Al Jazeera's year in review
December 27, 2010 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Al Jazeera's top 10 stories of 2010.
Including top 10 news, features, and opinion stories by reader hits.
posted by Taft (17 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I always wonder how Al Jazeera links will be treated here on the Blue. On the one hand, they're actually a global news organization. On the other hand, a lot of Americans seem to knee-jerk distrust them.

Still, I found this report on rape in the US military and this Listening Post episode about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan both to be pretty illuminating.

If this is propaganda, it's certainly being done at a level of subtlety which outstrips FoxNews' ability to hide distortions.
posted by hippybear at 2:01 PM on December 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

I found Al Jazeera's selections for top stories considerably different and more fair-handed than the reader's top stories, which were all breathlessly outrage pieces.
posted by meowzilla at 2:07 PM on December 27, 2010

A lot of Americans knee-jerk a lot of things. In fact, I know many knee jerks.
posted by JHarris at 2:26 PM on December 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Al Jazeera is a fantastic news source. Here's something from a recent study:
Drawing on the results of a six-country study of media viewing habits, cultural, political and cognitive dispositions of viewers of Al-Jazeera English in comparison to viewers of CNN International and BBC World, the authors outline two findings: (1) viewers worldwide turn to particular broadcasters to affirm rather than inform their opinions, meaning the global news media are likely to reinforce existing attitudes and stereotypes of cultural ‘others’; and (2) the longer viewers have been watching Al-Jazeera English, the less dogmatic they are in their thinking and thus more open to considering alternative and clashing opinions.
(More here).

Thanks for the post.
posted by ibmcginty at 2:41 PM on December 27, 2010 [4 favorites]

Al J often a good source for stories but like just about all mainstream media, they have their own biases. Because they are not American, or even Western, does not mean they are more trustworthy than all the others. Here, for example, is a piece in Iran news that I found astounding but have not seen ref to anywhere:

"In a meeting with Iranian Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Ahmad Vahidi on December 25, Afghan First Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim hailed Iran’s role and cooperation in providing security for the region and for Afghanistan.

Fahim had arrived in Tehran that day on an official visit to hold talks with the country’s high-ranking officials.

Vahidi said, “Strengthening Afghanistan’s army is strengthening Iran’s army.” He added that progress and development for Afghanistan is feasible through expanding regional security and cooperation, and stressed the importance of expanding cooperation among regional countries especially states that share the same language.

In another meeting, between Fahim and Iranian Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, Larijani pointed to the U.S.-led military presence in Afghanistan and said that unfortunately, with the presence of these forces, the production of narcotics has increased.

At a meeting with Majlis speaker Ali Larijani, Fahim called on Iran to participate in developing Afghanistan’s civil institutions.

Sources: Press TV, Mehr, IRNA, Iran, December 25, 201
posted by Postroad at 2:42 PM on December 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

as i grew up in the Middle East, i had the opportunity to hear both sides of the story of the conflict that pits both sides against each other., the conflict has been going strong for over 50 years, that affects two generations. my conclusion is both sides have dug a mental trench and either one will give an inch. Al Jazeera's reporting is the Arab side's opinions and views. thanks to the internet every person on earth can finally get both sides of a 50 year old conflict, that effects the whole world, especially the business world. I'm not taking either side, just sitting on a neutral fence.
posted by tustinrick at 3:03 PM on December 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Because they are not American, or even Western, does not mean they are more trustworthy than all the others.

No, it means they are more likely to be trustworthy when it comes to covering American stories than a US newspaper. And since America has it's fingers in a lot of pies around the world, they are more likely to be accurate on a lot of things.

Al Jazeera also has much more interest in democracy than most US media, since Al Jazeera's definition is based on the ability of a nation to determine its own future with a vote, and the American definition is "usually follows orders of the State Department."
posted by notion at 3:23 PM on December 27, 2010

I guess no teen idol smoked a bong in the Middle East this year.
posted by Beardman at 4:01 PM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

No, it means they are more likely to be trustworthy when it comes to covering American stories than a US newspaper.

That's absurd. Foreignness only means foreignness. You didn't get fair and balanced reporting out of Pravda, nor do you now from any number of other foreign paper. Salt is required on pretty much all news organizations. (Not speaking to AJE here, only the notion that distance presupposes objectivity. As to "American Definition", well, there's still a wide variety of American press even in this benighted age. It ain't all Fox news.)
posted by IndigoJones at 4:41 PM on December 27, 2010

JSYK, there's a big difference between Al Jaz and Al Jaz English. Separate newsrooms, separate funding (from the same source).

This link refers to Al Jaz English, which isn't necessarily better than other news, but usually happens to be not because of foreignness, but because it's funded at a loss by the emir of Qatar. So you're probably not going to get the best investigative journalism about how they managed to secure that World Cup, but they can say just about anything about just about anyone other than the emir. And they do, which is awesome.
posted by pixelfarmer at 6:09 PM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's from 2004, so getting a bit long in the tooth, but I always recommend this documentary on Al Jazeera: "Control Room". It's - shocking - fair and balanced. I'd take AJ over Fox News any day.
posted by VikingSword at 6:52 PM on December 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Eh, I don't really think they're a better news source than we have here, just a different one. Unsurprisingly, they seem to have a pro-middle-eastern slant, and they love publishing things that paint America in a bad light. On a more positive note, I haven't observed them to lie, either, so I'd consider them to be better than some of the more corrupted news outlets here. But not better than the average, really - although having multiple sources available can help to find the truth.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:00 PM on December 27, 2010

Up-voting VikingSword's comment. Oh wait. Anyway, awesome movie.
posted by nostrada at 11:51 PM on December 27, 2010

Eh, I don't really think they're a better news source than we have here, just a different one.

American news media is the same shitty quality as American Health Care. The quality of said institutions is not entirely unrelated.
posted by fullerine at 7:05 AM on December 28, 2010

AJE had by far the best English language coverage of the Icelandic financial crisis of any English language news source I read. I'm amazed at the stories they cover that the BBC, Die Spiegel English, the New York Times, the CBC, WaPo and others miss.

No one should read just one news source, of course, but AJE is a really good way to add balance and detail to one's news diet.
posted by QIbHom at 7:25 AM on December 28, 2010

The top ten isn't particularly inspired:
10- Europe Austerity
9- Iceland Volcano (Eiya(cough cough cough) fal).
8-Europes Rising Right (Cameron, and moves to more politically conservative governance)
7-World Cup
6-Chile Miners
5-Pakistan Floods
4-Gulf Oil Spill
3-Hati and its disasters
2-Gaza Flotilla Attack

Half of the readers news items involved Israel. Notable for what is missing:

-Political instability throughout the Arab league -- Iraqi attempts to form a coalition government, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Pennisula, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan (as the South Sudan referendum comes close), Egyptian Elections, Ailing Saudi king, etc.
-Dubai's economic bubble
-Iran's post election fall out and the ongoing nuclear situation (esp. in light of the wikileaks information regarding various Arab leaders asking hte US and Israel to attack Iran)
-Growing power of the BRIC countries in the G-20
-The Crazy Weather and the Copenhagen Summit and "ClimateGate"
posted by humanfont at 8:41 AM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nothing on Rafic Hariri either.
posted by rosswald at 11:39 AM on December 28, 2010

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