Friday, March 04, 2011

From Doha Comes . . .

Hillary speaks the overwhelmingly obvious (from DN!):

"Hillary Clinton Praises Al Jazeera as "Real News"

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has surprised many after she praised the news programming on Al Jazeera, while she criticized the over-commercialization of news programs in the United States. Speaking before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton said the United States is losing the "information war."

Hillary Clinton: "Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news. You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news, which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners."

While Al Jazeera English is broadcast to more than 200 million homes around the world, it is hardly available in the United States due to what critics have described as a media blackout by U.S. cable and satellite providers.
(end quote)

We all know about NPR's contributions to commercial on-air clutter, so subliminally ushered into our brains by Frank Tavares' supposedly 'neutral' but extremely nasal pestering. However, I'd just like to mention the hours of wasted filler time that NPR (and the US MSM, natch) spends MAKING SURE we know who's speaking/reciting/acting/performing for your show biz pleasure at any one time, in their terribly important roles as America's Storytellers.

I mean, a perfect example is news reciter Craig Wyndham's crusade to 'personalize' his news slot by being chummy with his fellow creative writers. This morning, in the few seconds allotted to her segment, Craig said 'Tamara' four times: introducing Tamara Keith, exiting Tamara Keith, and 'communing' with Tamara Keith twice in the brief soundbyte 'report'. He of course is most famous for doing this with his inseparable workhorse buddy, Paul Brown. (e.g. 'Thanks Paul. That's NPR's Paul Brown'). I know, it's meant to imply collegiality, but to me it's the collegiality of Wall Street CEOs. Plus it makes for extremely tedious listening. I mean, who ARE these people?

OK, this is getting a little neurotic in the hair-splitting department, but the accumulated CLUTTER is in itself neuroses-inducing. Of course, with a passive public, they just absorb it all, then blow out down the line, I suppose.

BBC and Al Jaz hardly bother to be control freaks about making SURE that you know precisely at every second who the star personality of the moment is who's delivering the news. Their business isn't to keep you distracted into hopefully buying something. US media hates this reasonable neutrality, cuz they're convinced that 'personality-izing' the news brings in audiences, which naturally bring in money. You might say they're horribly addicted to this (Planet) monkey on their backs: win ratings or die.

This is not only a failed policy, it has made for some of the most worthless broadcasting ever to be conceived, and it's getting worse.

Al Jazeera, like the Jasmine Revolution movement (a current label of convenience), is a big threat to the US MSM, and you can bet there will be some pathetic attempts to 'Al Jaz-ize' their outfits, while others in the shadows will be plotting Al Jaz' demise (consultants: Wolfowitz, Perle, Xe & Partners, etc.).

Al Jaz chief Wadah Khanfar made an outstanding statement at TED, which makes meatloaf out of Hillary's obviousness:

PS: Patty Culhane, Al Jaz's WH correspondent, makes anybody from NPR seem like a sick joke. Yes, I know her name, but she's cogent, serious, non-distracting, and plays no games.

That's all this child wants and needs in his news-gathering.

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