the state

-of jokes, wasting time, etc. by jgrimsrud
Sunday, 28 December 2008, 14:29
Filed under: -of jgrimsrud, -of politik, -of reads

youtube strikes again.  as i wrote up 1 and 2 end-of-the-year music lists, i was frequently derailed by this stuff.  other than the small format, it’s better than mtv is, or has been for years, if ever.

here’s an official video from the national, a group i and friend andrew have both been obessed w/ this year:

there’s also this video, set to their song “fake empire”:

this hilarious joke of a video bridges me from time-wasting, ¡to joking!  as a certain fellow (¿or she-fellow?) pointed out (christian name: “anon”), many people have an impression that al jazeera is some kind of state-run, terrorist-cell, media jihadi. 

to avoid total blog cliché, i won’t dredge up all the ways in which western media outlets fell pathetically short of useful in the leadup, say, to the iraq war, for example.

instead, let me just toss out two useful bits related to this credible news source:

1: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  the bush administration has targeted al jazeera and its journalists in unprecidented ways, including targeting and bombing their bagdad bureau during the initial stage of the iraq war, and detaining a cameraman, sami al-haj, for 6 years on no credible charge.  al-jazeera was a media outlet unique in its access to the middle east and its freedom of influence from washington (unlike aforementioned u.s. media).  amy goodman wrote a piece that sums up some of the recent, sordid history:

In November 2001, despite the fact that Al-Jazeera had given the U.S. military the coordinates of its office in Kabul, U.S. warplanes bombed Al-Jazeera’s bureau there, destroying it. An Al-Jazeera reporter covering the George Bush-Vladimir Putin summit in Crawford, Texas, in the same month was detained by the FBI because his credit card was “linked to Afghanistan.” In spring 2003, the U.S. dropped four bombs on the Sheraton hotel in Basra, Iraq, where Al-Jazeera correspondents—the only journalists reporting from that city—were the lone guests. Another Al-Jazeera staffer showed his ID to a U.S. Marine at a Baghdad checkpoint, only to have his car fired upon by the Marines. He was unhurt. That can’t be said for Tareq Ayyoub, an Al-Jazeera correspondent who was on the roof of the network’s bureau in Baghdad on April 8, 2003, when a U.S. warplane strafed it. He was killed. His widow, Dima Tahboub, told me: “Hate breeds hate. The United States said they were doing this to rout out terrorism. Who is engaged in terrorism now?”

any media source should be questioned and held to account, but by virtue of their identity and history alone, i think al-jazeera deserves a reader’s/viewer’s fair shake.

& 2: they do a persuasive job, um, at their job.  just ask josh rushing.  he was a CENTCOM p.r. officer (you may have seen him in control room, the great documentary about al jazeera), and now works for al jazeera enlish.  (he spoke on the daily show last year).  while serving in iraq, rushing’s experiences led him to (slowly) change his attitude on al jazeera (check rushing’s ’07 democracy now! interview.)

anyway, he came back from iraq, wrote a book,and got a new job:

so, as israel blows up the gaza strip, or as the next conflict erupts, i absolutely believe, as jill posted on the blog yesterday, that folks should look to diverse media to keep track of the story.  and i would gladly go to al jazeera first, no joke.


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