When people think of American journalism, they think of the pet propaganda network of a totalitarian Middle Eastern regime with no freedom of speech or right to criticize its own government whose various affiliates exist to push its foreign policy… which includes supporting Islamic terrorists.
If Al Jazeera is the answer, I’m too afraid to ask what the question is.
Asking “Can news be saved?,” Victor Balta, Al Jazeera America’s planning editor seemed to think that a host of new media players at the very least “offered hope.” First and foremost among them Al Jazeera itself, an odd bit of self-promotion particularly for a piece on saving journalism.
He placed the Qatari news network’s jump into the American market alongside other major new media figures who would likely be mentioned in any story on the future of journalism like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who purchased The Washington Post last spring, and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who’s funding a new journalism venture with Glenn Greenwald and others.
“Media ownership took an interesting turn in 2013,” Balta wrote, “as some Internet billionaires, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network and others jumped into the game…The question of who owns the media is an important one, and audiences should hold outlets accountable for their content and what interests they are serving.”
What those ventures all have in common is that they’re boutique journalism.
Pierre Omidyar, a billionaire of Iranian origin, decided that he wants to subsidize Glenn Greenwald’s pro-terrorist and anti-American ravings.
The Emir of Qatar made a very expensive gamble to push Al Jazeera propaganda in America.
Jeff Bezos decided to buy the Washington Post as a really expensive lobbying effort for a company that aggressively monopolizes the marketplace.
These things are all signs of the implosion of any kind of objective journalism. They erode the distinctions between the PR department and what’s left of the media.
Al Jazeera thinks that it and Glenn Greenwald are a good thing because they both represent the same political agenda. But there’s no journalism involved in that agenda. It’s straight propaganda.
Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post is more mixed and it’s not clear how exactly he will influence the paper. Optimists think that he’ll act as some sort of benefactor of journalism, but that just turns journalism into a charity case to be subsidized by the rich the way that medical research or opera are.
And that’s about the worst possible news for journalism that there could be.