Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Deeper Values Below the Surface

Malise Ruthven’s article in the current issue of The New York Review of Books, “What Happened to the Arab Spring?” is definitely worth reading. Without taking any particular side, it is an enlightening analysis of just how many value systems have come into play when it comes to relations between the “Western world” and the territories in the Middle East and Mediterranean Africa. What particularly got to me, however, was seeing one of my favorite oxen gored:
Since it first appeared in 1996 the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera twenty-four news channel has defied taboos on the public criticism of governments—with the obvious exception of Qatar itself.
Al Jazeera English continues to be one of my preferred sources of news, particularly when it comes to items that inspire posts to this site. The bottom line is that I accept that there will be some level of opinionated bias to even the most seemingly objective news report; so, since I know the sorts of biases to expect from “Western” sources (such as the United States and, for that matter, the BBC), I figure I should seek out biases in other directions. Thus, while I have read enough about Qatar to take Ruthven’s sentence seriously, my reaction is to treat anything from Al Jazeera the way I treat any other news source, to see if someone else has something different to say on the matter.

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