I welcome the recent purchase of Current TV by Al Jazeera, a media company owned by the government of Qatar. I believe a diversity of sources of news strengthens the opportunity to learn the truth about what is happening in the world. I also believe this is one purpose for the First Amendment in our Constitution. Despite the fact that the USA has a Freedom of Information Act, I find it difficult to be a well-informed citizen. Since most sources of information are part of a business, considerations of profit will influence their content.
Yes, Al Jazeera will have a bias, but at least there will be more content devoted to the world beyond our borders. After all, among those approximately 3,000 people who died on Sept. 11, there were people from other countries. I want to be informed about fiscal cliffs that my country might go over, or about a war some of its citizens may fight to protect Christmas or marriage. However, I would also like to know something about events in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, which Al Jazeera covers better than any news organizations except the BBC and “NewsHour.” From my point of view our nation’s best source of news on television is “The NewsHour” on PBS. That is only one hour five days a week, with a little bit more from the BBC. So I feel that Al Jazeera has a lot of opportunity to provide us news about the people with whom we share this planet.