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Does Arab TV Broadcast Dangerous Messages?

Nidal Hasan, the alleged shooter in the Fort Hood massacre, will soon face a military trial and could, if convicted, be sentenced to death. Hasan was radicalized by jihadist websites on the internet, which brings up concerns about Al Jazeera, the Arab TV network that is now being broadcast in the US. However, a new study shows that despite the fears of some Americans, Arab television networks such as Al Jazeera do not promote anti-American feelings among all their viewers.

The research was based on surveys of nearly 20,000 residents of six Arab countries and it suggests that while watching networks like Al Jazeera fuels anti-American feelings in SOME viewers, it actually reduces those feelings in others. Researcher Erik Nisbet says, "Arab TV viewers aren't getting a single, unified anti-American message from networks like Al Jazeera." He feels it's too simplistic to blame the Arab media for stoking resentment and hatred of America, and says, "Viewers interpret the messages they get from Al Jazeera through the lens of their own political identity." In other words, they believe what they WANT to believe.

Whether Arab TV networks inflamed anti-American passions depended on how those surveyed saw themselves primarily as Arab nationalists, Muslim nationalists or as devoted primarily to their own country (so maybe the French are right to ban Islam headwear for women).

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