Al Jazeera reports on torture

I hardly ever watch TV news any more.  I depend on my local newspaper, my local alternative newspaper and my friends for local news, and I read books, magazines and Internet articles for world affairs.  But I spent all afternoon today watching Al Jazeera English on my home computer via the Internet.  I don’t remember when an equivalent number of hours watching TV was so informative.

Americans who get their information from their hometown newspapers and local TV stations have no way of knowing about the crimes described in the broadcast shown above, nor about the U.S. government’s involvement.

A good friend of mine, a new American citizen born in Uzbekistan, e-mailed me a link to the video above.  The torture of people under the Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov was very real to her, and Kamirov’s aid for the U.S. war in Afghanistan is not a mitigation.  Of course if the United States were not committed to a military presence covering the whole world, and were not waging war in two countries halfway around the world, we could afford to keep criminals like him at arm’s length.

Al Jazeera in stories like this sets an example of intelligent professionalism in news coverage.  Their reporters are interesting in digging out the facts about what is going on in the world.  They don’t waste my time with celebrity fluff.

They report from the point of view of intellectuals in the Arab world, but I don’t have a problem with that.  My objection to Fox News is not its right-wing slant; I would be interested in watching TV news presented from an intelligent conservative point of view.  My objection to Fox is its lack of professional standards.

The American news media is generally limited to the range of opinion entertained by politicians in Washington, D.C.  Watching Al-Jazeera provides a change to step outside American exceptionalism and see the world as people outside the United States see it.

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