Sunday, August 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

TV's Best Egypt Reporting Not Available in U.S.

"We report. You decide." But not all the time.

TV's Best Egypt Reporting Not Available in U.S.

Protesting in Cairo. (AP)
Protesting in Cairo. (AP) AP

"We report. You decide." But not all the time.

The best international TV coverage of the chaos in Egypt is coming from Al Jazeera, whose journalists fit right in with the throng. But, as the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim points out here, not a lot of Americans can watch it.

Because of previous governmental and corporate antipathy for the Arab news network, not to mention a general suspicion among millions of Americans, only a tiny handful of U.S. cable operators carry Al Jazeera English, although U.S. news outlets are using footage that the network is sharing.

Ironically, Al Jazeera is not too popular with the Egyptian government, either. The government shut down its broadcast for several hours over the weekend, and the network Monday reported that authorities raided its operations and arrested six employees.

According to the other Arab TV news network, Al Arabiya, they were released -- get this -- after United States authorities in Egypt complained.

Al Arabiya, which does not have an English-language channel, was launched, according to its general manager, Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, to counteract the more inflammatory style of Al Jazeera.

If news-channel ratings in the Arab world work the same way as they do in America, where the screamers get the viewers, it's a good thing Al Arabiya is backed by the Saudis.

You can see a live stream of Al Jazeera's Egypt coverage here. Or read Al Arabiya here.

About this blog
My So-Called Life, Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Survivor, I’ll Fly Away, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, The X-Files, Northern Exposure, Roseanne, Gilmore Girls, NYPD Blue, Frasier, Ally McBeal, and, in the much-too-overlooked category, American Dreams, The Riches, Flight of the Conchords and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

TV has given us wondrous fare over the last 20 years, and Philadelphia Inquirer TV critic Jonathan Storm has been paid to watch it. He has also been forced to watch five cycles of presidential debates, Fear Factor, The Swan and Bill O’Reilly. There is no free lunch in life.

He’s still watching and talking to the folks who make TV, from mega-producers Jerry Bruckheimer and David E. Kelley to the little kids in Medium. And now he’s blogging about it, with insights and info that you won’t find anywhere else. Reach Jonathan at jstorm@phillynews.com.

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