Hey, Boyd, don’t let Al-Jazeera dupe you
Tom,Thanks for your column (Staying Informed, Vail Trail, March 28). I’ve been following the Iraqi war some on TV but mostly by reading on-line Internet editions of newspapers and TV networks around the world. The amount of censorship, distortion and just plain made-up stories in the Arab press has been amazing to read. No, I don’t read Arabic, but there are many translated editions and, sometimes, news stories from media like Al-Jazeera are translated into English.I’m taking a leap of faith that the translations are accurate translations, but I’m guessing they usually are.I noticed you listed an “English version” Web site address of the Al-Jazeera print edition — http://english.aljazeera.net. I just finished reading through it. I’m pretty sure it’s a brand new site (new within the last few weeks).Al-Jazeera has had a direct translation English version for quite some time but it was and is a "pay to view" site. Reading this new site was amazing in the opposite direction for me. Yes, it is very biased against the United States but no more than many newspapers in France, Britain and Germany and, once in awhile, even the New York and Los Angeles Times. But it is NOTHING like the 100 percent pro-Iraqi stories written and spoken in Arabic in their TV and newsprint coverage. They even use "Objective and Balanced" (almost) imitating the motto of Fox News in their Web site hyperlink icon shortcut name!All I can guess is Al-Jazeera felt they needed a much less anti-U.S. PR front and this new "English version" Web site is part of that effort. At least I sure didn’t expect to read what I read on this site. So thanks again for publishing the address. But I have to respectfully disagree with you that this site accurately represents "their spin" on the Iraqi war. It is clearly what they want the English-speaking world to THINK their "spin" is. By your comment about the site in your column, it appears this (deceptive, in my opinion) effort succeeded at least with you. As I say, this new site bears almost no resemblance to what goes out in Arabic every day from Al-Jazeera and most other Arabic media including from the "official" media of countries our country counts as friends or, at least, counts as neutral. They apparently all feel they must "play" to their Arabic readers and that means 100% anti-United States coverage with either severely distorted or just made up stories. The "Al-Jazeera" you and I are reading on this "English version" site is not the same Al-Jazeera being seen and read by the Arabic world. I’d be happy to provide you some of the Web site addresses of news sites I read if you’d like them.Best regards,Gary Yantis(one of your readers on Bellyache Ridge)
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