Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Is The News "Too" Real?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Is The News "Too" Real?

“In the Line of Fire” by Peter Carlson, Washington Post Staff Writer

Since its creation in 1996, al-Jazeera has been a highly controversial Arab TV news network. In effort to broadcast objective and balanced news programming, Al-Jazeera airs daring images and news coverage which ruptured the domination of government controlled political propaganda on Arabic television. According to author Mohammed Nawawy, al-Jazeera “opened up freedom of speech in the Arab world.” However, al-Jazeera is constantly criticized by countries such as America, Great Britain, Iraq, and Baghdad for being too explicit . For instance, Arabs have accused the network of being a tool for Zionists and the CIA after airing interviews with Israeli and American officials whereas Israelis and Americans condemned the network for publishing tapes by Islamic radicals such as Osama bin Laden. In addition, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield denounced the network for showing video footage of American prisoners of war while British military Brian Burridge described the videos of dead British soldiers as “shocking” and “disgraceful.”

On the other hand, Hafez Mirazi, the Washington bureau chief of al-Jazeera, defends their blunt portrayal of news saying:

“There is a feeling in our newsroom that you need to be as realistic as possible and carry the images of war and the effect that war has on people. If you are in a war, your population shouldn’t just eat their dinner and watch sanitized images on TV and video games produced by the technological whizzes in the Pentagon and say ‘This is war.’ No. You really need to show every family what your men and women are going through….If you leave it to politicians, you won’t see anything.”

Furthermore, supporting viewers of al-Jazeera find their coverage of the American War on Iraq to be fair and unbiased being that they portray both sides of the war. Unlike American news channels, Al-Jazeera covered Pentagon and Centcom briefings as well as briefings by the Iraqi defense minister. In effect, Mirazi declares that their news coverage is more balanced than American media sources.



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