Posted: 08 Feb 2010 Print Send a link
"Vladimir Putin, Jacques Chirac and Hu Jintao all appear to have reached the conclusion that CNN had been critical in convincing the world that the U.S. was right to invade Iraq. They each decided that they needed a soft-power tool of their own that, next time, could argue their case in English, the language in which the world debates. ... Of course, countries such as Germany and Japan have long had their own English-language stations that broadcast news abroad. Like France 24, their only discernible bias is in favour of news from 'home,' as well as a tendency to carry live speeches by local leaders that other networks might ignore. Al Jazeera’s English network has also won respect by giving its correspondents plenty of editorial independence. RT [Russia Today] News, [Iran's] Press TV and the coming Xinhua channel, however, have more in common with the likes of Voice of America and Radio Liberty – the U.S. State Department-funded tools of persuasion that pump out Washington-friendly news and opinion." Mark MacKinnon, Beijing correspondent, Globe and Mail, 5 February 2010. This is a detailed essay on the new crop of international news channels. But read carefully: for starters, VOA and RFE/RL are not "State Department funded."