by John Grooms
U.S. networks coverage of the goings-on in Egypt is suffering from more than a decade of severe cuts in their foreign reporting budgets (although CNN still tries, bless their hearts). And with the BBC clinging to its definition of up to date news as this mornings news all day long, serious news junkies have passed the word: If you want the best coverage of the Egyptian uprisings, complete with great on-the-ground coverage, video, interviews, and analyses from different perspectives, go to the Al Jazeera English television network. Whats that you say? Your cable company doesnt offer Al Jazeera English? Oh right, we forgot hardly any U.S. cable companies offer the Middle Easts dominant news network.
Theres good news, though: You can access the programming on Al Jazeera's website, where they stream their programming live. Apparently, many Americans are doing just that, as the websites traffic is largely coming from the U.S. in the past few days.
On Huffington Post, Ryan Grim points out the irony that the U.S. is justly slamming the Egyptian blackout of the Internet, but American cable companies refuse to offer customers the superior foreign coverage on al Jazeera because of "political and commercial reasons." Those reasons are a load of xenophobic crap; what they should say, if honesty meant anything, is The far right would have our balls if we carried al Jazeera. And they might be right. Why? Because, judging from a ridiculous shouting match on FoxNews Bill OReilly show yesterday, the right seemingly has no idea that al Jazeera, in the 10 years since 9/11 (when it was denounced for airing bin Ladens tapes), has become a first-rate, internationally respected news source, albeit with guests occasional lapsing into anti-Israeli fuming.
By the way, Grim notes that Al Jazeera programming is being carried by the satellite channel LinkTV, which can be found on channel 9410 on Dish Network and 375 on DirecTV. We have not confirmed that this is accurate, but there you have it.