Show has had the best
coverage of Manning case
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was interviewed on Listening Post during its June 12 show. Click image to enlarge.
WITH THE ARRIVAL this week of AlJazeera America, those in the U.S. who have previously not been able to now can watch one of the best half hours on television.
“Listening Post,” a show about the media and journalism in general, is now scheduled to be aired on AlJazeera America on Saturdays, starting tomorrow, at 2:30 p.m. EDT (in the East) and again at 2:30 p.m. PDT (in the West).
It is not just a show for journalists.
It is an in-depth examination of the most important issues of the day, and how the media shapes public opinion – either with its coverage of these issues, or the lack thereof.
WATCH A VIDEO OF THE SHOW BELOW THE FOLD
ONE OF THE MOST glaring omissions of the U.S. media of late – for which it has drawn considerable criticism from academics and media critics alike – has been (prior to this week) the coverage of the Bradley Manning/WikiLeaks story.
Not true about “Listening Post,” but American viewers had to work very hard to find and watch the show, until now.
The web site of the AlJazeera’ Listening Post show on the Bradley Manning case. Click image to enlarge.
On June 12, Listening Post spent its entire half hour on Bradley Manning: Truth on trial? presented by Richard Gizbert
The online description of the show says: “This week, a special edition of the Listening Post with a special report on Bradley Manning and an exclusive interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”
“Although US media outlets appear more interested in the case than during the pre-trial, the reporting is scant, because for every five accreditation requests made by journalists and interested parties, the Pentagon turned down four of them.
“This trial is worth watching because of the implications for whistleblowers and the US journalistic organisations that rely on government insiders, so that Americans know what the government is doing in their name.”
BEFORE THIS WEEK, one could actually have watched the video at this site (I did). But now it is blocked. “The video you are trying to watch cannot be viewed from this location,” says a new notice on the page.
But never mind.
The show will now be available on the big screen TV in your living room.
The listing for tomorrow is titled: “Listening Post: Media, Secrecy & Leaks – Obama’s Surveillance State.”
Is that sufficiently provocative?
“Richard Gizbert spotlights secrets, surveillance and security in Barack Obama’s America. Plus, he sits down with Matthew Miller, former spokesman for the U.S. Attorney General,” the listing adds.
One of the earlier installments of “Listening Post” that caught my attention (and is viewable at the bottom of this post) is titled: ZANews on the Listening Post, Al Jazeera English.
South African cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro was the subject of a Listening Post show aired in 2011. Click image to enlarge.
The “ZANews” is from South Africa, my childhood homeland. My ears pricked up. The 7:49 segment was aired in March 2011.
What is so admirable about AlJazeera in general and this show in particular is that there seem to be no sacred cows, across any and all international boundaries.
Check out how the presenter introduces the segment on the controversy then swirling around South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma for his sexual dalliances and ignorant statements about AIDS prevention.
“Jacob Zuma, is a satirists’ delight, a cartoonist’s dream,” begins the presenter, presumably Gizbert (but he is never identified on the screen…a glitch?)
“The South African president provides plenty of fodder and keeps Jonathan Shapiro on his toes.
“Shapiro … is the country’s most provocative political cartoonist. He has been since the days of Apartheid.
…the content [of his new video show] has been deemed a bit too edgy by broadcasters in South Africa’s relatively young democracy.
“The Listening Post’s Nick Muirhead caught up with Shapiro recently in Cape Town (my childhood home),” the presenter says, “to talk to him about his cartoons, his new show and [Shapiro’s] looming legal showdown with the country’s president.”
The accent of the reporter is unmistakable: he is without a doubt a South African.
ONE OF THE STRENGTHS of the channel is its boots on the ground. How many correspondents do U.S. media now have in South Africa (or anywhere abroad, for that matter)? Much fewer than they used to, that’s for sure, although the need for Americans to know what’s happening in the rest of the world has never been greater.
Earlier this year, Al Jazeera English also did a show on the WikiLeaks/Manning story. The case of the US vs Bradley Manning aired on March 9.
The presenter Richard Gizbert is seen with images of Assange and Manning in the background. Click image to enlarge.
The online notes say this:
“Why have the US media shied away from covering the source of the WikiLeaks material yet gouged on his information?”
That is an important question.
“US Private Bradley Manning is no longer the alleged source of all those documents to WikiLeaks. According to his own testimony, delivered before a military court on Feb. 28, Manning was the source – nothing alleged about it.”
Al Jazeera was on the job, filling a void that should not have existed.
“Media outlets went on to draw on WikiLeaks for some of the biggest news stories of the decade. Manning’s leak meant millions of papers sold and pages viewed yet the story of the man himself has been pushed to the margins.
“Is this just ingratitude or something more sinister? Are important parts of the fourth estate signing up for a system of government-media relations that sees whistleblowers as enemies of the state?”
Welcome to America, AlJazeera.
It is time the U.S. media got a wake-up call. Let’s give the new kid on the block a chance to prove it can do a better job for all of us.
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