Recently, I have joined the ranks of the millions who own iPhones. I am not ashamed to admit it: I am addicted. There are so many cool apps that I can hardly control myself. The main ones I love are the music related apps (like iConcertCal, Concert Vault etc) but I also love the news ones, of course, being the current events junkie that I am. I think I have about a dozen or so apps that are news related. One is the Al Jazeera app and I have to honestly say that Hillary Clinton is 100 percent correct.
Ms. Clinton said last week that Al Jazeera "real news" and lambasted the American media for being distracted by the bright, shiny object of Charlie Sheen for an entire week. She's absolutely right. The app that I have on my iPhone lets me stream the live feed of the network, staffed mostly by ex-BBCers, which (gasp!) actually reports news of significance to the world. Ms. Clinton noted the United States is losing the information war in the world and it's due to the fact that our news...well...sucks.
"Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it's real news," Clinton said. "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."
Media critics like Jeff Jarvis have also contrasted Al Jazeera with American news networks. "Vital, world-changing news is occurring in the Middle East and no one-not the xenophobic or celebrity-obsessed or cut-to-the-bone American media-can bring the perspective, insight, and on-the-scene reporting Al Jazeera English can," Jarvis wrote in January.
Exactly true. I will say, though, that CNN is at least attempting to provide real news with the less of the divisive WWE wrestling themed programming of Fox News and MSNBC. In what is sadly reflective of our culture, CNN's ratings are in the toilet.
Al Jazeera may, at times, be the Fox News of the Middle East but that's changing. There is a growing number of people (myself included) who want real, hard news and are tired of hearing Lawrence O'Donnell talk about his latest tiff with Glenn Beck Now they can have it streamed right to their iPhones.