Nov 2, 2008

Hanging Out With Al-Jazeera

Left: Felicity Barr (center, in fuchsia jacket) and crew at work on the Maumee

My web presence opens up quite a few interesting opportunities for me to meet folks from around the world, and today I spent an hour or so with a crew from Al Jazeera English as they camped out in Toledo to broadcast live on the Maumee River.

The network sought out guests with some knowledge of local politics, and other people interviewed today by correspondent Felicity Barr included Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who was on before me. Buckeye Cablevision is one of only two U.S. systems to carry the Al Jazeera English feed, and I am glad the network chose Toledo as a destination for its 2008 election series.

Television is not my favorite medium, as I prefer to sit and ruminate over the precise words that communicate my thoughts. I admire people with an ability to think on their feet and sound intelligent in three-to-four minute unrehearsed bursts, as it usually takes me a few minutes just to warm up. Still, I trust that I did not come across as a complete rube; I will post a link to the interview when I find it uploaded.

Finally - I ought to address the lingering xenophobic idiocy regarding Al Jazeera English. I have been surprised at the number of people who assume that the network is somehow a "mouthpiece for terrorists," as the far right warmongers at Accuracy in Media (AIM) like to claim. I find the network to be relatively balanced - though admittedly with a bit of a pro-Palestinian bent - and Al Jazeera English often covers stories ignored by the mainstream U.S. news media.

You can access the network on station 269 on Buckeye Cablevision, and I find the coverage more akin to the BBC than I do to any so-called "terrorist media," such as Hezbollah's al-Manar network, banned by the Department of Treasury and the FCC in 2004.


microdot said...

Too much! My wife was watching television last night and told me to come down because Toledo was being featured....
I did'nt see you, but I know that reports are broadcast in a news cycle, like all the cable news networks so we will watch Al Jazeera today and see if the spot is rebroadcast!
I get Al Jazeera English for free via satellite from the Astra 2-D satellite here in South western France. Often, their coverage of Amnerican National News is much better than anyone else.
It seems to me that when the BBC was tamed by the Blair Administration, a lot of their top journalists left and went to Al Jazeera in cluding Sir David Frost.

I watch Al Jazeera for unmatched coverage of the rest of the world.
I see coverage of stories there that are not even touched by CNN and BBC, let alone American network.

When they first started to broadcast in English, I published a world satellite map with instructions of how to recieve it free almost any where in the world.
I belive that information is up on their website.

I have a motorized dish and a tuner that lets me pick up a number of different satellites....
Lots of free stations and thousands of satellite radio stations!

historymike said...

I was on between 1:00 and 2:00 pm EST yesterday.

I agree that Al-Jazeera has a ton of unique news stories, and their coverage of South America and Africa is particularly useful, since American media outlets only cover events like wars and famine in the global South.