Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Inside a News Spin Zone

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Inside a News Spin Zone

Article excerpt

Fair and balanced. We report, you decide. The most trusted news in America. Most of these advertising tags strike me a version of the proverbial big lie - not just slanting the truth but rotating it 180 degrees in the opposite direction. The reason I don't sell my TV set is that public perceptions created by such programming are as important as the real events it discusses.

"Control Room," a riveting new documentary about the Arab-run Al Jazeera network, reminds us that news programming can vary so widely from place to place that journalistic myths of "objectivity" and "impartiality" seem more naive than ever.

Jehane Noujaim is an Arab-American filmmaker, but the view of Al Jazeera presented by "Control Room" doesn't seem especially skewed toward Arab perspectives. Compared with many US cable shows, in fact, it seems ... well, fair and balanced.

Yes, an Al Jazeera reporter rails against violent American meddling in the Middle East, but he also speaks of US-style constitutional democracy as a model for the world. …

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