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Nida Khan: Al Jazeera America — The Newsroom We’ve Been Waiting For

Posted on the 24 January 2013 by Kzawadzki @kzawadzki

If you told the average American that most Muslims actually aren’t Arab, and that Arabs are also Christians, Jews, atheists and more, chances are, you’d get a look like you just informed them that the world isn’t flat. In 2013, at a time when we are more engaged in ‘that part’ of the planet, most in the United States unfortunately possess obscured, inaccurate and stereotypical views of Muslims, Middle Easterners, South Asians and anyone perceived to be from those areas. But it’s not that Americans are dumb; on the contrary, it’s the dumbing down of our society. When mainstream news has been relegated to opposing talking heads going at it (with minimal international coverage), we have been taught to believe that everything begins and ends at our borders. And when you have newsrooms primarily comprised of white men telling us stories from their perspectives, it’s not surprising that people know so little about the ‘Muslim world’ and the world period. Thankfully, an alternative TV network — Al Jazeera — is arriving just in time.

In the international context, except for a focus on uprisings that may benefit our own political and economic interests, we barely, if ever, receive TV coverage of the plethora of news stories taking place every single day. And when our traditional networks bring on the same guests who barely offer a fresh perspective on an issue, what sort of information are people really receiving? The stronghold on news and information has become such a glaring issue, that we don’t even see alternative viewpoints from many of the hotspots we are actively engaged in like Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and the list goes on.

At the end of the day, despite the flagrant misinformation and lack of accurate reporting they may receive, people want to know what’s going on. They yearn for the truth, and they desire to live in a country that lives up to its notion of freedom of the press.

Last year, HBO premiered a new series called The Newsroom. An Aaron Sorkin drama tackling the abhorrent demise of network mainstream news corrupted by advertising money, the show presented a clear possibility of how our real newsrooms could and should actually function. With its award-winning reporting and in-depth worldwide coverage, Al Jazeera may be the closest example to The Newsroom we could have hoped for. As long as they remain committed to their ideals of substantive newsgathering, as long as they don’t water down their coverage, as long as they remember to prioritize disseminating information before corporate dollars and as long as they are not afraid to continue pushing the envelope, Al Jazeera America could finally offer a tangible bridge between ‘us’ and ‘them.’ Now imagine that.

via Nida Khan: Al Jazeera America — The Newsroom We’ve Been Waiting For.

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