March 27, 2006

Not so independent journalism

The New York Times had the usual, and now standard, credulous article about al-Jazeera, with a focus on its new attempt to enter the English-language market. We are significantly informed that on al-Jazeera:
Guests have questioned the right of the Saud family to rule Saudi Arabia.
No surprise there given that the channel is controlled by Qatar which does not have close relations with the next door Gulf kleptocracy. Such questions do not elevate al-Jazeera to the level of true journalism.

As for the notion that al-Jazeera is about debate, the questions that The New York Times did not ask were: how much debate has their been on al-Jazeera about the right of the al Thani clan to rule? Has al-Jazeera given extensive coverage to one of the al Thani prince's criminal behaviour and his subsequent outrageous release? What debate has there been of Qatar's role in sheltering Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? What debate has there been of the issues of class and race, covered in this article about Dubai?

Update 1: They sell Carlsberg in Qatar, by the way.

Andrew Apostolou (yes, we have no pyjamas).

Posted by Andrew Apostolou at March 27, 2006 10:58 PM
Comments

I believe I saw a memeber of the Brookings Institute claiming that around 3/4 of the employees at Al Jazerra are also members of the Muslim Brotherhood. I don't know if it true or not, but I have seen Control Room and it wouldn't suprise me.

Posted by: Mike at March 27, 2006 08:16 PM

Thanks for the link to a very interesting article.

I'm not sure you really laid a glove on Al Jazeera with your attempted sarcasm, BTW. All you need to do is think about how frequently our corporate media outlets criticise their owners to be comforted that it's no worse in that respect than any other. And, frankly, given the insight and perspective that an English language Al Jazeera can offer, I can make do without it covering Qatar's domestic politics at all.

Posted by: J.B.S. at March 28, 2006 03:12 AM

Qatar is a very small country (800,000 people), and not much goes on in there to report by either Al-Jazeera or any western news media.

To suggest that Al-Jazeera is covering up important Qatari news is simply false and baseless.

The Qatari prince story is more of a "gossip" type news than anything else.

To suggest that Al-Jazeera never covered the issue of foreign workers in the Guld is also false. There has been many debates and shows about it.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar relations were broken because of Al-Jazeera, not the other way around.

Qatar that pledged FREE UNCENSORED REPORTING for the former BBC jouranlists that formed Al-Jazeera pissed off the Saudi. In fact, it was Saudi Arabia that shut down the BBC Arabic department in which Al-Jazeera journalists used to work by cutting funds to them.

Westerners are encouraged to watch Al-Jazeera International in which for the first time in modern history the 3rd world will broadcast its OWN news about its OWN affairs to the West. That's how it should be.

Westerners should not fear Al-Jazeera.

It is the closest thing you can get to the truth about what goes on in the Arab world.

99% of western journalists who report news for you about the Arab world don't even speak Arabic and wouldn't know the difference between the Arabic spoken in Iraq and the one spoken in Lebanon.

Al-Arabiya is also good, but its Saudi ownership is sometimes a problem.

Al-Hurra, US government propaganda in Arabic, is to be avoided for ethical reasons.

Posted by: Karim at March 28, 2006 07:59 PM

Karim, how is the brotherhood?

Posted by: Mike at March 28, 2006 11:02 PM

Child abuse is not "gossip", it is a crime.

Posted by: Apostolou at March 29, 2006 03:41 AM

Child abuse is not "gossip", it is a crime.

Posted by: Apostolou at March 29, 2006 03:42 AM

Mike,

I hear that the pentagon still needs more people to fight and kill more people...time to enlist maybe?

You will get a chance to take pics with Iraqi kids, kill their families at night or sometimes during the day too, and if you kill enough of them, they might even hand few medals of honor back home. This is your chance to serve your country in a foreign country!

Apostolo,

Understood. I was arguing that they don't usually dwell too much on such things. You will not find much about what Saudi princes do either.

Al-Jazeera programming is not like CNN's or FoxNew's. It is more like the BBC with an Arab touch and flavor.

Posted by: Karim at March 29, 2006 06:40 AM

"Al-Jazeera programming is not like CNN's or FoxNew's. It is more like the BBC with an Arab touch and flavor."

Talk about damning with faint praise....

Posted by: Mark Poling at March 29, 2006 12:11 PM

Mark,

Are you gonna tell me what news I should be watching in my own god damned language huh?

When was the last time you watched Al-Jazeera?

Oh but I forgot...Al-Jazeera broadcasts in Arabic, a language that none of you here can understand.

I actually watch CNN, FoxNews (2 shitty stations), and the BBC.

Posted by: Karim at March 29, 2006 03:56 PM

I've been on al-Jazeera.

Posted by: Apostolou at March 29, 2006 04:35 PM

Sorry Karim, I have no intention of wasting my time in a 3rd world country with 3rd rate people in the worlds asshole. (That's the Arab Middle East BTW)

Posted by: Mike at March 29, 2006 07:04 PM

I doubt it would, but if my previous comment made you feel shame or humiliated you, please don't beat your wife or blow yourself up.

Posted by: Mike at March 29, 2006 08:34 PM

Oh but I forgot...Al-Jazeera broadcasts in Arabic, a language that none of you here can understand.

Yes, but they have a website. That website happens to have an english-language section.

Besides that, some videos don't need to be translated.

Posted by: rosignol at March 29, 2006 11:59 PM

Never takes long for the underlying racism of this crowd to emerge, does it?

Posted by: J.B.S. at March 30, 2006 12:52 AM

Karim, broadcast television news in general is superficial, dumbed-down, and geared toward shock value over reason. So which form of purified crap you choose to ingest is your own problem.

Regards.

Posted by: Mark Poling at March 30, 2006 04:24 AM

It's our anonymous libeller J.B.S. again. Got a name yet?

Posted by: Apostolou at March 30, 2006 04:27 AM

J.B.S., I am not part of this crowd and I don't hate your race. I hate your culture and your religion. Please compare Kurdistan to the rest of Iraq or Israel to the rest of the middle east.

Posted by: Mike at March 30, 2006 07:15 PM

Its amazing how quickly the quality and intelligence of the comments on this site have degraded, along with the depth of the coverage...

Posted by: Tony Stark at March 30, 2006 09:07 PM

It's our anonymous libeller J.B.S. again.

If my comment was libellous, Andrew, I assume that your view is that there is nothing racist about Mike's comment. I guess the only difference between him and you, then, is that you're better at disguising it.

Got a name yet?

Have you got a reason why you are entitled to know it?

J.B.S., I am not part of this crowd and I don't hate your race. I hate your culture and your religion. Please compare Kurdistan to the rest of Iraq or Israel to the rest of the middle east.

Mike, you don't have a clue about my race or my religion, and all you know about my culture is that, from our respective comments, it is clear that it is superior to yours.

Posted by: J.B.S. at March 31, 2006 08:49 PM

"it's clear that it is superior to yours"

That's racist:(. I would like to know how your nation stacks up against Israel though. Maybe you would like to lecture the first world about their inferior culture.

Posted by: Mike at April 1, 2006 12:11 AM

Mike - I have no idea what race or nationality you are. I was talking about you as an individual. I am telling you that I feel inherently superior to anyone who chooses to reveal their stupidity and mean-spiritedness through a public display of racism and bigotry.

Posted by: J.B.S. at April 1, 2006 12:59 AM

Dear JBS,

Kindly provide a name and address so that I can send you the requisite writ,

Yours etc,

Andrew Apostolou

Posted by: Apostolou at April 1, 2006 05:12 AM

Andrew, I spend my working life dealing with people of real consequence. Pompous pissants like you don't scare me.

I would be delighted to use this comments facility to exchange substantive arguments, but if you want to turn it into a slanging match, well, that will be amusing for me, but you're likely to come off second-best.

Posted by: J.B.S. at April 1, 2006 03:40 PM

Dear JBS,

Sorry to point this out but the statement "I spend my working life dealing with people of real consequence" is by any standard pompous.

Moreover, if "[P]ompous pissants like you don't scare me" is true and not mere bluster, then cough up your name. A person of such standing as JBS' surely has no need to hide behind anonymity.

Please withdraw the imputation of racism. It is not fair comment.

Yours etc,

Andrew Apostolou

Posted by: Apostolou at April 1, 2006 04:23 PM

Moreover, if "[P]ompous pissants like you don't scare me" is true and not mere bluster, then cough up your name.

Give me one good reason why I should.

Please withdraw the imputation of racism. It is not fair comment.

Which imputation? I will certainly not withdraw the imputation that Mike is a racist: that is obvious from his comments. As for whether your characterization of that observation as libel and your disinclination to criticize Mike's comments indicates that you are sympathetic to his views, well, go ahead and prove me wrong.

By the way, given that the sum total of your efforts to rebut the Mearsheimer & Wilt paper consists of your baseless attempt to smear the writers as anti-semites, isn't it really a bit much for you to be whining about my self-evidently correct characterization of Mike?

Posted by: J.B.S. at April 2, 2006 04:38 AM

JBS, Isn't ozzie libel law similar to British libel law?

Posted by: Apostolou at April 2, 2006 06:52 AM

JBS, Isn't ozzie libel law similar to British libel law?

Posted by: Apostolou at April 2, 2006 06:53 AM

Why, yes, Andrew, I believe it is. But the fact that you assume that I am familiar with the libel law of both jurisdictions makes it all the more perplexing why you imagine that I would be remotely perturbed by your bluster.

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