Short point on Egypt and the Need for Independent Media in the USA

I’ll keep this brief, since I think most of the wonderful individuals active in this community are well aware of the desperate need in the United States for non-corporate media. But having been glued to the amazing coverage by Al-Jazeera English and Democracy Now! pretty much for the last two weeks, it’s a point that I can’t emphasize enough.

Al-Jazeera English, currently available in Ohio, Burlington, VT, and Washington, DC is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to understand the Middle East on its own terms — something which cannot be stressed enough, given the Islamophobia that currently permeates our political culture, and, by extension, the stenographers of that culture which get their paychecks from the mainstream media. As brilliant as Richard Engel’s reportage has been from that region, and as cogent and incisive (as always) Rachel’s commentary has been on the last two weeks in Egypt, nothing can top reportage and commentary that come from individuals steeped in the history and culture of that region. Frankly, the only reason Al-Jazeera English isn’t more widely available in the U.S. is due to direct and unabashed Islamophobia among our more listened-to “pundits.”

It’s no secret that Americans are, in general, woefully underinformed of the histories, cultures, and mores of the rest of the world. Empire has its privileges, after all, and the prism through which the rest of the world is reflected to us on our terms is one of them, I guess. But the world is changing — it always has been, and to keep our heads in a hole is no longer acceptable. Keith Olbermann’s move to Current TV is exciting and most welcome — Current is an independent channel that simply goes places and reports events in ways no mainstream channel does. I distinctly remember watching their report on the anti-gay bill in Uganda, and learning more in that hour than I had from any other mainstream media source, TV, radio, or print.

And finally, the members of this community really should support the heroic work that Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous, and Anjali Kamat have done covering this crisis for Democracy Now! Democracy Now! presents what’s best and most important about independent media in this country — listener-supported, fact-based news that does not fear the powerful or those with vested interests — a courage that corporate media, by definition, cannot display. Their coverage of the events in Egypt has been thorough, fair, and frankly, riveting. Kouddous is an Egyptian, and was on the ground on January 26th, one day after the protests began against the Mubarak regime. Not a corporate media transplant trying to catch up on facts and flavors particular to those events, but someone who, though he left Egypt when he was three, knows that country and that region inside out. Goodman is simply the best journalist out there — listen to her every day, and the amount of information you will learn about the world is just staggering.

In all — and again, this isn’t a surprise to DailyKos members — the best information available comes from independent media. Support them, follow them, because journalism is in danger, and its continued relevance is no less evident than it was in Addison’s England.

Request Al-Jazeera English in your town here.

Support Democracy Now! here.

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~ by Benji on February 11, 2011.

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