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Al Jazeera: How Arab TV News Challenges Americaby Hugh Miles
Synopses & Reviews
With more than fifty million viewers, Al Jazeera is one of the most widely watched news channels in the world. And it's also one of the most controversial. Set up by the maverick Emir of Qatar, Al Jazeera ("the island") quickly became a household name after September 11 by delivering some of the biggest scoops in television history, including a notorious string of taped speeches from Osama bin Laden.
Lambasted as a mouthpiece for Al Qaeda, little is actually known about Al Jazeera and its operations. Its journalists have been accused of spying for everyone from Mossad to Saddam Hussein, sometimes simultaneously, and a star Al Jazeera reporter has been accused of being an active member and recruiter for a Spanish-based Al Qaeda cell. Al Jazeera now has plans to launch an English version of its controversial satellite news channel in the first half of 2005. This time it is aimed not just toward Arabs and Muslims, but Americans as well.
Journalist Hugh Miles speculates on the potentially dramatic effects of the network's new station on the Western world while uncovering the true story behind one of the most influential media outlets.
"After monitoring the Arab news station Al-Jazeera for the Australian news service Sky News during the American invasion of Iraq, journalist Miles decided to delve deeper into its workings. The result is a detailed, absorbing look at the organization, the world it covers and the international media. Since its inception in 1996, Al-Jazeera has been broadcast from Qatar, the tiny yet incredibly wealthy emirate situated on the Saudi Arabian coast and across the Gulf from Iran, 'like a mouse sharing a cage with two rattlesnakes.' In describing Al-Jazeera's rise, Miles illuminates the shaky balance the channel has attempted to strike between Arab thought and Western influences, and shows how it has become embroiled in internal conflicts and global scrutiny about what's appropriate for a news broadcast (e.g., American media outlets fumed over its initial airing of bin Laden's videotapes, but then followed suit). Miles contrasts these struggles with those of other influential TV news outlets, showing how Al-Jazeera is similar to CNN and the BBC (with its news scrolls, dramatic music and global coverage), yet still unique. Forecast: Al-Jazeera plans to launch an English-language version of its programming early next year, which could attract media interest in this thoughtful account." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"From an award-winning young journalist, a revealing account of the rise of the network the Bush administration, Fox News, and London tabloids love to hate....'Al-Jazeera,' Miles concludes, 'is probably less biased than any of the mainstream American news networks.' All to his credit, he makes a strong case." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] fascinating account of the world's most notorious television station." Isabel Hilton, The New York Times Book Review
Al Jazeera is one of the most widely watched news channels in the world — and one of the most controversial. A noted journalist speculates on the potentially dramatic effects of the network's new station on the Western world while uncovering the true story behind one of the most influential media outlets.
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