Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Al Jazeera International(ly sound?)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Al Jazeera International(ly sound?)

Al-Jazeera. A name most have come to know as the voice of the Middle East. Most Americans who know it, have come to think of it as the voice of the terrorists in certain instances (such as the showing of dead American soldiers and American P.O.W.s on its programing). They feel that its nothing more then jihadist propaganda or a weapon of the terrorists. According to the article "Is Al-Jazeera ready for prime time?" By Corey Pein, Dated April 22, 2005, Al-Jazeera wanted to make a move out of the Muslim/Arab world and into the whole world. This would mean that they would provide broadcasting, in English, in our own country. This is scaring alot of Americans who believe what I previously stated they believe about Al-Jazeera. It is also scaring the American government and of course Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News Channel.

The U.S. government doesn't want influence over here that could spark American Arabs & Muslims to attempt terrorist attacks on the United States again. They feel that Al-Jazeera leans too much to the side of Jihadists and terrorists, and that their programming is to much of a risk to national security. Is this just the American government being too over cautious about national security, or is their some actual evidence that supports their claims. Well for starts, Al-Jazeera showed images of dead Americans and P.O.W.s on their channel, which really pissed the U.S. Government off. It sent signals, that may have not originally been intended, that said that Al-Jazeera completely hated America. Al-Jazeera had stated that their reasons for doing this was because several American news networks showed pictures of dead Iraqis after bombings, almost all of which were civilian, some of which were children. In this you can say that both sides were wrong, but Al-Jazeera's reasons may have been just from their point of view. Still the U.S. government is convinced they support Terrorists, and their is not much that can change that view.

Fox News Channel and Rupert Murdoch are another group against Al-Jazeera going international and coming to America. For starts, you can see why they are strongly against this. Their is rarely a night where Fox News doesn't show a clip from Al-Jazeera, discrediting them. They always support the American government belief that Al-Jazeera is a Terrorist funded propaganda machine, though their reasons for standing against Al-Jazeera's move to the U.S. may be mostly different, though this core reason remains a big part of it. The other big reason that Fox News is strongly against Al-Jazeera coming to the U.S., is because it would become a direct competitor of Fox News ratings. Fox News and Al-Jazeera represent two opposite sides of a coin, Fox News being the extreme right wing station and supporting the war in Iraq and Al-Jazeera being the extreme left wing station and going against the war. Right now Al-Jazeera is limited to only the middle east, so its extreme left wing beliefs can't influence Fox's target market, but if they were to become as wide spread and easily accessible as Fox News, Fox News may have a big treat to the influence it creates. Americans will get a chance to see a stronger influence against Fox News. This is really the main reason why Fox News and Rupert Murdoch are against Al-Jazeera hitting home. Murdoch most likely wants to control a monopoly on public opinion (in a sense).

So what really is Al-Jazeera's reasons for coming to the western world? They stated in the article that they wish to reach the Muslims and Arabs in the world outside the Middle East, that don't speak their native language and may only understand english (Right now, Al-Jazeera is available to them, through a bonus package in some satilight companies, but it is only in Arabic). They feel that they loose alot of their target market by not providing an english service to them. They also feel that they don't have the impact that Fox News, MSNBC, and BBC World (just to name a few) have on the rest of the world. They only reach those in the middle east, and they feel they can provide valuable incite to rest of the globe. They also want to provide more on foriegn news, feeling that most major networks concentrate too much on whats going on in their home region and not enough on the rest of the world. Al-Jazeera International plans to be a "foriegn news only" news service, giving the world as a whole the perspective of others that not alot of people (especially in America) get.

Now as their are many who are against Al-Jazeera going international, their are also alot of people who are in support of it. Many people feel that by Al-Jazeera giving America the Muslim/Arab perspective on the war, it might help Americans to understand Arabs/Muslims more, and later a news network from America could come on to provide Arabs/Muslims with an American perspective on the war, and thus help both sides to understand each other better and make a major move toward peace. This is a great thinking, however it will take major effort to get American's to think outside the box.

So in this writers opinion, this may be a good and bad move for Al-Jazeera, in that I agree it may help to create understanding between our feuding tribes, but at the same time raise creditable fear in Americans and possible increase the level of discrimination that exists between Arab/Muslims and Americans. Still everything has its good effects and bad effects.

Now the closest Al-Jazeera has come so far to getting its information to America and the west comes through their English news service website Al Jazeera English. Here you can read up on world news from Al Jazeera, on not just what is going on in Iraq, but all over the globe. It is completely in English and a link to watch the original Al Jazeera with English translations through streaming video. Its a step in the direction that Al-Jazeera wants to take, but it may be a while before Al-Jazeera can be as readily available as Fox News or MSNBC.


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