He’s tied together my Sunday morning and late night television viewing habits and now he’s invading my digital media world. Fareed Zakaria, who is the Editor of the International Edition of Newsweek magazine (and who is a columnist in the US Edition) now has his own show. I started watching and listening to Mr. Zakaria during his frequent appearances on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and enjoy him even more during his guest appearances on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He’s incredibly bright and articulate, and as an Indian Muslim, his take on everything from Al Qaeda and the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq to globalization and the Indian off-shore revolution have a lot of credibility.
Now, instead of being merely a guest and consultant, Mr. Zakaria has his own show, Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria. The show airs on PBS, but at least in New York, the show airs only on a digital channel that is available to owners of digital televisions or subscribers to digital cable. In New York, WNET’s digital companion service Thirteen World, which is carried on Time Warner Cable’s DTV digital service on channel 715, airs the show a few different times per week. But the digital distribution of the show goes one step further, in that the most current episode and past broadcasts are available as streaming video, in either Windows Media or Real Video formats on the show’s Web site.
While the show is still finding its rhythm and voice, as is Fareed Zakaria as a host, I highly recommend the show. Virtually all the guests so far have been extremely intelligent and well-spoken. Given the virtual collapse of critical, vigilant insight in mainstream American news media, this show is a beacon of hope for fans of unfettered analysis and real debate. Interestingly, the show is produced under something called the Creative Commons License, which apparently (forgive my ignorance) allows the show to be freely copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided proper attribution is made and the content is unaltered. I find this concept intriguing, as I do its ironic parallels with Open Source software, of which I am not a terribly avid proponent.