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May 18, 2008



Personally, I think Lynch's perspective is valuable, but it would be lost on President Bush.

This is simply because Bush is focused on how the media -- any media, domestic American much more than Arab -- depict him, not what they have to say about issues. He responds to praise and resents criticism. Partly this is personal orientation and partly his training, as a man who came into government through the permanent campaign. In American elections, people vote for and against candidates, not issues; media supportive of policies consistent with those of Bush's administration that do not go out of their way to praise him personally don't cut it.

That I regret this goes without saying; actually, I think it unfortunate that even American politicians capable of thinking about issues without reference to their own public image tend to abandon their focus if their public image is threatened by someone else. I regret also the reason Bush's statements are making news now, this being his insistence on filling up time on his schedule in the last year of his Presidency with "look at me" trips to the Middle East.

It would be a real benefit to the United States if people other than George W. Bush were the most visible voices of American foreign policy, especially in the Middle East but not only there. If I were someone trying to represent our country in a place Bush was visiting I'd have a knot in my stomach every time he opened his mouth.

D. Mathews

[Bush] "blamed what he called “poisonous” state-run TV stations in the Middle East for spreading false information."

Am I missing something here? It seems you failed to make an important observation. If it is the state-run TV stations, media or whatever in these AUTOCRATIC Arab states that Bush finds fault with, then it would appear to me that it isn't so much the media which is expressing displeasure with him as it is the AUTOCRAT, who ultimately controls said media, that is using it as an avenue to express what said AUTOCRAT really would like to but cannot diplomatically tell Bush to his face. For example, you and others have documented the profound disagreement the Saudis have with the US over the invasion of Iraq, which has empowered their Persian rivals. Despite all the smiles for the camera and protocol, I wouldn't be surprised if the Saudi King is thoroughly disgusted by Mr. Bush.


Someday, possibly a long while from now, but someday, Saudi Arabia will once again be threatened by a neighbor, and there won't be a Bush around to hide behind. The oil will still get sold, so I don't see any reason to fret. The Saudi Royal family and the Bush family have been in bed so long I wonder how much of this is real.


It would be far too much to expect that George Bush, let alone any US Cabinet member of either the democratic or republican persuasion, would have recognised the turning-point significance of the arrival of al Jazeera into the arab world. We outsiders to the US have long of experience your Americo-centrism and amazing (to us) indifference to other cultures and others histories whether you be politicians, academics or pundits! To my knowledge Marc is the only academic pundit who "got" the implications of the rise of Al J and the new Arab media. But even he has seemed myopic to the Shia strand of Islam, its repression in the Sunni world and its demands for a voice and political rights.

One could make a case that at least George W understood it intuitively/instinctively - he being the only US president or Cabinet minister to my knowledge who understood after 9/11 that the Arab people, like people everywhere especially in this age of global communication and technology, want free speech, free media and representative democracies and that pursuing this aim was the only long term answer to extreme, atavistic jihadism. Thus the overthrow of decades of Kissingerism which ironically the Left has seem so devoted to restoring.

But what about the free media in Iraq, always ignored here? I would like to see Marc devoting at least one post to this aspect of the new Iraq and also to the open access all political parties there use to push their spin, defend their positions and make mischief all enabled by the parliamentary restraints placed on executive power enshrined in the constitution? With a comparison to the situation of, for instance the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? And maybe to the Iraqi similarities to the US Congress?

The increasingly anti jihadist tone in Al Jazeera and others obviously reflects the changing opinions of their mass audience, otherwise it wouldn't be happening. It gells with polling that shows the jihadi appeal to Arabs has been dissipating rapidly since AlQ's short lived but consequential takeover of areas of Iraq.

The Iraq Sunnis rejection of AlQ (thus anti Shia insurgency) was the significant turning point of the war. And yet very little publicity has been given to the SUNNI Iraqi Speaker's very recent lecturing of Pelosi on the US's duty (!) and obligation(!) to remain in Iraq to provide the security required to protect ......? the Iraqi DEMOCRACY! It could have been J McCain talking!

I don't think Marc has linked to this extraordinary development - why not? I would suggest that a line can be drawn back from this lecture to the arrival of Al Jazeera and the new Arab media. And one day there will be a very good book in it?

AbdelRahman Ayyash

Hi Marc,
Thanks for this great coverage :)
first, I think that Al-jazeera Ch. didn't change it's way in media work , I think it has been more free, the crisis here , that Aljazeera didn't abandon Muslim and Arab Cases, Like Palestine , Iraq and Afghanistan.
on the other hand, Al-Arabeya offer an (western) media coverage, mmm You can say that AlArabeya lost it's brilliance from the beginning , by using words like ( Israeli Army ) ( Aljazeera - the arabic channel - use words like occupation army ) , in Alarabeya they didn't use some (Muslim Expressions to describe dead) - like Martyrs in Aljazera - and some expressions too like suicide instead of (commando) .
these points may be make a difference for the Arab Viewer .
The Book u put here is strange ! , I didn't read something like it before !
The writer insult Arabic media in general , Aljazeera , Alarabeya , LBC and MBC , he insult MB and Amr Khaled, this talk has a very few ears in Muslim World.
He said that Aljazeera support Shia, that's not true for any viewer !!
Congratulation :)
Obama is the final Candidate, hope he will be the next president !
These links are from Almasry Alyoum newspaper ( Egyptian today ) , Yousry Fouda, Aljazeera's famous media man will write a daily memo about his Program (سري للغاية ) extremely secret which met within it Ramzy Bin Elsheba and some AQ leaders .



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