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Is Al Jazeera the one good TV station?


When you turn on the evening news, are you actually hoping to learn something?

A new study suggests that viewers worldwide turn to particular broadcasters to affirm — rather than inform — their opinions. It's a notion familiar to those dismayed by the paths blazed by cable news networks FOX and MSNBC — although the study finds one (perhaps unlikely) network may actually foster greater intellectual openness.

The study in the December issue of Media, War & Conflict by Shawn Powers, a fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, and Mohammed el-Nawawy, an assistant professor in the department of communication at Queens University of Charlotte, found that the longer viewers had been watching Al Jazeera English, the less dogmatic they were in their opinions and therefore more open to considering alternative and clashing opinions.

Al Jazeera English is a global news network that "aims to give voice to untold stories, promote debate, and challenge established perceptions." Launched on Nov. 15, 2006, the network is accessible to more than 120 million households worldwide; it is currently available on only a handful of satellite networks in the United States.

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MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on in Hong Kong (on Broadband Cable TV).

I usually flip back and forth between the Beeb, the all-news local HK Cantonese-language cable station (NOW Broadband news--surprisingly good) and Al Jazz.

It's a good mix--I get my local news, plus top-notch (but predictable, news cycle-driven) international coverage from BBC, and the extra bonus of Al Jazz's reporting, mostly from the so-called "margins" of the world--Africa, south Asia, Latin America. They do a really great job covering things in depth that are off the news cycle, which seems to be their chosen niche.

Every media outlet has its own hidden interests, and I always try watch tv as an informed consumer. So keep in mind that Al Jazeera is owned by the ruling family of Qatar.

BTW, lately my cable here in HK has added a really good news outlet called France 24 (it's all English, but mainly Franco-centric Euro coverage). They do a lot of "intellectual" programming--book reviews, even! Last night they were doing a feature on a new book about the feud between Sarkozy and Villepin. Is this channel available in the US?