The Null Device

Alternative news sources

Fed up with being kept in the dark and fed bullshit by local news outlets, increasingly many Americans are turning to British and European news sites for world coverage. (via bOING bOING)
The American public is apparently turning away from the mostly US-centric American media in search of unbiased reporting and other points of views. Much of the US media's reaction to France and Germany's intransigence on the Iraqi war issue has verged on the xenophobic, even in the so-called 'respectable' press. Some reporting has verged on the hysterical - one US news web site,, recently captioned a photograph of young German anti-war protesters as "Hitler's children".

One of the overseas news sites cited there is none other than the Guardian, that much-vilified mouthpiece of Saddam Bin Laden and his evil cronies. It's funny, because even before 9/11, "Guardian reader" was British shorthand for a certain type of urbane moderate leftist, a person attracted to worthy causes and seeing themselves as a fundamentally good human being in a specifically liberal-humanist way. Nowadays, in parts of the US (or at least of, it has become this generation's equivalent of "Vietcong sympathiser" or something. (See also: "Communist" as generic term of abuse, as in "dot-communists" being stock-optioned yuppies putting rents up.)

Meanwhile, the Graun has this piece on al-Jazeera, the controversial Arab news network which has made many enemies in the Middle East, and now plans to roll out an English-language network to compete with the BBC and CNN.

There are 4 comments on "Alternative news sources":

Posted by: John Tue Mar 11 18:01:35 2003

I think this trend has been going on for a long time. It would have been nice if the article could have research something other than website hits.

US world news coverage is terrible and sadly it is the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy of news station producers thinking Americans don't care about the world and eventually we see so little news concerning the world that this becomes true. Out of sight, out of mind.

To get outside news, one has to seek it out. Some public radio affiliates cover BBC programs, but it's sporadic at best and often only on after midnight. In Chicago, it is limited to 5-10 minute news briefs, while in Seattle the majority of the late night programming was the BBC news. Radio is succumbing to the Murdoch monopoly. I took a road trip from Chicago to Florida recently and the amount of far right rant-a-thon talk shows was astounding as much as it was depressing.

Television is not as bad a scene. To get BBC America (which sounds like it might suck anyway) I have to pay another

Posted by: John Tue Mar 11 18:03:19 2003

...5 bucks a month with Dish Network. I already get a bunch of public access shows of various qualities. There's also the FSTV ( which is a counter to the Fox No Spin Zone.

(sorry about running so verbose)

Posted by: Beth Wed Mar 12 01:40:24 2003

The idea that British and other European media sources provide "unbiased reporting" is kind of laughable though. I guess it's a comparative analysis...

Posted by: acb Wed Mar 12 06:06:05 2003

Have you ever looked at

The BBC is relatively unbiased; the Guardian has a left-wing bias (it talks about "President Saddam" and "Mr. Bush", for example), but it's a good source of news that doesn't make it through the CNN/Murdoch filters. The British bastard tabloids are, of course, utter rubbish.