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June 22, 2008

Burlington on Al Jazeera English

Seven Days, VPR, the Burlington Free Press and other local media have covered Burlington Telecom's attempt to drop Al Jazeera English from its cable TV line-up.

Now you can add Al Jazeera English to the list of media outlets reporting on the debate.

The Arab news network aired this 12-minute segment on Friday. They sent a local camera crew from Channel 17 to interview Seven Days staffer Ken Picard a couple weeks ago. So of course when it aired, a group of us clustered around Ken's laptop to watch the live stream.

Lots of other locals make appearances, including Sandy Baird, Sam Mayfield and Bill Simmon.

Here are some links to more coverage:

Al Jazeera Messages Show Divide (Burlington Free Press, 6/19/08)

Burlington Weighs in on Al Jazeera Network (VPR, 6/12/08)

Al Jazeera Reporter Addresses Critics (Seven Days, 6/10/08)

Channel 17 Video Coverage of Public Meetings

Al Jazeera Issue Draws Crowd (Burlington Free Press, 5/28/08)

Al Jazeera International to cover Burlington meeting (Seven Days, 5/26/08)

Mayor Says Burlington Telecom Won't Pull the Plug Yet on Al Jazeera English (Seven Days, 5/21/08)

Burlington Telecom to Dump Al Jazeera (Seven Days, 5/7/08)

For those raising voice against diversity of news channels for viewers in USA the advice of Wei Zheng a 7th century Chinese wise man has gained even more relevance. He suggests: "Find enlightenment through heeding many points of view. Find ignorance through heeding few."

Those who criticise Al Jazeera (without even having watched enough of its news programs) may well take out a leaf from the book of old Chinese wisdom to remind 5th century wise saying from Wen Hou: "One look is worth a thousands rumours."

I very much agree with the above statement.

Forget conservatives versus liberals - the real debate over Al Jazeera in Burlington and elsewhere is increasingly turning into a debate between those who have watched the channel and those who have not. Those who have watched Al Jazeera on air will benefit from its strong global perspective on international news and affairs. On the flipside, most of the sections of society insisting Al Jazeera be dropped have never even watched it. Even when sets aside the fact that one group should not be allowed to impose itself on the other, the question of whose views are more credible is easy to answer.

As a former resident of the Champlain Valley (Clinton County, NY), I am always interested in the goings-on in the great city of Burlington.
I lived in Russia last summer as a expat, and Al Jazeera English was widely available.
Fear not, Burlington: This is not a propaganda channel like, say---FOX NEWS---but rather, an intelligent, probing news organization that will go deeper into international affairs than any U.S. news outlet you've seen.
Their reporting on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was far more thorough---and harrowing---than CNN, MSNBC, FOX, etc.---and the stories were told from all angles, not with any detectable Arab bias.
To those who feel threatened in Burlington by this viable information alternative, I ask you to watch it first, and then make your decision.
Expose yourselves to every, last bit of information on this shrinking world. Don't trust the Corporate Media in the U.S. to give you the scoop.

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