Let Al Jazeera America unfilter your mind


Chris Henkel

Osama bin Laden’s videos from caves were broadcast by the Al Jazeera network throughout the war in Afghanistan. Al Jazeera is based in Qatar, and now it’s in America.

The government has attempted to limit our lines of communication in the past. Back in the time of WWII, US radio stations’ broadcast power was cut down to 50,000 watts. This was done in order to keep our radio stations from being heard in Europe, and elsewhere. In general, the government attempted to control our ability to spread information.

But now, over 50% of the American population has a smartphone in their pocket. This takes the paper boy shouting on the street and like a white dwarf – explodes him into a 30 billion watt supernova known as the internet – in your pocket. Everything is known. There is no hiding it – everyone gets their notifications and headlines by the minute, and there’s no slowing them.

But, with this flow of information, like a game of corrupt “telephone”, comes distortion. More distortion than guitars in 90’s grunge – ruining what should be a well-informed people. We’re not just poorly informed, we’re ill-informed.

Both sides will say that someone’s lying, or just feeding lies. We live in a pathetically divided, disagreeing country that isn’t united, and isn’t one. News networks are just red versus blue, and instead of getting the actual bare information to the viewers, they focus on establishing their position – on everything – through “news”.

The only reason the addition of Al Jazeera America is news is solely because Americans have the most closed of all minds, and aren’t able to accept a news source outside of their comfort zone of CNN, or Fox, or whatever “your side’s”  station may be.

Al Jazeera is owned by petroleum-rich dynastic dictators, also known as the Qatar Royal Family. Time Warner, NewsCorp, and GE are three of the six corporations that control 90% of America’s diet of information. They control stations like Fox and CNN. The government of Qatar, on the other hand, doesn’t care about the elephant or the ass. They may have their slants, but their bias and filters are non-existent compared to those of the right/left wing networks that viewers see as daily informational canon – when in reality, they aren’t at all.

As of August 20, Americans can tune into this news station that is owned not by a $50 billion corporation, but by the government of Qatar. A network that is editorially independent from the government that owns it.

The network came to be in 1996, when the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, provided the equivalent of $137 million to get the network through its first five years.

If Al Jazeera doesn’t mean anything to your memory, the videos of Osama bin Laden broadcast from caves threatening America probably do. The network gained much attention, and criticism, for giving a voice to such terrorist during their coverage of the war in Afghanistan. That’s the point exactly. People think that’s such a bad thing, to show the leaders of the enemies, because the ‘news’ here only shows you the reassuring words of our leader.

It is not a terrorist network. It is favored by al-Qaida, because it was founded and launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV station. Therefore, it is accessible in many languages, in many places, and gets the information across.

The whole controversy over Al Jazeera coming to the US is just the fact that it is a different point of view. And frankly, Americans aren’t ready to receive news from a third party that doesn’t filter things out, or butter things up just to tickle their politically-correct-fancy. I asked Doc Sharp what he thought in general about this outside news source coming to the US.

“I’m interested to see what their take is on most things in this country.” Doc backed up just what I was getting at.

“I believe I am open minded enough to say this is America – go for it.”

Mr. Gergen, a man who lives life informed, said, “We believe in freedom of press and speech, and the open exchange of ideas. You may agree or disagree, but you get to make up your own mind. Why are we afraid to go make up our own minds, and say that’s garbage, that’s not, and filter it ourselves.”

I am sick of going online and coming to different news sites, or different show clips on Youtube, and being completely unsure as to whether or not what I’m hearing is total bull. I have to check over and over the information I read, because frankly, I don’t trust much of what I find.

How does this all pertain to us? We are all responsible as citizens to be informed. People can’t let themselves just accept what they are presented with. Questioning what you hear is what leads to really knowing what is going on. If we let networks in America pull our minds around like puppets, and keep truth from us, we’re just inching ourselves closer to the edge.