Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that Al Jazeera is gaining more prominence in the U.S. because it offers "real news" -- something she said American media were falling far short of doing.
Clinton was speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and she said the U.S. is losing the "information war" in the world. Other countries and global news outlets, she said, were making inroads into places like the Middle East more effectively than the United States has. One of the reasons she cited for this was the quality of channels like Al Jazeera. The channel, she said, was "changing peoples' minds and attitudes. And like it or hate it, it is really effective." U.S. news, she added, was not keeping up.
"Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it's real news," Clinton said. "You may not agree with it, but you feel like you're getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners."
During the height of the crisis in Egypt, The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim wrote about Al Jazeera English's near-total invisibility on U.S. television.
Media critics like Jeff Jarvis have also contrasted Al Jazeera with American news networks. "Vital, world-changing news is occurring in the Middle East and no one-not the xenophobic or celebrity-obsessed or cut-to-the-bone American media-can bring the perspective, insight, and on-the-scene reporting Al Jazeera English can," Jarvis wrote in January.
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