Al-Jazeera
How Arab TV news challenged the world.





              This book by Hugh Miles is really excellent.
              The media, I have thought for a while, is the Third Force.
              Even Prime Ministers kow-tow to it but members of the media all think alike because they all have the same objective.
              They all want to make a profit and so although they may appear to be different, the profit line is the motivating force and the news is often subjective to the profit line. For example, which stories do they air and which do they forget about? Which stories will attract viewers and therefore generate profits and which will fail to attract viewers and cause a loss of profit? How do they slant the news to ensure the greatest number of viewers and the most profit?
              Even the BBC toes the profit line. It needs viewers because if they have viewers they have the right to ask the government for more money. Should their viewing figures be poor the government might consider reducing either their funding (World Service) or cutting the license fee and either of these would cause terror within the ranks of the BBC.
              Consequently, when it comes to understanding the world media, or the Third Force, this book is essential reading and a fascinating one as well. (It thoroughly deserved the large amount of critical acclaim it received from the world press.)
              Personally, I particularly enjoyed the paragraph which described the BBC World Television Service as dilapidated, repetitive and often a complete shambles. I watched it in South Africa and couldn’t agree more. CNN International was described as conspicuously American and blatantly commercial with seemingly endless advertisements and breaks which even interrupt the news and weather. When I was in Japan everybody in the place I was staying watched CNN. I was sickened by it and seriously felt that my intelligence was being insulted. I was so revolted by it that in the end, because the TV was always on, I tended to spend most of my time in my room. (Are people, I asked myself as I sat alone in my room, really stupid enough to watch such moronic TV? It was, I promise you, unbelievably mindless.)

---February 9, 2011---

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