kills you with its repetitive nature.”

      If the alternative is watching 5 straight hours of CNN, then perhaps the BBC is saving you from yourself. ;)

    16. Don — on 5th January, 2008 at 4:28 PM  

      The only US current affairs programme that I have found clearly superior to its UK equivalent is ‘The Daily Show’.

      Who actually needs 24 hour news coverage? If it came to a choice between News 24 and the World Service, no contest.

      And Anil is right. Five hours of CNN? Are you sure you didn’t have a touch of flu? I have heard there are strands of flu that can make five hours of snooker seem reasonable.

    17. leon — on 5th January, 2008 at 5:46 PM  

      Some might say that all the flair, charm and style serves one purpose: to stop you from actually reflecting on the news much, but be entertained.

      Very true.

      Time for my regular Noam Chomsky plug: read Manufacturing Consent (in fact a great deal of what he’s written about the media) everyone!

      Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

      Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda

    18. Katy Newton — on 5th January, 2008 at 6:02 PM  

      A few years ago - a Winter Olympics year, I can’t remember which one - I’m in NYC and I switch on the television because I’m trying to find out what happened in the Olympics, and this is what I get:

      “Here are the results of the four man bob! Americans came second and fifth! And now the cross-country ski. Americans came fourth, tenth and twelth! And now…”

    19. Rohin — on 5th January, 2008 at 6:02 PM  

      American TV news is utter gash. I can’t believe ANY praise could be sent its way.

      British news is entirely different, but steadily getting worse. And like most things in the UK, it’s becoming more American anyway.

    20. Ravi Naik — on 5th January, 2008 at 6:05 PM  

      “Of course, American news channels don’t really bother with international stories, or even a broad range of domestic stories, but somehow they are a lot more gripping than British news channels. And their presenters have more flair. Why can’t we have more of that in the UK (without losing that broad news coverage)?”

      I am sorry to say but in general British news is not really broad when it comes to world coverage: it is still too British and American oriented. The only news stories you get here about South America, Asia, Africa and indeed continental Europe are the most mediatic ones.

      Having said that, news channels are businesses, and there is nothing wrong in making stories more interesting to increase its audience - I don’t believe you need to dumb down news, compromise journalistic integrity and ethics to achieve that. It just takes more effort.

      My problem with US news is that it is too shallow (as opposed to lack of breadth) specially when covering elections. It tends to be satisfied with one-dimensional definitions of candidates: e.g. Kerry the flip-flopper, Obama the unexperienced, Giulliani the tough-on-terror, and so on. As Hundal was saying, there are several political magazines that go deep on issues - but I am sure cutting the crap out of pundits and politicians would be welcomed in mainstream TV news as well.

      I am sure people are sick of yellow and lazy journalism by now. There is a reason why Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are so popular in the US, and why so many people receive their news from comedy and satirical TV shows.

    21. Desi Italiana — on 5th January, 2008 at 8:58 PM  

      “I don’t disagree with her, but if I wanted hard-hitting investigative or in-depth reporting, I’d head to Borders and grab one of the many excellent political magazines they have here”

      Sunny, those presenters that you’ve seen for the presidential elections SHOULD be doing hard reporting- it’s not that TV news is supposed to be “entertaining” without any substance and on the other hand concrete reporting should be relegated to print! It’s the elections for god’s sake, we need all the substance we can get! And judging from the statistics, most people watch the news rather than read. Not everyone has the time (especially since we are on average working many more hours but earning less)to do in depth research on the candidates. This is one of the reasons why journalists exist, and they get paid for giving us news.

      Watching FOX and CNN is basically watching a circus. From the way they report, it doesn’t seem like they are reporting on something as serious as who’s going to be the next president of the world. And because major TV media thrive on quick sound-bites and this absurd framework of infotainment, politicians craft their messages accordingly, while the rest of us denizens are left without knowing what exactly are their positions and proposed solutions.

    22. Desi Italiana — on 5th January, 2008 at 9:01 PM  

      “I don’t disagree with her, but if I wanted hard-hitting investigative or in-depth reporting, I’d head to Borders and grab one of the many excellent political magazines they have here”

      I was unaware that one should expect reporting from those aforementioned magazines while we should expect nothing more than infotainment from the broadcast media…

      BTW, the circulation of those mags is not high in the large scheme of things. Meaning even if they are doing investigative reporting, not many people are getting exposed to it.

      Broadcast TV can do more quality journalism. It’s just that the other factors- monopoly, conglomeration, and deregulation have wreaked havoc on the number of reporters we have, and the quality of journalism you can do.

    23. Desi Italiana — on 5th January, 2008 at 9:03 PM  

      The New Yorker, Harpers, The Nation, and American Prospect do more commentary and analysis than investigative reporting.

    24. Desi Italiana — on 5th January, 2008 at 9:12 PM  

      Although the New Yorker has done some excellent hard reporting, more so than the mags I mentioned in comment #23. So has Harper once in a while.

    25. Desi Italiana — on 5th January, 2008 at 9:38 PM  

      Every once in a while, I’ll catch two TV broadcasts in English- one is French and the other one is German- that we get here on cable during odd hours. Those two programs are in complete contrast to say, FOX and CNN. When you watch them, you’re reminded for example that Africa exists, and- gasp- it has countries, it’s not just one faceless continent! And that there are politics there and many other things besides starving people! And, and, there’s this whole world outside of Western Europe and the US, like little islands and countries we’ve never even heard about. Oh, and not everything is hunky dory in Afghanistan and Iraq, and no, the lives of American soldiers aren’t the singular most important thing we should be concerned about, that Iraqis and Afghanis count, etc. But wait, even Europe is diverse, it’s not only the Brits, French, Germans, and Italians who constitute Europe.

    26. Nyrone — on 5th January, 2008 at 10:29 PM  

      My mother tends to switch between Indian Dramas/Bollywood Songs and News as if they were all the same thing….

      I completely agree with you on practically every single point you’ve made Desi Italiana, but don’t you think this shift from news to info-entertainment has been a long time coming? Is it a consequence of 24-hour rolling news, or what it changing its form earlier?

      I think it’s important to trace the actual psychological reasons why we, as a society are rejecting regular news for gossip-escapism pieces that often distract from the news itself. I do think that Al-Jazeera English are doing exceptional things in terms of broadcast journalism though, but I dont think much can stop our present march to gossipdom….people want it, they dont want real news.

    27. Sunny — on 5th January, 2008 at 10:31 PM  

      If the alternative is watching 5 straight hours of CNN, then perhaps the BBC is saving you from yourself.

      hahaha! Nice… but I’m a news junkie. I can go through the entire day just watching and flicking between news channels. The problem is, they’re all so crap :(

      I think my perfect news channel would have the breadth of reporting of Al Jazeera, the seriousness and willingness to ask difficult questions like the BBC, and the flair and style of CNN.

    28. Sunny — on 5th January, 2008 at 10:37 PM  

      But wait, even Europe is diverse, it’s not only the Brits, French, Germans, and Italians who constitute Europe.

      I don’t think you’re reading what I’ve been writing Desi.

      My point here was never about the breadth of coverage. One would be pretty stupid to think that American news television covers a wide range of important news. Of course it doesn’t. I’m talking of the way they cover the news, style of presenting, the graphics, the way they try and approach the same news in different ways etc.

      I don’t think you’ve actually watched BBC News 24 for longer than 30 min. I have… its excruciatingly repetitive after a little while. I actually want to watch a news channel for a whole day…. but have never been engaged for so long. Al Jazeera has great coverage and stories but their presentation is actually quite stale and boring, like the BBC. It’s like… they think we should be watching this instead of giving us incentives to watch it.

    29. Nyrone — on 5th January, 2008 at 11:55 PM  

      Sunny, I think there might be a conflict of interest issue here.

      As a news junkie, you are obviously in the minority of actually wanting to watch it for a whole day.

      Is news created to be consumed over a whole day by static audience? If BBC News 24 is repetitive of the facts, isn’t that a good thing? rather than play on the side of the endless speculation industry.

      I’m surprised you found the delivery of AJE boring. It works differently, in that it has various 30-min doc strands and 15-min reports rather than endless debates on the hot news stories of the day…I could watch AJE for hours. There emphasis on global news reporting has really won me over..I can’t believe how ignorant and uninformed I was on African issues.

      On a slightly different note, does anyone else read Iran-funded Press TV? It’s not bad!

    30. Terry — on 6th January, 2008 at 1:18 AM  

      Re #28 - Sunny, Al Jazeera English not only trumps the BBC and American networks in terms of breadth, but also in terms of style and depth. You’ll frequently see documentaries and extended reports on very recent news stories, often hosted by a mixture of International AND local journalists (coverage of the unfolding situation in Pakistan has been excellent since the Red Mosque siege - similarly in Kenya). It might not be entertaining/exciting in the same way that Fox News or CNN is, but it is more interesting and this means that you can sit down and watch it for over 30mins! When you do so, you begin to notice the legitimate (and often subtle) differences in presentation between the various networks and suddenly the news becomes interesting to watch in itself - as the following article notes… http://www.e-ir.info/?p=99

    31. Sunny — on 6th January, 2008 at 1:24 AM  

      I can’t believe how ignorant and uninformed I was on African issues.

      The Economist is fantastic for perspective on global issues. I read stuff for perspective and news from around the world… for news television I like in-depth analysis and discussion on the big issues. Which is probably why I’m enamoured by it.

    32. Desi Italiana — on 6th January, 2008 at 2:26 AM  

      Sunny,

      “I don’t think you’re reading what I’ve been writing Desi.

      My point here was never about the breadth of coverage. One would be pretty stupid to think that American news television covers a wide range of important news. Of course it doesn’t. I’m talking of the way they cover the news, style of presenting, the graphics, the way they try and approach the same news in different ways etc.”

      I have read what you’ve written, hon. And I’m taking issue with it. Approach- for you, you’d see “flair”- shapes news content. That’s what you don’t seem to be getting. Do you really think that CNN and FOX style “flair” will produce substantive news?

    33. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2008 at 2:52 AM  

      I think I’m with Don. The assupmtion of all 24 hour News Channels is that the rolling agenda justifies them, when it clearly does not.

      There is frankly not enough News, in the infotainment sense of the word, to justify any of the channels.

      Ok. maybe one that actually reported global news.

    34. halima — on 6th January, 2008 at 5:27 AM  

      ‘The Economist is fantastic for perspective on global issues’

      Hmm. I stopped reading the Economist a long time ago, because it’s the worst rag to read for international perspectives, very biased, though still susbcribe for ‘research’ purposes, to see what latest perspectives they peddle.

      The International Herald Tribune, on the other hand, is superb, for such coverage, much much better. A fanstastic example of what US journalism can do..

      Terry

      Also, agree Al-J is very good, very international.. Are you our Terry? If so, Hello!

    35. Terry — on 6th January, 2008 at 9:24 AM  

      Re #31

      Whilst I agree that the Economist offers a valuable perspective, in itself I don’t think it provides a particularly great analysis of African issues. Didn’t it famously dub Africa “The Hopeless Continent[?]” on its front cover a few years back… As halima notes it has its own biases (as does all news coverage, whether explicit or implicit). I don’t think it should be relied upon for African news coverage (nor should any other source - sometimes it’s only when you read a variety of perspectives that you notice they exist and can make an informed choice between them).

      p.s. I don’t think i’m your Terry halima, sorry!

    36. Desi Italiana — on 6th January, 2008 at 10:16 AM  

      Out of all of the media I read, I LOVE Al Jazeera English. They are not perfect, but what’s so incredibly amazing about it is that it finds these unheard of stories in far flung places and does extended coverage on it, interweaving so many aspects into it. Al Jazeera English is one of the few publications that I think does justice to international issues by discussing and placing news items in both the local AND global context.

      Terry:

      “It might not be entertaining/exciting in the same way that Fox News or CNN is,”

      Oh, I disagree. I mean, ALE is not spectacle-like as CNN and FOX are, but I find their presentation extremely interesting which lures me into various news bit.

      Also, my definition of “exciting” is giving exposure to issues that we never hear about, and about people whom we rarely pay attention to these days, like non Americans, non Muslims, and non Arabs. It’s a reminder of the fact that the entire globe is breathing. That’s “exciting” to me.

    37. Desi Italiana — on 6th January, 2008 at 10:28 AM  

      Nyrone,

      “but don’t you think this shift from news to info-entertainment has been a long time coming? Is it a consequence of 24-hour rolling news, or what it changing its form earlier?”

      Yes and no. Shitty newsmaking has always existed (ie “yellow journalism,”), but as I’m very familiar with the machinery and mechanics of American journalism, this dumbed down and watered down infotainment has increased and accelerated exponentially because of the passage of laws and the economic dynamics of the industry. It’s not that good, substantive journalism can’t exist; this can be changed, if only we could alter the structure that journalists are operating in. The extreme importance of ads (like how a “half hour” news broadcast is actually half of that because of all of the commercials) also plays a role in making news managers think that it’s better to make presidential elections seem like we are taken in a tour in a zoo rather than offer information to voters.

      Also, I think the New Media is having an impact. Because of the “real time”-ness of it (like I am communicating with you almost instantly), many news orgs race to the finish line. Also, there are a plethora of diverse voices, and for the two most established newspapers in America- like the NYT and Washington Post, there will be comments telling off the Post and Times writers for their take and/or point of view; editors and writers in the past weren’t directly confronted before like that (doesn’t mean it changes coverage, though). There isn’t that interaction with the receiver and news producer in the TV news realm yet.

    38. Desi Italiana — on 6th January, 2008 at 10:51 AM  

      WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IS A VERY ANGRY COMMENT.

      CNN and FOX are probably the principal sources of broadcast international news.

      Do you know what the “flair” of CNN and FOX has brought to us in the US? A completely sanitized version of war. I remember CNN’s coverage of the first Gulf War. They managed to make war look pretty: pretty, shiny missiles penetrating the air, smooth black Stealth Bombers gliding through the air, and smiling but gruff US soldiers. They didn’t show you what Iraqis blown up by American missiles looked like. They didn’t show you the emaciated Iraqi children following the sanctions.

      Looking back in retrospect, CNN’s coverage of the 1991 Gulf War seemed like a movie production, or something that we would watch during the Air Force shows we have to glorify and deify our military warfare machines. This time around, we’ve seen really cool images of embedded “journalists” who report through night vision goggles as American soldiers in bunkers fire at Iraqi human beings who are shown as green spots on their radar, making it seem like we are playing a video game. How can Americans see what a war looks like, what a war entails if all they see is some glossy images that completely remove the blood, rubble, and havoc that war actually wreaks? Don’t you think this partially plays into why so many Americans initially were gung ho about the war in Iraq? All the other populations who were adamantly against the 2003 war were also populations who knew what war exactly means. We Americans, however, don’t know what it means to hear sirens blaring to notify us that a missile is about to strike.

      Since FOX and CNN have “flair,” it’s obvious that they are not going to do their fucking job as “journalists” and do actual real reporting because that’s too hard and not efficient for news orgs which have high cost news production and depend on manufactured images like really pretty Stealth bombers. They are going to be entertainers. This is exactly why they seem to have the most access to Washington because Washington officials know that they can expect complacency no hard questions, that they will just go along with the ride that Washington provides them.

      In the end, I see CNN and FOX as nothing but propaganda machines in favor of the government and the status quo. To look towards their style of “reporting” as an example and model to emulate is really, really mind-boggling.

    39. halima — on 6th January, 2008 at 11:00 AM  

      Someone said it nicely once - the media is the first casualty of war…

    40. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2008 at 11:13 AM  

      Desi @ 38,

      I take your point entirely. That was damn good stuff. I seem to recall a series of briefings during the first Gulf War where US generals talked over ‘in plane’ video of laser guided bombs, with a sort of detachment from the actual horror that made me wonder why the media bought it so readily. To be frank, it was probably a lot cheaper to take that footage than to have been on the ground. Assuming, right enough, that anyone could have been on the ground. But it certainly turned killing into a computer game.

      The one I recall the most clearly was dubbed ‘The luckiest man in Iraq’ where they had targetted a bridge, and there was a vehicle on it. The vehicle just got off the bridge as the bomb hit. Sure, it was dramatic, but it was also an extremely cheap shot, both morally and financially.

    41. Sunny — on 6th January, 2008 at 11:19 AM  

      Al Jazeera English is one of the few publications

      Eh???

      In the end, I see CNN and FOX as nothing but propaganda machines in favor of the government and the status quo.

      I’m sorry but this is as true of Al-Jazeera as it is of those guys. Al-J may show you the other side of the Palestinian conflict, but how many of them will truly question the murderous ideology of the jihadis?

      There are certain assumptions of values that every media outlet will make of their audience and it will try not to alienate them. Al-J isn’t that different to CNN in that regard.

      Ok, so it covers more issues from far-flung areas… sure. But then it has easy access to Africa from where it’s at and it doesn’t have to turn a profit to justify its existence either folks!

      I’m sorry but sometimes I don’t want to know what what’s happening in some far-flung area of Africa. Sometimes I want three straight hours of debate and commentary on the US elections because I think they’re more relevant to my life than elections in Mali for example. You know?
      Which is why I prefer to read that stuff online or in print, because I can read it if I want to or not.

    42. halima — on 6th January, 2008 at 11:34 AM  

      Sunny

      It would be good to discuss mertis of CNN or Al-J withouth bringing Israel and P into the discussion.

      Kinda preditacbly reduces the parameters of debates and introduces emotions that detract from the debate.

      Aj is more internationally relevant, that was the main point, compared with the other stations. If one is not interested in international affairs, I guess it would be less relevant to them, but it still stands up better on foreign coverage than the American counterparts.. with the exception of IHT which I happily believe is the best print publication around ..

    43. Sunny — on 6th January, 2008 at 11:42 AM  

      It would be good to discuss mertis of CNN or Al-J withouth bringing Israel and P into the discussion.

      Sure, I’m using that as an example.

      For example - Al-J doesn’t seem to spend too much time talking about the state of women across the Arab states, the abuse that takes place or even the terrible conditions that migrant workers work in. There are so many examples. It does good reporting from around the world… but Al-J does not ruffle the feathers of Arab states more than it needs to (except on issues that gets ratings like inviting Israeli generals on screen). I mean it doesn’t seem to do any worthy but non-ratings stuff that annoys govts and people.

      Desi is railing against CNN as if it is the only station that doesn’t tread around the values that its audience holds dear. Hell, there are far more taboos in the Arab world that Al-J doesn’t break.

      I simply don’t believe its more fearless than CNN.

    44. halima — on 6th January, 2008 at 11:52 AM  

      Sunny

      Point taken - I-P is one example, just trying to ensure this thread doesn’t detract from what is an interesting debate.

      I guess with women’s rights, the point is that violations take places in all parts of the world, not just in the Arab world, and Al-J simply aren’t very gender friendly, you could argue.

      CNN, on the other hand, are likely to present stories, excessively on women’s rights or lack of it, in Arab countries and one wonders whether these violations only take place in Arab countries. If you didn’t tune into any other channel, you might be forgiven for thinking these violations only takes place in Arab countries….

    45. Jai — on 6th January, 2008 at 1:39 PM  

      Sunny,

      and the flair and style of CNN…..Al Jazeera has great coverage and stories but their presentation is actually quite stale and boring, like the BBC. It’s like… they think we should be watching this instead of giving us incentives to watch it.

      Agreed completely. Al-Jazeera’s style tends to fluctuate — sometimes it’s great, sometimes not — and, following on from your last sentence above, sometimes a couple of their presenters come across as cold/aloof and even somewhat bored. I think they could learn a lot from CNN’s more slick, polished and generally warmer style, and be better at capturing, drawing in, and holding the audience’s attention.

      Having said that, in terms of overall presentation, Al-J is considerably better than I originally expected.

      Incidentally, the version of CNN we get over here is not the same as the version over in the US. There’s obviously some overlap (and therefore some common anchors and programming), but from what I understand the Americans get a lot more US-specific scheduling and the rest of us get CNN International, with the correspondingly increased weighting towards “foreign” news stories and topics. I wasn’t aware of this until some friends over on Sepia Mutiny mentioned it to me a while back; it certainly explains a lot about the apparent insularity of the “American” version of CNN compared to what the rest of us see.

      FOX do cover a lot of international news stories when it suits their agenda, but personally I find them a little too right-wing and (also) generally too excitable and unprofessional in their presenting style for my liking, especially compared to CNN (who are obviously a lot calmer). They also have a much, much greater weighting towards US-specific stories compared to CNNi. On the flipside, they do have a lot of distracting eye-candy which they’re already notorious for, but I’m sure you’re already aware of that ;) It doesn’t compensate for their tendency towards propaganda and inflammatory rhetoric, though, especially in terms of the “War on Terror”.

      The following statement…..

      I’m sorry but this is as true of Al-Jazeera as it is of those guys. Al-J may show you the other side of the Palestinian conflict, but how many of them will truly question the murderous ideology of the jihadis?…..There are certain assumptions of values that every media outlet will make of their audience and it will try not to alienate them.

      …..is also spot-on, as far as I’m concerned, as is your entire post #43.

      The Economist is fantastic for perspective on global issues.

      Agreed, and its coverage of business, economic, arts issues is great too. I thought the recent xmas “double issue” was excellent as well. The contents are always wide-ranging and thought-provoking, especially the lengthy focused analyses on a particular subject that they regularly undertake (ie. the “special supplements” they include).

    46. Terry — on 6th January, 2008 at 1:52 PM  

      “I’m sorry but sometimes I don’t want to know what what’s happening in some far-flung area of Africa. Sometimes I want three straight hours of debate and commentary on the US elections because I think they’re more relevant to my life than elections in Mali for example. You know?”

      If you want American perspectives on what constitutes news and how it should be covered then Fox or CNN are fine. However, if you [also] want an alternative perspective (with different biases as to what counts as news and how it should be covered) then you’ll have to look beyond those outlets… Al Jazeera provides one such alternative (the argument could also be applied to France 24, RussiaToday and CCTV).

      The BBC and Al Jazeera recently posted the same (word for word in some places) news story taken from international news agencies - yet the headline was (very subtly) different. It maybe demonstrates slightly how diverse (yet I would suggest equally legitimate) readings of the same events might be made - the Afghanistan example in the e-ir.info article (mentioned above) perhaps provide an even better illustration. The point is that unless you follow media with different agendas, these variations are all but invisible - which might explain how Sunny has come to believe that the Economist provides fantastic coverage of Africa! :-p

    47. Terry — on 6th January, 2008 at 1:55 PM  

      (in case anyone is interested - the news story covered by Al Jazeera and the BBC with different headlines can be found below)

      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/964354F9-38AA-4D9F-9E08-86DA244A12F2.htm
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7159569.stm

    48. indianoguy — on 6th January, 2008 at 4:09 PM  

      Sunny, I know what you mean about US news channels having more flair
      flair = Those beautiful female news presenters.
      They are indeed drool inducing and I think its having an effect on your judgment ;-)

      Seriously, I am in complete agreement with Desi Italiana. You wouldn’t want your news channels turn like American ones. Indian news channels are the prime example of that. Indian news channels have picked up loud background music, loud graphics and unnecessary gravitas from American news channels.

    49. Jai — on 6th January, 2008 at 4:51 PM  

      I would still rather watch 5 straight hours of CNN or MSNBC rather than BBC News 24. The latter kills you with its repetitive nature.

      That foxy lady Mishal Husain doesn’t do anything for you, eh Sunny ? *grins and wiggles eyebrows*

    50. Morgoth — on 6th January, 2008 at 5:14 PM  

      All the other populations who were adamantly against the 2003 war were also populations who knew what war exactly means.

      Utter bollocks. They just wanted to stick one up the Americans, even if it meant leaving Saddam and sons in charge for another 50 years. The same swathes of old Europe etc never forgave America for winning the cold war.

    51. Ravi Naik — on 6th January, 2008 at 5:38 PM  

      “They just wanted to stick one up the Americans, even if it meant leaving Saddam and sons in charge for another 50 years”

      The reasoning for not going to war against Iraq is well-documented. In 1994, this anti-war politician said why invading Iraq would be a mistake. :)

    52. Mishal Husain — on 6th January, 2008 at 6:01 PM  

      That foxy lady Mishal Husain doesn’t do anything for you, eh Sunny ? *grins and wiggles eyebrows*

      F*ck off you perv. Don’t even think of including me in your virtual harem.

    53. Jai — on 6th January, 2008 at 6:23 PM  

      “Mishal”, what are your thoughts on the probability of Obama winning the US election, from the perspective of a professional and highly accomplished journalist ? Do you also have any preliminary opinions on whom he will pick to be his VP ?

      I’m sure we’d also be keen to hear your views on the comparative standards of British and American news coverage for both domestic and international issues, especially in relation to the impending American elections and also regarding the so-called War on Terror. You know, again as someone actually working in the industry.

    54. halima — on 6th January, 2008 at 6:42 PM  

      ‘The idea of a news broadcast was once to find someone with information and broadcast it. The idea now is to find someone with ignorance and spread it around.’

      PJ O’Rourke.

      With flair and beauty I should add…

    55. halima — on 6th January, 2008 at 6:58 PM  

      But wouldn’t put Mishal Husain in this box…

    56. Rohin — on 6th January, 2008 at 7:04 PM  

      If we’re veering into hot newsreader territory, let me end this conversation right now with the best thing about French news, Melissa Theuriau.

      One
      Two

    57. halima — on 6th January, 2008 at 7:06 PM  

      Ragi Omar was alright too..Very alright.

    58. halima — on 6th January, 2008 at 7:07 PM  

      There’s a joke in Singapore by the way.. That Singaporean female newsreaders make European ones look like plain janes. Just thought I’d share this intellectual insight.

    59. Desi Italiana — on 6th January, 2008 at 8:29 PM  

      Sunny:

      “but how many of them will truly question the murderous ideology of the jihadis?”

      Are you serious about this? I’ve read plenty of articles that do this. Apparently we are not following the same Al Jazeera.

      “Hell, there are far more taboos in the Arab world that Al-J doesn’t break.”

      Care to give any examples? You seem to make large claims, but if you are saying stuff like this, I’m impelled to think that you are not following it everyday.

      Like I said in one of my earlier comments, Al Jazeera is not perfect. But saying CNN and FOX’s style should be emulated? Give me a break. They represent the hyperbolic of everything that has gone wrong with broadcast journalism. Even we Americans take stabs at it and make fun of them. I guess we’re missing out on something when you say that they excel in “repackaging the same stories” in an exciting way.

    60. Desi Italiana — on 6th January, 2008 at 8:33 PM  

      “Al-J simply aren’t very gender friendly,”

      I’m starting to think that we are not watching and reading the same Al Jazeera in English. There have been loads of issues that they tackled regarding women’s rights not only in the Arab world, but beyond. I’m too tired to go to through the archives to retrieve examples and post the links here.

    61. Desi Italiana — on 6th January, 2008 at 8:36 PM  

      Sunny:

      “Al-J doesn’t seem to spend too much time talking about the state of women across the Arab states, the abuse that takes place or even the terrible conditions that migrant workers work in.”

      Please don’t get angry with me, but this is a load of crap. Utter crap. It’s obvious that you are making this up without even following Al Jazeera. I’ve written many posts on migrant conditions and the position of women, either linking to Al Jazeera articles or using Al Jazeera as a launching base to do more research and link to other pieces. This is false, what you have just written above.

    62. halima — on 6th January, 2008 at 8:39 PM  

      Perhaps they are gender frriendly…I was trying t give Sunny benefit of doubt …

    63. Desi Italiana — on 6th January, 2008 at 8:46 PM  

      Sunny:

      “Desi is railing against CNN as if it is the only station that doesn’t tread around the values that its audience holds dear.”

      Do you know how much of a global reach, as well as US reach CNN has? Do you know that we can watch FOX late at night on basic Italian television? Do you know the market share and the monopoly of the FOX and CNN company?

      Sweetheart, why do you write things without even doing a Google search? You’ve done this several times, like saying that the majority of Indian Americans are South Indians without even providing a link or simply ignoring the comments that ask you to back up your assertion. Now you write that Al Jazeera doesn’t report on taboos in the Arab world, migrants, and the situation of women, which is completely false. You’re flailing here- beating one criticism regarding your flawed claims with another flawed claim.

      You know I love you, but seriously. You are floundering. Don’t lose your credibility by unthinkingly making assertions, unless you have back-up.

    64. Desi Italiana — on 6th January, 2008 at 9:21 PM  

      Sunny, remember you wrote a post on migrant workers in Dubai who are facing racism?

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/624

      You got that via my post on Pass the Roti, which I got from Al Jazeera. You linked to the AJE article as well.

      Al Jazeera’s 3 month investigation into migrant workers in the Gulf States:

      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/9CABEB1E-74D5-42EE-9554-F9FD58F4EE56.htm

      Sri Lankan maids abused in Lebanon:

      english.aljazeera.net/English/archive/archive?ArchiveId=22069

      AJE and Arab women’s rights:

      english.aljazeera.net/English/Archive/Archive?ArchiveID=21530

      Hope for abused women in Dubai:

      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/A935B332-ABD1-46F4-A04D-C0159A3B57D2.htm

      Argentina’s sex slaves: english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/DDA85A7A-2067-4D0E-B2E1-6E828084113F.htm

      There’s more stuff, Sunny. Please define “taboo subjects” in the Arab world and I’ll do the research for you to post links here.

    65. Sunny — on 6th January, 2008 at 9:24 PM  

      Do you know how much of a global reach, as well as US reach CNN has? Do you know that we can watch FOX late at night on basic Italian television?

      The reach is irrelevant, the topic at that moment was specifically about whether Al-J / CNN do ground-breaking reporting or not.

      Now you write that Al Jazeera doesn’t report on taboos in the Arab world, migrants, and the situation of women, which is completely false. You’re flailing here– beating one criticism regarding your flawed claims with another flawed claim.

      Desi, as you very well know, stories are not the same as undercover reporting or campaigns that force governments to change actions.

      Hey, I read the Al-Jazeera English website too, but that isn’t the same as Arabic language programming being broadcast across the Middle East that will embarass Mid East governments and force action on something.

      I know you love me, and vice versa, but… since you’re such an avid follower of the channel why not illustrate some examples of big stories that Al-J has run (in Arabic ideally, not English, because the audiences are different), that have impacted big the Mid East.

      You may argue that AJ-E is different to AJ-A and therefore there isn’t a comparison but I would disagree. AJ-E is the face it presents to the world… but AJ-A is where the real impact lies. I’d love to be told about taboo-busting stories that have had impact in the region where it reigns supreme.

    66. FUNKG — on 6th January, 2008 at 10:00 PM  

      so how comes when im in america they tend to have the ‘cat up a tree’ type story?!

    67. Refresh — on 6th January, 2008 at 10:53 PM  

      What’s happened to you all?

      Are you all sitting there waiting for someone with the highest FIQ (Flesh Index Quotient) to read you their version of the news?

      Sexist bunch.

    68. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2008 at 11:11 PM  

      Rohin @ 56,

      So, we’re going to fight over her, huh?

      Sunny,

      You started out arguing that ‘Murican News 24 was better than UK ‘News 24. From the point of view of engagement.

      You have a cold or a fever, which probably explains why you think any News 24 is worthwhile. I’d advise Lemsips. Read Dons’ comment at 16.

      A rolling news agenda, is, by definition, a crap agenda. And that goes for every media outlet mentioned here, whether it is Fox, Al Jazeera or the bloody BBC. Oops, the bloody ITV.

      If you are going to lecture us on the relative merits of paid, profitable broadcasting, as if that was a criteria, you’d better get it right. Fox and Al Jazeera are both supermarket lost leaders.

    69. Refresh — on 6th January, 2008 at 11:14 PM  

      Here is a piece on the transition to Hi Definition television, if you want to know what pressures people put news readers (and similarly size-zero models) under :

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/dec/12/television.digitaltvradio

      …..Of course, there’s another sad truth at the heart of Keysgate and the switch to high definition - if HDTV shows up all the little differences we have, it will inevitably, given the world we live in, encourage a move to bland uniformity. “I’ve got freckles and I could spend hours disguising them, but I don’t want to,” says Frostrup. “However, it’s the opposite attitude that is now rife throughout HD. That airbrush guarantees a flawless American news-anchor face on every single presenter. But I don’t want everyone on my TV to look like a flawless American news anchor.”

    70. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2008 at 11:42 PM  

      Refresh,

      I love Mariella Frostrup. She is our eras Joan Bakewell.

      Sadly, my affection is not reciprocated.

      Joan Bakewell doesn’t return my calls either.

      This is hard for a man.

      I’m only sayin’

    71. Refresh — on 7th January, 2008 at 12:54 AM  

      Douglas, I would rather have Mariella reading the news (as I preferred Joan Bakewell giving post-watershed social commentary) than Kaplinsky or Fiona Bruce doing the same only later to push away her desk and swirl around in bodystocking with Bruce Forsyth (and £5m contract for the trouble).

      With regards a call from Joan (or Mariela), what number are you dialling?

    72. Rohin — on 7th January, 2008 at 1:01 AM  

      I think it was Michael Buerk (was it?) who bemoaned the state of desk journos these days, saying the main anchors don’t have the experience or hack chops to be presenting the day’s events.

      Much as I love watching beautiful people on TV, I agreed with this wholeheartedly. I much prefer hearing about current affairs from someone I trust, someone whose opinion I respect.

      This can, of course, be countered by saying that the Paxmans and Simpsons do the discussion stuff, so what does it matter who reads the autocue? I can’t necessarily argue with that other than to say it just - to me anyway - trivialises the news. I DON’T actually find the endless stream of young presenters interesting. It’s become like Blue Peter or CBBC - fresh faces, but they won’t last long before being replaced.

      I do expect news presenters to be proper journalists who’ve done a bit of graft.

    73. Refresh — on 7th January, 2008 at 1:28 AM  

      There is a much deeper malaise in the news and current affairs market. I believe it was Mrs Thatcher or her acolytes who seemed very keen for the BBC to stop covering subjects which ‘were of little interest’ to the British public. Their main concern was the amount of coverage given to foreign affairs. Of course this was prior to launching her own wars.

      It was around this time Panorama was completely dumbed down, and ITV lost all interest in current affairs. It was ITV (John Pilger) which exposed Pol Pots activities in Cambodia. And others, murderous US duplicity around the globe.

      Some may remember how both the BBC and ITV covered Vietnam and beyond before losing out to style over substance. I am hopeful that the internet as a source of will force broadcasters to be serious about news and in the process rely more and more on respected bloggers and citizen journalists. I am hoping it will also be a nail in the coffin of celebrity newsreaders.

    74. Refresh — on 7th January, 2008 at 1:30 AM  

      *Correction

      I am hopeful that the internet as a source will force broadcasters to be serious about news and in the process rely more and more on respected bloggers and citizen journalists. I am hoping it will also be a nail in the coffin of celebrity newsreaders.

    75. Desi Italiana — on 7th January, 2008 at 2:52 AM  

      Sunny:

      “I read the Al-Jazeera English website too, but that isn’t the same as Arabic language programming being broadcast across the Middle East that will embarass Mid East governments and force action on something.”

      See, this is what I mean by your making claims but not really backing it up. First of all, we were talking about Al Jazeera English. But now you are talking about Al Jazeera in Arabic. Fair enough.

      A quick question: do you speak and understand Arabic, and do you follow Al Jazeera in Arabic?

      If not, please, please stop making sweeping assertions if you don’t have any knowledge and/or background about what you are saying.

      “Desi, as you very well know, stories are not the same as undercover reporting or campaigns that force governments to change actions.”

      So what you would like to see is a media that is activist- force governments to change. Could you please point to a recent example of a publication/media doing this? Also, do you think that we should expect media to take on an activist role, or simply be the checks and balances that are so crucial to “democracies”; ie be the watchdog?

      “since you’re such an avid follower of the channel why not illustrate some examples of big stories that Al-J has run (in Arabic ideally, not English, because the audiences are different)”

      Like I said above, we were talking about Al Jazeera in English, not in Arabic. Furthermore, I wouldn’t permit myself to taking a stand on Al Jazeera Arabic because I am not fluent in Arabic and I do not follow Al Jazeera in Arabic (at least not for some time now).

      “The reach is irrelevant, the topic at that moment was specifically about whether Al-J / CNN do ground-breaking reporting or not.”

      No, it’s not irrelevant, and the topic under which I was making that point isn’t the one you wrote above. I was talking about the “flair” of CNN that you love, and I was telling you that this flair reporting can have dire effects, precisely because of their ubiquity, and I talked about how CNN’s really wonderful reporting on the Gulf War, and how that affects what people know and think about war.

    76. Katy Newton — on 7th January, 2008 at 3:22 AM  

      Could you please point to a recent example of a publication/media doing this?

      It doesn’t really happen with the news channels, but certainly the British press frequently run overt campaigns to change laws or introduce new ones, both on the left and on the right, and at local and national level.

      My favourite was when the Sun (prop. R. Murdoch) was running a campaign against Britain becoming more closely tied with the EU, which in fairness (and I really don’t want to be fair to the Sun if I can possibly avoid it) had huge ramifications for both law and policy here. Part of the campaign involved a huge banner headline on the front page calling upon all of its readers to travel to Dover (the coast opposite France), put up two fingers and chant “Up yours, Delors” in unison. I don’t know if anyone went, though.

    77. Ravi Naik — on 7th January, 2008 at 8:40 AM  

      “No, it’s not irrelevant, and the topic under which I was making that point isn’t the one you wrote above. I was talking about the “flair” of CNN that you love, and I was telling you that this flair reporting can have dire effects”

      We don’t receive CNN US, but CNN International. For a few days back in 2005, I compared the coverage of both on the web, and boy were they different. CNN International main headlines were about Iraq quagmire. The US version was more focused on entertainment news, and Iraq news were buried and sanitised.

      I don’t agree with Hundal that our news should have more ‘flair’, and there is no reason for anyone to stay more than 30 minutes watching the news. The whole point about 24-hour channel news is that you can watch the news at any time - not all the time.

      But I believe he is right on the mark when he distinguishes between Al-J English and Arabic, which is the same as CNN US and International. They do this because they want to customise their product to their audiences… and governments.

      I think watching or reading CNN, BBC and Al-J is a good way to balance your news intake. Why should we trust only one source? And Hundal, you need to get a girlfriend - it is not that healthy to stay more than 3 hours in front of your TV set. :)

    78. Desi Italiana — on 7th January, 2008 at 9:09 AM  

      “We don’t receive CNN US, but CNN International.”

      I was talking about the CNN in the US, and how CNN’s coverage of both Gulf Wars.

      “But I believe he is right on the mark when he distinguishes between Al-J English and Arabic, which is the same as CNN US and International.”

      Ravi, please forgive me for asking again, but how can you agree with what someone claims about Al Jazeera in Arabic if this person does not understand Arabic? I know it looks like I’m defending AJ in Arabic, but only to the point that it seems ridiculous to me that someone would say “OH, they don’t report on this and that!” when you don’t understand a freaking word of Arabic.

      Seriously, come on. Like I can never say, “Well, the Hebrew press is pathetic and totally different from the Israeli press in English.” Why would I not say that? Because I can’t fucking read Hebrew!

      Tell me how Sunny, Jai, and Ravi can say Al Jazeera in Arabic is like this and that when none of you guys can read, speak, and understand it (as far as I know).

      Or are opinions conjured out of thin air and pass off as fact if stated with authority, conviction, and repetition? ;)

    79. Desi Italiana — on 7th January, 2008 at 9:18 AM  

      Ravi:

      “We don’t receive CNN US, but CNN International.For a few days back in 2005, I compared the coverage of both on the web, and boy were they different.”

      Now, I can look at this comment with a little bit more credibility when making comparisons to CNN International vs. CNN USA. Because they’re both in English, and I am assuming that you are literate in English, Ravi.

      But comparing AJ in English to the one in Arabic? I’ll be interested in the opinions of someone who actually can comprehend the AJ Arabic transmissions!

    80. Desi Italiana — on 7th January, 2008 at 9:24 AM  

      Katy:

      “It doesn’t really happen with the news channels, but certainly the British press frequently run overt campaigns to change laws or introduce new ones, both on the left and on the right, and at local and national level.”

      I guess we can stretch the level of “activism” here and include the Judith Miller’s pieces in the NYT claiming that WMD were found in Iraq.

      Oh, and she was running the military plans as well:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A28385-2003Jun24?language=printer

      This WaPo article is great. Kudos to Kurtz.

    81. Desi Italiana — on 7th January, 2008 at 9:27 AM  

      Now, if we are to talk about print publications in the US, Newsweek has to go. We should have weekly bonfires whereby we burn the latest issues, along with effigies of Karl Rove and the editors of Newsweek.

      And speaking of media personalities, I can’t stand CNN’s Sanjay Gupta for some reason. He irritates me when I see him wobbling in some boat which is cruising along a river.

    82. Ravi Naik — on 7th January, 2008 at 9:43 AM  

      “I was talking about the CNN in the US, and how CNN’s coverage of both Gulf Wars.”

      You were also talking about CNN’s global reach (#65). I am saying that CNN International - based on my superficial research - is different from the CNN you get in the US, which is to say, it is far better. Why is it better? Because CNN wouldn’t get much credibility here in Europe if it sanitised its news on Iraq, whereas CNN US was too scared to be seen as unpatriotic or even lose access to the White House. While I would not put it in the same league with Fox News, I totally agree with you that they are guilty of yellow and lazy journalism. And I certainly would not want that here in Britain.

      I don’t have any proof that Al-J Arabic does not have the same progressive content as Al-J English (as you don’t either), but common sense tells me that it will not have, given that it will be marketed to ultra-conservative societies with repressive governments with no commitment to freedom of speech - and who can close any transmission they don’t like. I have a cynical attitude when it comes to news organisations, and that is why I try to look at different sources to get a clearer picture. And Al-J has no doubt been extremely important in giving the other voice, rather than following the same western narrative.

    83. Ravi Naik — on 7th January, 2008 at 9:56 AM  

      “Now, if we are to talk about print publications in the US, Newsweek has to go. We should have weekly bonfires whereby we burn… He irritates me when I see him”

      Come on, cosa dolce.. it is only the beginning of the year, but your posts seem to display a lot of anger. I am very optimistic this year, I could share some of it with you, if you like. :)

    84. Desi Italiana — on 7th January, 2008 at 10:07 AM  

      Ravi:

      “I don’t have any proof that Al-J Arabic does not have the same progressive content as Al-J English (as you don’t either)”

      Exactly why I have refrained from saying anything about AJ-Arabic’s content!

      “it is only the beginning of the year, but your posts seem to display a lot of anger.”

      If you had to read Newsweek every week like I have to (and really, I have to for work purposes, not because I like reading Newsweek), you’d be really pissed off too.

    85. Morgoth — on 7th January, 2008 at 10:21 AM  

      Ravi,
      he changed his mind. Admirable in a politican, no?

    86. Ravi Naik — on 7th January, 2008 at 10:58 AM  

      Ravi,
      he changed his mind. Admirable in a politican, no?

      No, Morgoth - it is criminal (#51). That he changed his mind knowing well the consequences - everything he said back in 1994 came true. But I am really in a good mood this year, because it represents the last of the Bush era, and people like you are going back to where you should never have left: the lunatic fringe.

    87. Jai — on 7th January, 2008 at 11:05 AM  

      Or are opinions conjured out of thin air and pass off as fact if stated with authority, conviction, and repetition?

      Unlike, for example, stating that several people one has never met and knows very little about (with the exception of Sunny) are unable to “read, speak, and understand” a particular language…..

    88. Jai — on 7th January, 2008 at 2:33 PM  

      Katy,

      Fantastic to see you back here. Am I allowed to give you a friendly hug ?

      If not, how about a “wiggly fingers”, for old times’ sake ? ;)

      I hope your mother is well too.

    89. Ravi Naik — on 7th January, 2008 at 3:21 PM  

      “Obama has said… Clinton is if anything more eager…

      Face it, Ravi, we’ve won.”

      Oh yes, Bush’s presidency is all about winning. That is why you are now siding with Clinton and Obama. :D

    90. Ravi Naik — on 7th January, 2008 at 4:09 PM  

      Actually, I’m siding with McCain and Guliliani.

      But you didn’t mention McCain or Giuliani at all. I wonder why. It is the second time today that you talked about Obama and Clinton in a positive way. And you even mention them in the context of Bush and neo-cons having won it. Does that sound delusional to you?

    91. Sid — on 7th January, 2008 at 4:26 PM  

      You haven’t brought democracy or freedom or improved quality of life for the Iraqi people by hanging Saddam, no matter how much you delude yourself.

    92. Katy Newton — on 7th January, 2008 at 7:48 PM  

      You may give me a big hug AND do wiggly fingers if you like, Jai.

      *wiggly fingers*

    93. douglas clark — on 7th January, 2008 at 8:41 PM  

      Morgoth,

      Why is it that every solution to every problem you have with the world at large consists of killing folk? Is it because of your background? That the world is a kill or be killed playground for you?

      What Barak Obama said in the debate is exactly right. Go after OBL, no matter where he is. That, sir, is a policing action. Your favourite wee politicians managed to take their collective eye completely off the ball what with their Iraq excursion. There were other ways to destabilise Iraq and turn it around. I am at a total loss to see how a million dead folk adds up to a success.

    94. Jai — on 8th January, 2008 at 11:28 AM  

      You may give me a big hug AND do wiggly fingers if you like, Jai.

      Consider it done, Katy ! :)

    95. Morgoth — on 8th January, 2008 at 12:12 PM  

      That the world is a kill or be killed playground for you?

      It is a kill or be killed playground for our enemies, Douglas.

      Regarding your Iraq point, I disagree. Even on the 12th September it was obvious that large sections of people simply would not countenance any action against Bin Laden, and that the “We are all Americans now” was a myth.

      If Iraq had not gone ahead (and your “1 million” is ludicrous bollocks, btw, read the latest National Journal for background on that), people like you would shift the goalposts against the US.

    96. Ravi Naik — on 8th January, 2008 at 12:34 PM  

      “It is a kill or be killed playground for our enemies”

      “Our” enemies are not the same Morgoth - as you and anyone who thinks in those black-and-white terms - are part of the problem, not the solution. When we start reducing ourselves to the level of our enemies, then we become no better than them.

      What is really sad, Morgoth, is that your narrative is so old and imbecile, and not even the most right-wing hack these days dares to bring up Saddam, democratic Iraq, purple fingers, or even Bush. That’s how ridiculous you have become. That you even contemplate to bring Obama - the anti-war candidate, and Clinton as a sign that you’ve won, just shows how unhinged and delusional you are.

      That is how your brain is protecting your ego: it is giving you the bluepill.

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