Is the US targeting al-Jazeera?
September 30, 2002 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Is the US targeting al-Jazeera? In defense of al-Jazeera, they have interviewed Israeli officials and members of the Bush administration. They have also been critical of Arab dictatorships. In October of last year, Colin Powell tried to gag Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera's response? They did a story on the attempted censorship. Six weeks later, the al-Jazeera office in Kabul was demolished by a pair of 500 lb. bombs. Sami al-Haj, a cameraman for al-Jazeera, has been illegally imprisoned without charges by the US for nine months. His wife -- the mother of Sami's three-year old son -- assumed that he had been killed until she received a letter from him in April. Can we really say that their approach to journalism is biased and disrepectful, but ours is not?
posted by insomnia_lj (14 comments total)
We can (and should) say both approaches are biased. Great links.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:37 PM on September 30, 2002

Thanks for the good links. At least it's a slow day at work -- I now have a lot of reading to do.
posted by doubtful_guest at 3:07 PM on September 30, 2002

Remember when the Chinese Embassy was 'accidentally bombed'?

[Slightly] O/T: Paula Zahn, CNN's professional journalist (!) used Mr. Al-Mirazi's name five times, and mispronounced it wrong five times.

Bodes well, eh?

So you can didmiss it that easily? What would you think of Al-Jazeera interviewing Conzoleeda Rice? You wouldn't credit them, I suspect. Even less if you heard them corrected each time, and no apology was forthcoming. What's her rep., this 'journalist'?
posted by dash_slot- at 3:19 PM on September 30, 2002

the reaction of the western media to Al-Jazeera has been hilarious. Al-Jazeera has very quickly established itself amongst the Arabic world as the trusted alternative. Most westerners now associate Al-Jazeera with Bin Laden as a result of a conscious campaign by the western media to discredit the station. quite simply, it has been stealing their thunder again and again and they do not like it one bit.

Al-Jazeera was in the right place at the right time and it is doing its job far more effectively than many people would like.

For the Arabic world Al-Jazeera has been a revelation as a voice that addresses their concerns and has often come to challenge the status quo. It is still very early days for this story, and it will be very interesting to see if the station can maintain its professional attitude to reporting Arabic news. the struggle for influence over the station will now surely be one of the major battlegrounds in the region in coming years.

good and timely links. thanks.
posted by gravelshoes at 3:20 PM on September 30, 2002

God, Paula Zahn... What a moron. "We do question the policies of our government." Yeah, sure we do. If by "we," she means CNN, then I need to drive down to Atlanta and have a little chat with her about what it means to question the policies of our government. I wish I had seen that interview - it would have been great to see Al-Mirazi correct her pronunciation of his name over and over.
posted by UKnowForKids at 3:33 PM on September 30, 2002

I wish I could provide a link to back this up, but I couldn't find it.
2 years ago, I was watching the news and they did a 60 minutes type special about the wonderful revolutionary nature of Al-Jazeera. The report sang it's praises in the terms of democracy and freedom of speech. They claimed that it allowed the opressed arab people to speak out against their dictators and that this was planting the seeds for a democratic movement.
Now I see the same people on the news discrediting Al-Jazeera for supporting terrorism.
I lose more and more faith in journalism and reporting every day when I see them be manipulated like this.
posted by Raichle at 4:09 PM on September 30, 2002

btw: Is there a way to read Al-jazeera in English?
posted by Raichle at 4:17 PM on September 30, 2002

A lot of the American tv personalities, well, they sometimes look like they've got a uniform undermeath their suit/dress. Which is somehow nice because they're patriotic, but it kind of makes you think, as a viewer
Anyway there's so much good journalism on US TV and in some papers that, I wouldn't complain much
Budgets for foreign reporting are tight, ads are down, revenue is lagging, but quality remains high, it's a good moment anyway -- many many good professionals are doing their best and we should look up to them I think

Tha Al Jazeera bashing is a reality, tho
posted by matteo at 4:19 PM on September 30, 2002

Is there a way to read Al-jazeera in English?

You can use Ajeeb to translate much of the al-Jazeera site. They also have a link to a free mechanical translation tool that will translate Arabic into English and visa-versa.

Alternately, you can use newstran, which is also a useful service that integrates with Ajeeb for its Arabic translations. It also helps translate news from other foriegn countries.
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:57 PM on September 30, 2002

Life imitates Onion (from earlier this year):
Confused Marines Capture Al-Jazeera Leader

DOHA, QATAR— In a daring effort to dismantle the vast Arab network, a company of confused Marines raided Al-Jazeera headquarters Monday and captured leader Mohammed Abouzeid. "Al-Jazeera has ties to virtually every country in the Arab world, and this guy was the key to their whole operation," Lt. Warren Withers said. "Nothing went through the Al-Jazeera communications array without his go-ahead." Pentagon officials praised the soldiers for their "courageous and swift action," but noted they would have preferred that the Marines captured someone hostile to the U.S. instead.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 5:18 PM on September 30, 2002

It seems this is not an uncommon tactic these days

Israeli army asked to investigate 'targeting' of reporters
posted by Babylonian at 6:08 PM on September 30, 2002

The trouble is that al-Jazeera is an awful source of news. They are little more than a freelance propaganda station with only the slightest notion of journalistic ethics. These guys are out for propaganda to play to Arab notions of perpetual victimzation.

Their reporting from Afghanistan during the war against the Taliban was like reading a newspaper from a strange alternate reality where the Taliban weren't uninformed, prevaricating barbarians being stomped by the world's most powerful military, but rather pillairs of sweetness and light who were winning their war with America. Repeatedly, they ran the most laughable propaganda as news and then failed to issue corrections or retractions. (100 US soldiers killed today, adding to 75 yesterday. Evidence? Look! the wheel from a helicopter, or drone, or something)

I wrote them a letter, but never got any kind of response. Sure, CNN is biased too, but if you don't like CNN, watch the BBC, or CBS, or ABC, or.... For viewers wanting free information in the Arab world, there is no choice, and it is a shame that al-Jazeera is all they have.
posted by ednopantz at 5:05 AM on October 1, 2002

ednopantz: the alternative for almost all Arabic viewers is state controlled media. For this reason alone Al-Jazeera is a very important step in the right direction. I don't speak Arabic, so cannot vouch for the day to day content, but I don't agree that they are little more than a freelance propaganda station with only the slightest notion of journalistic ethics. The whole set up grew out of the BBCs highly trained and highly professional Arabic unit.
posted by gravelshoes at 6:00 AM on October 1, 2002

"The trouble is that al-Jazeera is an awful source of news."...."These guys are out for propaganda to play to Arab notions of perpetual victimzation."

Hm. Playing to notions of perpetual victimization? Gee... that sounds familiar.

Thank you, drive through.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:56 AM on October 1, 2002

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