The Weekly Standard has taken note of our criticism of the new channel. In an article, Louis Wittig finds Al-Jazeera English (AJE) guilty of airingÂ ”deceptive and terrorist-promoting segments.”
One example: “ON ONE OF THE DAYS I was watching, the London desk had breaking news from Gaza. A hundred-plus Hamas gunmen had formed a human shield around their leader’s house to ward off an Israeli air strike. This began a string of short reports on recent events in the Strip: The U.N. Assembly had voted overwhelmingly to condemn Israel; accompanying footage showed Palestinian bodies. The next item was Israel’s bombing of a building that housed (AJE authoritatively asserted) a charity. The broadcast made no mention either of what the Israelis believed the building contained or why the Israelis were attacking in Gaza in the first place.”
Another is one that we have noted: a glorified report about the terrorist Islamic Army of Iraq. Wittig explains: “AJE aired a short segment on the Islamic Army of Iraq. The publicity video showed disciplined rows of masked men drilling: bursting out from the cover of tall reeds and scanning the horizon with their AK-47s. An off-camera voice described how they fight all foreigners. Their tactics of kidnapping and releasing ‘grisly videos’ were noted as ‘effective intimidation technique[s].’ A group spokesman, his face obscured, gave a boasting quote but doesn’t field any questions.”
Wittig concludes that,Â Â ”If this isn’t propaganda for America’s enemies, that’s only because the definition of propaganda in today’s constantly shifting media environment isn’t perfectly clear.”
“AJE supporters try to claim that the new network is independent from the original Al Jazeera. But as Cliff Kincaid, of Accuracy in Media, notes, both Al Jazeera and Al Jazeera English are funded directly by the emir of Qatar, and three of the four top managers at the English-language channel come from the Arabic one.
“TAKING A HANDS-OFF APPROACH to Al Jazeera English is, Kincaid continues, akin to giving Tokyo Rose an anchor’s seat on NBC radio during World War II. This is not an uncommon reference for the network’s critics and it sounds vaguely right. Only Tokyo Rose probably never had U.S. Navy spokesmen on her show to discuss Guadalcanal. Al Jazeera English, on its Inside Iraq program, does.”