America's Soviet-style TV

I downloaded the app for Al Jazeera on my Android phone and it works fine. Just now there was an intelligent discussion comparing the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

When I was a kid and TV was just coming to our little town, there was an ad showing a Soviet soldier smash a radio with an axe. "Radio Free Europe compels them to admit the truth!" a voice loudly proclaimed.

Something about the contrast between Al Jazeera and the US network and cable news reminds me of that spot. "TV Al Jazeera compels them to admit there's a world beyond Washington and Hollywood gossip!"

The extent of decline in U.S. television coverage of world events is, by now, absolutely shocking. The idea that the networks can quickly parachute in news anchors like Brian Williams to tell us what's happening is just another symptom of a deep disorientation in American mass media.

Then again, what does Al Jazeera have to say about Lindsay Lohan's latest troubles?

- Langdon