This could all still go terribly wrong (no one can predict how the Egyptian army will respond) , but it has been heartening watching Egyptians taking to the streets for the last five days to free themselves from oppressive, US-friendly dictatorships. (We can say the same for events in Tunisia and now it seems in Sudan). However, it is not so heartening (or informing) trying to follow these events on American cable news channels like CNN or MSNBC (the less said about Fox News the better). On these channels anchors and guests mainly discuss what the protests mean for secure oil supplies to the West, the security concerns of the United States and its allies (like neighboring Israel), or trying to dictate who should lead a post-Mubarak government (that they “pro-US, pro-Western” mainly). That’s where I have tuned to Al Jazeera. The channel has played an admirable role reporting from the ground and showing up the more familiar global news channels.It’s importance is underscored by news on twitter–out of Egypt–this morning that Al Jazeera’s bureau and its signal on NileSat was briefly shut down. Everyone acknowledges Al Jazeera’s impact on the spreading insurrection; some of Al Jazeera’s competitors are still coming to turns with the network’s fearlessness. (Some even figured it out a while ago.) For now you can only stream Al Jazeera (both its English and Arabic channels) live online or on your iPhone (they have an app) since the major US cable networks refuse to carry the channel.–Sean Jacobs

UPDATE: Al Jazeera English is apparently available on some cable providers in the US. For example, if you’re in the Washington D.C. area, you can see it on Mhz5 on basic broadcast, or channel 275 on Comcast digital. (information via Ann Eveleth)

Further Reading

Nostalgia for empire

In late July, all 160,000 members of Britain’s Conservative Party will vote for a new leader. The winner will be Britain’s next Prime Minister. The favorite is Boris Johnson, a Trump-like figure with a nostalgia for Empire.