"Al-Alam was all true."

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The SF Chronicle's Robert Collier reports on a new front-runner in the familiar struggle for Operation Iraqi Television Freedom: Iran's Al-Alam 24-hour news channel. Al-Alam appears to be winning the field by default. The State Department's radio and tv efforts are going nowhere, while the Iraqi Communist Party was first out of the gate with a post-Saddam newspaper. A copy of Al-Hayat costs a buck on the newsstand. So it's left to the journalistic integrity of the Iranians to sway Iraqi news consumers: "I will give a chance to Washington," says Al-Alam correspondent Haidar Al-Assady. "But now, I speak against the American forces because they are not doing anything to help the people's suffering."

My question: Why does the U.S. insist on competing with state-run media through more state-run media? Wouldn't it be cheaper and more effective to set up a few VHF-relay stations in Iraq, and open them to all comers? Most Americans wouldn't watch a news channel put together by Norman Pattiz on the State Department's dime; why should any Iraqis?

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  1. “Wouldn’t it be cheaper and more effective to set up a few VHF-relay stations in Iraq, and open them to all comers?”

    Sure it would. But you’d also invoke the ire of The Great Islamic Establishment who would have a field day lamenting and bashing “the corruption of Islamic culture” through such unholy western influences. I mean, you don’t seriously think they’d welcome content like VH-1 and MTV, do you?

  2. The question that begs to be asked is; If americans want to win a propaganda war (or any war for that matter )
    ‘ why are they not educating themselves about a culture they know so little about.
    Knowledge, of a culture they are quite ignorant of, may be the best way to actually win a propaganda war; May shift arab opinion about the US and American arrogance, ignorance and might , that has not really won them much . So, maybe, by respecting and learning about this very ancient and proud culture/people, they may win their ‘so called war’,without insulting the Iraqis with mindless and endless TV shows. Promoting ‘Arab’ culture would be a much more sensible way forward..in winnig a propaganda war.

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