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The Al Jazeera Effect: How the New Global Media Are Reshaping World Politics Hardcover – September 1, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mapping the first large-scale shift away from Western media dominance since the advent of television, Seib (Headline Democracy) argues that framing conflict in the Middle East as a clash of civilizations has outlived its polemical and practical uses. The book makes a convincing case that the rise of Al Jazeera—with its audience of 35 million—reflects how satellite television and the Internet create virtual communities that can significantly influence political policy. Seib cites the example of Hezbollah, a geopolitical group without easily definable territory, and suggests that Al Qaeda is similarly a virtual state existing through the combination of communication and political will. Information is no longer the province of a political elite, according to the author whose wide-ranging evidence includes a fascinating description of how news of the SARS outbreak in China first leaked via text message and in Internet chatrooms. The author also examines how the constant proliferation of perspectives on the Internet, for example, can both mitigate and exacerbate problems of assimilation. Seib constructs an imaginative, thorough and balanced assessment of how news—ever more a dialogue and less an event—is redistributing political power. (Sept.)
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From Booklist

Beyond what was called the “CNN effect” 10 years ago, when news went global 24/7, Al Jazeera is producing its own effect, helping to promote an “unprecedented cohesion in the worldwide Muslim community.” It is part of the rising prominence of nontraditional non-Western media, seeping through the Internet, radio, and satellite television to deliver news in ways and from viewpoints that have not been widely heard. Seib, a journalism professor, examines how the new global media are developing and the long-range implications for global politics. Qatar-based Al Jazeera, along with other Islamic communications, is influencing everything from democratization to terrorism, even creating “virtual states” that are as much a danger and influence in the Middle East as actual states. Seib outlines the major players in the shifting media world as well as the informal bloggers in China and other nations who are bringing new perspectives to news coverage. This is a compelling look at how changes in communication are reshaping geopolitics. --Vanessa Bush
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books; 1st edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597972002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597972000
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Seib, an insightful political scientist and journalism analyst both, brings both barrels to play in looking at how first, satellite TV, and now, blogs, Twitter, etc., are changing news coverage within the Muslim world, especially, but not only, in the Arab heartland.

That includes their impact not just on traditional nation-states, but stateless actors like al Qaeda, and in-between players, quasi-states without borders like Kurdistan.

That said, Seib is a realist. He notes that, while media in Lebanon pinned back Syria's ears as part of the Cedar Revolution, it has had little power to change political structures in places like the Gulf kingdoms, Iran or Egypt.

In any case, without being explicitly predictive, Seib has good insights for future developments.

As part of that, while looking primarily at news coverage issues, he also looks at the financial side, no small matter with the financial backing al-Jazeera, especially, gets. He offers no predictions as to when it will be able to stand on its own two feet, but notes that this too is an issue needing further attention.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book may be a little out of date as it was published in 2008. However it gives a good insight into how this media giant of the mideast mananges to provide good coverage of events over the world and how the post 1991 world of reporting has changed. There are now thousands of citizen journalists using social media, cell phones and blogs to provide information the mainstream media doesn't bother with. Our electronic connections now drive public opinion in new ways. It has led to de-territorialization of the planet. There are now virtual states with out boundaries and worldwide virtual communities (eg muslims).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If Americans want to understand the world today, this book is a good place to start. It is quite "busy", ie it jumps from topic to topic and I sometimes lost the thread. The basic idea seems to be that when Al Jazeera started broadcasting, this was a revolutionary change on the top of the scale, comparable to Russia deposing the Czars (and a lot less bloody).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a political science major, and had to right a book review for a class I was taking, the book doesn't read like a text book and is still very informative and education it keeps the reader intriuged the whole way. Very good.
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