Hillary Clinton Calls Al-Jazeera ‘Real News,’ American Media ‘Commercials’ and ‘Talking Heads’

Michael Paterniti at GQ wrote a compelling article called “Inside Al-Jazeera,” which takes a look at how Al-Jazeera became the news network to watch in 2011, while casting a shadow on U.S. news coverage and its shortcomings.

Initially, Al-Jazeera was met with great distrust. “To Western governments after September 11, the network was a mouthpiece for Al Qaeda, while for Al Qaeda the network wasn’t mouthpiece enough.” But things turned around with its coverage of the Arab Spring. The network puts less emphasis on the fame level, book deals, attractiveness or pounding opinions of its correspondents; the emphasis, believe it or not, is on the actual news. And with it’s coverage of the Arab uprisings, the stark differences between U.S. networks and Al-Jazeera became came more and more to the fore.

[It] threw into high relief the difference between what we’ve come to accept as our television “news” here in America and what a network like Al Jazeera presents of the world each day, many times through a lens that has an almost populist, retro feel… In fact, Americans found themselves so hungry for full coverage and so stymied by their inability to watch Al Jazeera that 80,000 signed on to a “Demand Al Jazeera in the U.S.A.” campaign.

Even Hillary Clinton said (during a “particularly heavy Charlie Sheen week on American TV”) that “viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news… You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners.”

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