The first one I read is the BBC since they are five hours ahead of us and have everything that happened overnight. The next is a quick glance at CNBC for the financial news, but they are just waking up and are more useful later in the day. The same is true of the Wall Street Journal. They only give a teaser headline, and you have to subscribe to see the article, but the headline is usually enough for an early heads-up. The Huffington Post keeps me up-to-date on the nonsense of the world, such as, “Naked Man Robs Store of Valentine Candy,” or “Miley Cyrus Shows Side-boob at Awards Ceremony.” (Miley, whoever she is, does this a lot.) Finally there is the surprise, Al Jazeera in English, which is right up there with the BBC and maybe even better. (The preferred form of “Al Jazeera” seems to be as two words, although “Aljazeera” is also used. “Al” simply means “the,” as in “Allah,” the God. “Jazeera” is the Arabian peninsula.)
If you think Al Jazeera is full of anti-American Islamic propaganda, you would be wrong. It is an excellent, comprehensive, objective news source with very little bias, very similar to the BBC, except emphasizing the Middle East. As an example, in today’s edition (Feb. 7), the featured video is on a strike in Tunisia protesting the assassination of the government’s opposition leader. The articles that follow (some video, some written) include “Sexual abuse of children rampant in India,” “Russian fighter jets breach Japan airspace,” and “Dark side of Russian bid to host winter games” that is about the large number of homes being destroyed for the new construction. They did have one, “CIA using Saudi base for drone strikes,” that could be construed as anti-American, but it was factual and similar to widely published reports that appeared later in our own media.
You would think the Opinions section would surely be filled with anti-American propaganda, but I could find nothing obvious. I thought I did with one titled, “What’s really making Americans sick?” by Namratha Kandulaa, but she is an internist at Northwestern University and her theme was that medical treatment should be a holistic approach that includes psychological and social factors. Who can argue with that?
Still in Opinion, a column titled, “Obama’s year of Iran,” sounded ominous, but this one was written by a former director of policy planning in the U.S. State Department. Her theme was that Obama’s hard line with Iran will probably become even harder. The U.S. relied on diplomatic rather than military pressure in Syria with poor results, she reasoned, and the administration is not likely to make that mistake again. (Interesting observation.)
Near the top of the page runs a continuous crawl of breaking news, a nice feature. A typical one said South Korea warns that North Korea’s nuclear bombs could be bigger that those of Hiroshima.
The site has a host of other human-interest stories and sports news, any of which could fit easily into the Philadelphia Inquirer without raising an eyebrow. All-in-all, the Al Jazeera website (http://www.aljazeera.com) is an interesting and informative place to begin your day away from the mindless chit-chat of American morning TV. And, no, you will not be corrupted.