The Al-Jazeera Mirror

The Arab news site and TV station have become the objects of MSM endorsement recently. Here is a must-read perusal of the object of their praise.

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Robert Jancu

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American journalists on the ground in the Mid-East these past few weeks, elbow-to-elbow with al-Jazeera reporters like never before, have begun to sing al-Jazeera’s praises.  This is a phenomenon that provides great insight into the mindset of Western journalists covering the ongoing disturbances in the Arab world. 

It is instructive for Americans to look beyond their own newspapers and TV broadcasts, then, and peruse al-Jazeera (http://www.aljazeera.com/).  Take a day such as February 23, 2011, when the Arab world was on fire for reasons having nothing to do with Israel. 

On the homepage of al-Jazeera.com, billed as “Al-Jazeera Magazine,”the single large photo at the top is of an Israeli tank, accompanied by the lead article: “Israeli Army Will Cash in on Egyptian Revolution.”

The prominent section just below is called “In Depth Palestine,” and contains three feature articles bashing Israel.

In the “Latest Headlines Middle East Live” section, which is adjacent to the left, three of the ten stories are attack pieces on Israel.

In the “Let’s Talk” section, which is adjacent to the right, al-Jazeera provides discussion topics for its readers to address in interactive threads.  Critiques of Israel constitute two of the four formal discussion groupings.

In the “Conspiracy Theories” section just below that (why does a news source aspiring to respectability contain a “Conspiracy Theories” section on its homepage?), three of the five conspiracies revolve around Israel.

It is almost as if al-Jazeera, which is the Arab “newspaper and network of record,” specializes in tiny Israel (one article focused on the destruction of twelve tents in the West Bank) and covers the vast Muslim world as an afterthought.  Moreover, this is the English-language version of al-Jazeera online.  One reasonably assumes that the Arabic-language version is even more distorted.

Recently, Western reporters have made a habit of declaring, fawningly, that al-Jazeera deserves recognition for having been more attuned than they to what was happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, and the like.  It is, however, rather to be expected that a Middle East newspaper and network would be better apprised of local events.  This is no revelation. 

What is significant is that many of these Western reporters were not satisfied in voicing mere admiration.  They took the further step of opining that U.S. citizens would do well to include al-Jazeera in their news consumption regimen. 

Presumably, these Western journalists did their homework and based their endorsement on more than simply being impressed that al-Jazeera had more reporters at the hotspots.  One would be justified to suppose that they had at least glanced at the English-language al-Jazeera homepage. Upon having done so, they would see that al-Jazeera's view of the world is not too different than that of Julius Streicher’s Nazi-era propaganda organ, Der Sturmer, and its motto “Die Juden sind unser Ungluck” (“The Jews Are Our Misfortune”).

American reporters’ indifference to al-Jazeera’s obsession is consistent with the attempt of such reporters first to cover up and then to downplay the anti-Semitic context of the attack on CBS’ Lara Logan by Cairo’s celebrated liberators, who shouted “Jew! Jew!” as they beat and sexually assaulted her.

The Israel-demonizing litany of al-Jazeera’s articles, op-eds, and discussion threads for February 23, 2011, as noted above, appears on a day in which the Arab world is in conflagration, and nothing of remotely comparable note is happening in Israel.

Imagine what al-Jazeera looks like at other times.

The lionizing of al-Jazeera by America’s star journalists is yet more deplorable when one reasonably assumes that they also check  English-language translations of al-Jazeera Arabic-language TV broadcasts on the  Al Jazeera Satellite Channel whose website is aljazeera.net.  Al-jazeera.com claims that the two are independent.  Websites such as www.memri.org provide TV translations.  The broadcasts are even more virulent than al-Jazeera print or electronic coverage. 

Al-Jazeera TV features a parade of Salafist imams who preach the destruction of America, the virtual enslavement of women, and modern-day blood libels.

The recent widespread endorsement of information from sources named al-Jazeera by U.S. reporters covering the Mid-East is a great disservice to their viewers and readers. Perhaps Americans should, indeed, take a look at media called al-Jazeera, if only to grasp the extent of the warp and bias that afflicts their own news media.



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