October 27, 2003
Can the American left afford to lose its international perspective?

Buried within the larger reports of Al Gore's efforts to spearhead a campaign to introduce a "liberal" alternative to mainstream and conservative cable news outlets is this overlooked aspect of the current plan:

"Gore is keeping quiet about it, but he heads a group that plans to pay a reported $70 million to buy Newsworld International (NWI), a cable news network that's currently in fewer than 20 million homes."

I don't claim to be well-versed in the mechanics of establishing new cable networks and contractually arranging for their effective distribution, but replacing a network like NWI with this "liberal alternative" to other networks seems a bit narrowminded and foolhardy, to say the least.

I can geekily admit to really, sincerely loving NWI -- its motley assortment of news from Canada, Germany, the U.K., and Russia consistently proves to be a truly useful alternative to the nationalist (and often naive) perspective of much of the U.S.-based newsmedia. Where else can one see televised footage of U.S.-built Israeli Caterpillar D-9 bulldozers plowing through Palestinian homes, or uncensored broadcasts of the latest Osama bin Laden audio or videotapes? Where else can one see President Bush speak in all his soundbite-devoid, flub-worthy glory? And where else can television viewers get "man on the street" perspectives on international policy from citizens in Ottawa and Berlin?

As such, it would seem to be a less-than-ideal solution to remove this network from the airwaves merely to replace it with an "entertaining" platform for Al Franken or Bill Maher to put forth nightly punchlines about Bush's numerous lies.

Can't we have them both? And maybe we can give up the style network or even, if necessary, C-SPAN 3 (I'm not kidding, there are in fact three C-SPANs).

Posted in a Grave fashion.

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