The announcement that al-Jazeera is buying Al Gore’s Current TV network can be expected to run into what pundits call “a serious image problem.” Allowing the Qatar-based, Arab-owned network to be seen in 40 million U.S. households may be more than our fragile citizenry can bear.
With its alleged positions against U.S. foreign policies and wars, al-Jazeera is just too “left” to be allowed access to our fearful public.
Has anyone noticed that much of the world is “left” of the United States?
Because of my occasional appearances on al-Jazeera news shows, and having written opinion pieces for its Web site, I can be accused of knowing on which side my pita is being buttered. Fair enough. And my experiences with al-Jazeera will only confirm the obvious. In its selection of stories and editorial slants, it is to the left of mainstream American media.
Al-Jazeera is also an outlet of professional journalists, generally well-informed and seeking to at least appear balanced. No one has ever suggested to me what to say or write. The network may present Arab voices, but its coverage includes more of the world than this parochial image allows. From oppressed native tribes in Peru to Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa, al-Jazeera reports undercovered news. Its reporters may be pro-Palestinian, but the network provides a rare platform in a region where Israeli officials and dissenters can both appear.