I feel the need to react/discuss Shawn Powers and Mohammed el-Nawawy’s article “Al-Jazeera English and global news networks: clash of civilizations or cross-cultural dialogue?”
Early in the article the authors write, “Some scholars have speculated about the possibility of global news media creating a global public sphere, capable of fostering an international conversation between geographically far and culturally diverse communities” (264). While I agree with the authors, as they clearly refute this speculation, I find it naive to think that global news media can actually bring people together to discuss their opinions in a civil manner. While I do believe global news media do have the capability to do so, I don’t think they mobilize it. In a world where media corporations (predominantly broadcast media) are far more concerned with ratings than content, why would they even consider creating a “global public sphere.” To be fair, I think media corporations try to mimic a global public sphere by inviting different opinions through interviews (or when Fox News invites a Democrat on the show but just ends ups as a yelling contest). But I don’t think they actually succeed in doing so.
Quite frankly, I don’t watch the news (on t.v.). I prefer obtaining my news from a variety of print sources. I think television news is more for entertainment than information. I guess what I’m more susceptible to believing is that global news media are able to provide “open-minded” people different perspectives about the world around them. Rather than reinforcing our own ideas, a multiplicity of global media outlets can help shape our perspective and open our minds to the possibility of different interpretations of the world around us. Unfortunately, I don’t see this to be true, at least not in the United States. It takes a lot of effort to gain a different perspective on news in the U.S. and quite frankly, it’s just easier to turn the T.V. on and watch the news.
Now that I’ve effectively hated on our news media, here’s a clip I recently watched that gave me a little bit of hope.