The events in Egypt served as a flash point for journalists on the ground, too. For perhaps one of the first times in history, history itself has been recorded instantaneously, as reporters took to Twitter to share 140-character updates and personal stories from the protests. The messages provided a stark reality to readers in the outside world, especially as the protests turned violent and police turned on journalists — the very people many of us outside the country were following.
But Al Jazeera had its “CNN Moment,” and although it couldn’t reach viewers in the U.S. by cable television, it found a way to viewers — on YouTube. The network live streamed Mubarak’s public address — in which many believed he would resign — Thursday via YouTube. But Al Jazeera’s comprehensive coverage put it on the radar for U.S. viewers and it created a campaign to bring its English-language network to U.S. televisions.
I’ll go out on a limb: Bringing Al Jazeera to US cable networks is the single most important act Americans can authorize to bring an end to terrorism. Yes, the flow of communication across the world, and the media and cultural perspectives attached (embedded, even) to it, are impossible to overestimate. Hatred, and violence stem from ignorance, and sharing information and life experience with people from other cultures is the single best way to do that.