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The American Al-Jazeera or C-Span Baghdad

Tired of relying on the new networks to communicate to the American people what’s happening in Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority has announced plans to launch its own 24-hours-a-day broadcast operation. The New York Observer has a thorough article about…
November 13, 2003

Tired of relying on the new networks to communicate to the American people what’s happening in Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority has announced plans to launch its own 24-hours-a-day broadcast operation. The New York Observer has a thorough article about the new operation and what its implications are for international journalism.

“We’ve had to rely on events covered by the networks and their interpretation, and their feed back to the United States. That’s about to change because we’re about to have total 24 hour connectivity,” said Dorrance Smith, the former ABC News producer and an advisor to President Bush and his father, now senior media adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority. “It’s real time to the United States as opposed to being covered by a network and having them decide whether they want to carry it live. And that’s a critical distinction in a wartime situation. It’s C-Span Baghdad. The satellite coordinates will be for one and all and won’t be dependent on somebody deciding whether they’re going to put it on live.”

The Bush administration is depicting this step as a move towards greater openness, arguing that it will allow the American public less mediated access to the changes which are reshaping the Middle Eastern nation. Skeptics are seeing it as a propaganda machine designed to shape public opinion by pushing the Bush Administration’s agenda.

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