Are Americans getting a balanced diet of news? – II. Analysis

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Are Americans getting a balanced diet of news? – II. Analysis

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This post discusses two videos that offer different views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In some cases, the mere topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can bring typically mild-mannered people to the brink of emotional distress. Some, especially Christians and Jews, feel that Israel has a God-given right to the land and to defend itself. For example, many of my friends and relatives feel that the Israelis did the right thing by attacking the Palestinians in December of 2008. I argue that if these people were to openly partake of a well-balanced media mix, they might begin to perceive the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as well as other issues, differently.

For example, what if people with strong views against the Palestinians were to watch shows like Focus on Gaza featured on Al Jazeera:

(Al Jazeera English, 2009).

Several of the comments on Al Jazeera’s Focus on Gaza website reveal how people can have an open, civil discussion about this conflict. I would like to highlight two of them:

“I am very thankful that Al Jazeera is investigating war crimes in Gaza. Please don’t stop. I am sure there must be hundreds of war crimes. Al Jazeera is making a difference in the World.” (Barnes, 2009).
Robert Barnes, United States
22/02/2009 (Gaza War Crimes)


“It’s interesting, at least from my perspective, that the Arabs and the Jews hate each [other] so much. I speak as a Jew myself when I say that we are sons and daughters of Abraham. There is no logical reason why we should fight. Yes, Israel has done horrible things to Palestinians. But on the flipside, Arabs are waging a war of hatred against Israel just for being a Jewish state. I read the paper everyday and everyday I am amazed at the hatred both sides have. This hate must stop for their to be peace.” (Aaron, 2009).
Aaron, United States
07/03/2009 (Arabs and Jews)

I am not suggesting a total new diet of news from Al Jazeera, but something from the opposite side or at least a different angle. After watching Al Jazeera and Fox News, some people might come up with thoughtful questions or insightful remarks that could lead to a dialogue similar to the one above. For example, the following YouTube vlogger provides a good example of using several forms of media and pausing to ask questions:

(Liberal Viewer, 2009).

Americans need to learn to flex their media literacy muscles. Our brains are in an atrophied state from taking in the same redundant sources. Even though it is painful to listen to something that one opposes or does not understand, we must open our minds, take a deep breath, and try. People who want to discuss these issues should start a blog, embed video comparisons, and add questions to see how other people think. In order to achieve balance, Americans must open their minds to new perspectives.

Speak up ... I'm listening ...

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