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July 22, 2006


Ghurab al-Bain

Al-Jazeera always asks for US officials to go on the air with them, but except for the State Department's Near East Bureau, they rarely do. Of course, there is the usual cycle of recriminations about their bias; the fact that they are performing kind of as a "Al-Manar Lite" will not endear them to the Americans. Al-Arabiyya yesterday broadcast something, albeit briefly, that I never saw on AJ: a piece on the civilians of Marwaheen killed by the Israelis, with 23 coffins - many of them child size, and actually had footage of a bloodied child's corpse too.

Expat Teacher

Thanks. Don't get Al-Jazeera and found your breakdown very interesting.


Karen Hughes?

Good lord, is she even still running the US Department of Really Dimwitted Propaganda?

I haven't heard anything about her since the tour she took to explain to Arab women the earth-shattering philosophy "We all love our children." That one went over with a mighty thud, as I recall.

Bruno Mota

Dear AA, I don't expect you do requests, but if you can find the time can you post something on what Al-Manar (and the other Lebanese channels for that matter) is showing?

Thanks a lot for your blog. It has been really helpful in trying to make sense out this situation.


I've often been struck by the cartoonish images of Israel on the Arab 'street' when visiting the Middle East - to the point where many people haven't even made the first step of accepting Israel as a fact of life. I wonder whether the era of Al Jazeera and satellite TV has, rather than opening minds, solidified existing prejudices.


Best coverage, i am not sure if they are on the air anymore. would be from LBC and other lebanese channels, Al Jazeera makes you feel that the suffering of the lebanese civilians are a prop shoehorned into their overarching narrative, rather than looking at the suffering purely for its own sake. Ama zing of course that more are dying in Iraq but as it has devolved into more of a sectarian conflict, those deaths are not as "valuable".
On another note, strange as it may be, I would have to agree with the official position of saudi etc.. Israel's response is disproportionate as it always is, BUT hHizbullah was engaged in adventurism, and did provoke this response, much to the chagrin of hte leb populace, though it is the Shia once again in leb who are suffering the brunt. I know a lot of people who have no qualms about having Haifa hit, but are rational enough to realize that creating potholes in haifa and a few casualties while suffering the total destruction of lebanon, is not quite how one declares victory. Unfortunately, Hizbullah and many others in the arab world, are perfectly happy to claim victory. reminds me of Arafat leaving beirut in 1982 donig his stupid V for victory signs. Let all the jordanians and egyptians who rally to hizbullah come to south lebanon and learn what war is like.


Al Jazeera has been banned by Iraq's democratically elected government, one of the few governments in the region that doesn't massively restrict media, for inciting violence. That speaks volumes about Al Jazeera.


talldave, i think that is a horrible mistake. it feeds the urban legend (or maybe urban truth) that al-hurrah is the mouthpiece of the US.
al-jazheerha would make al-hurra more competitive.
suppressing them is anti-capitalistic.
just make it clear that passing targetting info is a punishible crime.

the father of advaarks has posted before on the incredible bumbling of the west in the meme-wars.

Abu Sinan

Al Jazeera has been banned, from time by time, by many countries in the Middle East. The fact that the "democratically elected" government in IRaq has banned them means very little.

Remember, this is the same country that allows sectarian militians to run whole sections of their security apparatus and run death squads from within it.

As an American with a Defense Department background, who also happens to speak Arabic, I find the Al-Jazeera converage to be much more accurate and in depth than any American news outlet, and maybe just a tad bit LESS biased. Most American news outlets are extremely pro Israeli so it would be hard to out do them.

As to al Manar, that isnt legally viewed in the USA since it banned by the US government. I used to enjoy watching it, it reminded me of an extremist Shi'ite version of FOX News, only with better looking presenters.

As Israel has been targeting even the Christian run, Saudi owned media in Lebanon, it is going to be hard to watch any Lebanese media here soon. But lets not make the mistake large portions of the US media are, assuming that because of person or group of people do not like or disapprove of Hizb'Allah actions that it actually means something. Lebanon is a very divided society, so if you ask a former Phalangist what he thinks of the situation you will get nothing representitive.


Abu Sinan, It does actually mean somethhing within lebanon, when the vast majority of non shiites and a minority of shiites are against Hizbullah's action as well as its raion d'etre. That is in fact a majority within the country. A majority is indeed significant. Lebanon is divided between the majority who just want to get on with life and not be a pawn in a regional game, and the rest (though of course support for Hizbullah is more complex than that which is why Israeli action is doomed to fail). Following your logic, one should not interview a democrat in the US because the US is a politically divided country and therefore that individual is not representative. Please!


I was just wondering whether you could tell us whether the Arab media is saying that the Israeli soldiers were captured in Lebanon or Israel? I saw this article saying that there is a split in the Western media and was wondering whether the Arab media had a clear opinion:

No Preference

hummbumm, I have often disagreed with you in the past, but your posts here make a lot of sense.

Iqbal Khaldun

Thanks for the low down. Very useful. Current events have displayed so perfectly the Arab regimes' abject lack of an independent foreign policy.

Abu Sinan

An unpublished poll from Lebanon shows a majority of the public, even Christians, are behind Hizb'Allah.

Not the results Israel would want, I gather.


I agree with you AA that Al Jazeera seems to have a much larger audience than any other media outlet regarding the Israeli-Lebanse conflict , I'm living in the city of Tanta in Egypt's Delta ( North of cairo ) and i have noticed that the vast majority of Egyptians here in Tanta are following the events on Al Jazeera , Neither our Egyptian state-run TV.


"Whether Karen Hughes can't figure out the urgency of getting someone on this kind of program ... or just doesn't have the clout to persuade anyone to do it, she should probably just quit on Monday.... this sort of thing defines 'failure'."

I think it's neither of those - it's option 3. They view Al Jazeera as part of 'The Enemy', and they are the sort of people who refuse to talk to their enemies. It's banned in Iraq for a reason, and that reason is not incitement to violence.

You have to remember that most of these guys' supporters view anything EXCEPT Fox TV in the US itself as anti-American propaganda. The government encourage this mindset in their statements; recently they threatened (in general terms) to prosecute journalists for not being sufficiently concious of "national security".

Their core support base - which is not small - routinely accuses the US mainstream media of being pro-terrorist, so who knows what they think of Al Jazeera. They probably equate it roughly with the voice of Satan.

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