US Should Tune In to Al Jazeera

English-language network affords a close-up view of our own loss of influence
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2007 9:56 PM CST
This image from video released by IntelCenter on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007 shows a photo of Osama bin Laden as part of an audiotaped speech calling for Iraqi insurgents to unite and avoid divisive "extremism,"...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Year-old Al Jazeera English is only in a handful of US markets—a fact that “amounts to self-destructive blindness,” says the Times’ Roger Cohen. By not watching the channel Donald Rumsfeld called “vicious, inaccurate, and inexcusable,” we damage our chances in the war of ideas—because we don’t know what the world is thinking.

Al Jazeera’s broadcasts reveal the “solidification of anti-Americanism,” which we can dangerously shrug off or pay attention to and get a sobering lesson, Cohen writes. But though the station’s attempt at balanced reporting “seems genuine,” most US cable companies are declining to air the network—efforts one cable exec calls "neo-McCarthyism."