Saturday, January 16, 2016

Burman's Lament

The Toronto Star's Tony Burman, late of the Ceeb, late of Al Jazeera's English channel, currently--heaven help us!--a journalism instructor at Ryerson U., bemoans the failure of Al Jazeera America to make a go of it. Burman claims that the channel tanked in what he calls "Donald Trump's America" (funny, I thought it was still Barack Obama's US of A) because it failed to inculcate and transmit--wait for it--"Al Jazeera values":
My connection with Al Jazeera was that I was managing director of its English channel between 2008 and 2010. But instead of building on the international and award-winning reputation of its existing English channel, which is seen in Canada, Al Jazeera created a stand-alone “American” channel that ultimately cost the government of Qatar upwards of $2 billion.   
In doing so, Al Jazeera’s bosses made the ludicrous mistake of trying to convince Americans they were as American themselves as apple pie. They downplayed Al Jazeera’s global perspective, which was often brilliant, balanced and hard-hitting, and instead pretended that it could outdo the American news industry in covering America.    
In spite of many examples of strong journalism, it presented an impression to viewers that it was a “wannabe” American news channel that was distancing itself from the hard-hitting, often controversial values of Al Jazeera. 
Al Jazeera's "values": Islam/Arabs rock; the U.S. sucks; and Israel sucks most of all.

Yup--those are Burman's (and the Toronto Star's) bedrock "values," too.

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