Apparently Muslims have learned a thing or two from America after all, according to Fouad Ajami, who complains that the Al Jazeera television network is guilty of "the Hollywoodization of news ... with an abandon that would make the Fox News Channel blush." Ajami notes that "Al Jazeera's reporters and editors have no qualms about challenging the wisdom of today's Arab rulers. Indeed, Al Jazeera has been rebuked by the governments of Libya and Tunisia for giving opposition leaders from those countries significant air time.
"So how come media objectivity is suddenly a bad thing?" asks columnist Michael Kinsley. "Conservative press critics are in another tizzy about objectivity and balance in American journalism. Only this time, their complaint isn't the lack of these fine qualities but that there's way too much of the stuff. ... The traditional conservative media critique is that journalists bend the news in a liberal direction because they're liberals.
"Here's one sure thing you can learn from watching TV: Almost all of the people who seem to know anything are men," comments Washington Post writer Paul Farhi. "Men know about Afghanistan. They know about anthrax. They know foreign policy and military strategy. They know about terrorism and counter-terrorism.
A New York Times story headlined "Network Coverage a Target Of Fire From Conservatives" reports that the far-right Media Research Center (MRC) is successfully attacking news media coverage of the war, especially ABC TV, for lack of patriotism. MRC is a powerful tax-exempt PR and lobby operation begun in 1987 by L.
Government needs the media on its side to keep public support in times of war. Journalist Phillip Knightley writes for the Public I, "In democracies like Britain and Australia, with a powerful press and a tradition of dissent, or like the United States, where freedom of expression is constitutionally guaranteed, the media cannot be coerced into supporting the war. They have to be seduced or intimidated into self-censorship.
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting writes: "During the weeks following September's terrorist attacks, two leading dailies used their op-ed pages as an echo chamber for the government's official policy of military response, mostly ignoring dissenters and policy critics.
Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times examines some of the different ways in which TV networks are marketing the war in the US and abroad. CNN in the US has been careful not to transmit too many images of the Afghan civilian victims of US bombings, but CNN International is showing the rest of the world different images. In other words CNN is targeting audiences by supplying the different images their different viewers most want to see, typical in the world of TV marketing and ratings wars.
Jerold M. Starr, executive director of Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting, takes an in-depth look at the Public Broadcasting Service in a series of article for TomPaine.com. In part three, Starr writes, "It is times like these that Americans need a truly independent public broadcasting service.
Pacifica Foundation vice chairman Ken Ford is playing the "terrorist card" at the formerly progressive radio network, currently in a financial crisis as it faces mounting bills from lawyers and PR firms. Outside vendors are not being paid, employee paychecks are in question, and four lawsuits alleging everything from financial malfeasance to by-law violations are scheduled to go to trial in January. Responding to charges of mismanagement, Ford characterized critics of Pacifica as "zealots," adding, "I see parallels between this group and al Qaeda, the terrorists who bombed New York.
American people remain largely uninformed about the many foreign policy decisions (including aiding in the overthrow of leaders in Iran and bombing Lebanon, Afghanistan, Sudan and Libya) that have inflamed much of the Islamic world. We instead are told that we are hated because we are rich, free and angelic. Nor are most Americans aware that Central Asia, according to the Oil and World Journal, will account for 80 percent of our oil by 2050, and that some people with connections to the Bush administration have commercial interests in that exploration.