Journalism Comparison, Aljazeera vs. CNN

I chose to compare the news coverage of Aljazeera news reporting from Afghanistan to CNN.  The topic they were covering is the news that Obama has lengthened the withdrawal time for US troops from Afghanistan.  The main differences were that the US based coverage focused on politicians, and the setting during which the decision took place.  The two news sources were very similar in that any statistics or locations were exactly the same.

CNN seemed to be framing the article by only referencing politicians and not on how the decision effects citizens in Afghanistan.  The CNN article told the news more like a story with a timeline and numerous politicians’ views.  Aljazeera on the other hand focused more on the facts and presented opposing viewpoints well. An Aljazeera reporter interviewed a Taliban spokesman who said that the decision only spurred him to fight more because the US was continuing its invasion, “This will continue until the last person [from foreign forces] is out of our country,” Mujahid.  The Aljazeera news source gains my trust a little bit more with this addition of a unique interviewee.  I don’t think CNN would include a quotation from a member of the Taliban because it might create an uproar from the US population. Some readers might have a complaint along the lines of “associating with the enemy.”

I think seeing the views of people who are not in positions of power is important because those views might be more honest.  The Taliban spokesman isn’t trying to get votes or be politically correct he is stating what he believes and gives a very different view than most Americans are used to.  Presenting opposing views is an invaluable function of the news because it forces the readers and viewers to think critically about which view is more accurate or correct. Media literacy will increase with more views presented because more questions about who and why will need to be answered giving consumers more information to make themselves media literate.

The two news companies talked about facts equally but I think the Aljazeera article is better journalism because the facts were presented more objectively and with less framing.  I believe one could say after the Aljazeera article Cronkite’s famous line, “and that’s the way it is,”  whereas with the CNN article I think a more appropriate closing would be “and that’s the way we see it.”  This phenomenon is humorous because the Cronkite said that line while reporting for CNN.  This in itself may show the difference between traditional journalism and the storytelling journalism that is growing in popularity today.

The links to the articles are below.

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/21/us/afghanistan-carter/index.html

Aljazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/10/obama-delay-withdrawing-forces-afghanistan-151015101239545.html

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