Al-jazeera Takes A Victory Lap

TV critics are continuing to praise al-Jazeera's coverage of the Egyptian uprising, with several suggesting that its young, erudite reporters in the streets and its seasoned studio anchors displayed a more authoratative grasp of the situation than their American broadcast network and cable news counterparts. In the New York Times , Alessandra Stanley noted that it wasn't just the demonstrators in Tahrir Square who had emerged victorious. "It was al-Jazeera's victory as well, of course, and that struggle was fought live on television. ... The Mubarak government ... treated al-Jazeera as an enemy." Like Stanley, David Zurawik, the TV columnist for the Baltimore Sun , took note of the fact that while MSNBC on Thursday kept flashing the words "Egyptian President to Step Down" throughout most of the day (and even into Mubarak's speech saying he had no intention of doing anything of the kind), al-Jazeera had been reporting that he was unlikely to do so. Zurawik noted that it alone drew prominent attention to a statement by the Egyptian minister of information saying that Mubarak definitely would not resign. After Mubarak's speech, the network's reporters restrained themselves from voicing the kind of opinions that, say, Anderson Cooper did on CNN. ("This is a slap in the face. This is stepping on the grave, on the blood of Egyptian people that has been spilled for more than two weeks in that square we're looking at, Wolf.") Los Angeles Times media columnist James Rainey noted that Cooper referred to Egyptian authorities as liars 14 times during one episode. The Sun 's Zurawik concluded that the U.S. press "could have learned something about informed analysis and restraint from Al Jazerra Thursday. And that's a sobering thought as to where our American journalistic standards have gone in the mania for moments of instant history -- and the page views and cable audience spikes they can deliver."

14/02/2011


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