Egypt is in a state of chaos, the Middle East is destabilized, and experts in Israel and abroad lay much of the blame on incessant incitement by Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based television network. However, the leftist-liberal American press is heaping praise upon the institution, which has been referred to as "jihad TV" by its detractors. There have been reports that the channel is largely a project undertaken by Muslim Brotherhood leaders who were exiled from Egypt and made their home in Qatar.
Under the header "Al Jazeera English Finds an Audience," the New York Times appeared to openly advocate Monday that the channel be allowed to broadcast to a US audience. "White House officials have turned to Al Jazeera English among other television channels to monitor the mounting protests in Egypt. But most Americans lack the same ability to tune in to the broadcaster, which is based in Qatar, because cable and satellite companies in the United States have largely refused its requests to be carried," the paper's reporter complains.
The Times glowingly reported that the network’s "indisputably unique" coverage of the Egypt crisis is "drawing praise" and quoted Al Jazeera executives who said that they planned to "renew their lobbying to be carried on cable systems across the United States."
The channel "has won some American fans in recent days because of its live stream on the Internet, which has garnered more than 1.6 million views in the United States."
"The other networks have noticed," the Times informed its readers. "On the roundtable portion of ABC’s 'This Week' on Sunday, Sam Donaldson looked at an Al Jazeera reporter and said, 'Thank you for what you’re doing.'"
The enthusiasm for Al-Jazeera that is evident in the New York Times report and in statements by Donaldson and others seems to involve some amnesia regarding the channel's past. During the first month after the September 11 massacre, Al-Jazeera rebroadcast excerpts from a 1998 statement with terrorist leader Osama bin Laden dozens of times - sometimes several times in one day. In the statement, Bin Laden called on Muslims to kill Americans, Christians and Jews. The continuous re-broadcasting of the Bin Laden statement prompted US Secretary of State Colin Powell to administer an unusual public scolding to Sheik Hamad bin-Khalifa al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, when he visited Washington on Oct. 8, 2001. The emir dismissed the criticism, citing the channel as part of his plan for democratization of Qatar.
In January, 2007, Judea Pearl, whose son Daniel was kidnapped and executed by terrorists, wrote an article named "Another Perspective, or Jihad TV?" in the New York Times. "Al Jazeera’s editors choreograph a worldview in which an irreconcilable struggle rages between an evil-meaning Western oppressor and its helpless, righteous Arab victims," Pearl explained. "Most worrisome, perhaps, it often reports on supposed Western conspiracies behind most Arab hardships or failings, thus fueling the sense of helplessness, humiliation and anger among Muslim youths and helping turn them into potential recruits for terrorist organizations.
"The question is, to what extent will this pathological worldview infiltrate Al Jazeera’s English channel, which is still trying to find its voice," Pearl expounded. "[W]ith the growing number of social misfits in society, and the growing confusion between 'information' and deception in the news media, the danger of fueling combustible anger in some viewers cannot be ignored, especially when pumped subliminally by well-respected Western anchors.
"Let’s face it: when a terrorist attack is described as a 'martyrdom' in a thick Middle Eastern accent, it can be dismissed by Americans as a peculiarity of cultural differences. But imagine the effect of the word if spoken in David Frost’s cultured British tones. This is why, even if Al Jazeera English waters down its alarmist content, it should still be seen as a potential threat: it will bestow respectability upon the practices of its parent network in Qatar..."
On March 13, 2008, the Israeli government announced it would cease cooperating with Al Jazeera, after its slanted coverage of the Israeli Gaza counter-terror operation. Al Jazeera broadcast close-up shots of children's corpses in Gaza, while completely ignoring the attacks by Gaza terrorists on Israel. At the end of the fighting, Hamas's Mahmoud Al-Zahar thanked Al Jazeera for its assistance during the war.