In the third update to his latest, GG highlights that Jay Rosen tweets:
Why we need stateless news organizationshttp://jr.ly/6xxf (Which is what I’ve said Wikileaks is…)
Wikileaks? Al-Jazeera? Yep. Pretty stateless.
Funny enough, though, earlier in the same post, Greenwald highlights an exchange on the BBC between Bill Keller and Carne Ross:
And recently in a BBC interview, Keller boasted that — unlike WikiLeaks — the Paper of Record had earned the praise of the U.S. Government for withholding materials which the Obama administration wanted withheld, causing Keller’s fellow guest — former British Ambassador to the U.N. Carne Ross — to exclaim: ”It’s extraordinary that the New York Times is clearing what it says about this with the U.S. Government.” The BBC host could also barely hide his shock and contempt at Keller’s proud admission:
HOST (incredulously): Just to be clear, Bill Keller, are you saying that you sort of go to the Government in advance and say: “What about this, that and the other, is it all right to do this and all right to do that,” and you get clearance, then?
Obviously, that’s exactly what The New York Times does.
This is a fairly minor point, but I do want to make it: the BBC? Def not stateless. Same goes for the CBC. Same goes for NPR. Not stateless, that is, materially. But that’s not to say I disagree with Rosen. I love all three of these institutions, but their coverage of the defining issue of the moment has been totally pantsed by Al-Jazeera. And Wikileaks…. well, Wikileaks is a whole discussion in itself that I’m sure we’ll have soon.
UPDATE: Actually, I just checked, and Al-Jazeera’s pretty materially state-dependent as well (where the state is here defined as the Qatari royal family). But doesn’t this just underline my point? What matters isn’t the source of financial support, but what strings are attached to it; not state support simpliciter, but what state’s support. In the US media market, the strings are many, tangled and taut.
UPDATE II: While we’re on the topic of media ownership by Arab royalty, of some relevance is that Fox News is 7% owned by a high-ranking member of the Saudi royals. By comparison, NPR receives about 6% of its funding directly from the US government (another 10% comes from grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but still). Not quite an apples to apples comparison, granted, but I’ll be damned if it’s not worth noting.