The New York Times published today an article about the Qatar based international channel Al Jazeera. Once again (see the article I wrote last summer about the NYT lying in their report of the Gaza Flotilla attacked), this article is a perfect example of American Press’ service to the Imperialist ideology. The New York Times is considered in the United States as a “liberal media” but what it illustrates is the very poor imaginary of this liberal milieu which does not stand so far from the conservative camp as far as their vision of society and the world is involved.
Let’s examine the body of this article in order to demonstrate the deviousness used by Mr. Robert Worth and Mr. David Kirkpatrick, author of this same article:
“In many ways, it is Al Jazeera’s moment — not only because of the role it has played, but also because the channel has helped to shape a narrative of popular rage against oppressive American-backed Arab governments (and against Israel) ever since its founding 15 years ago. That narrative has long been implicit in the channel’s heavy emphasis on Arab suffering and political crisis, its screaming-match talk shows, even its sensational news banners and swelling orchestral accompaniments.” NYTimes
The expression ‘American-backed Arab governments’ shows clearly the purpose of this article: It does not matter that those same governments have been keeping the power in a non-democratic way for all those years, the only important thing is that they are backed by the American (Republican or Democrat) government which need them for oil (Saudi Arabia and Iraq), war against terrorism (Pakistan and Afghanistan) if this notion even has a meaning, or exportation and Israeli security (Tunisia and Egypt with the Suez Canal and its border with the Gaza strip). The accusation that Al Jazeera to sustain ‘a popular rage‘ against those governments to develop an anti-American narrative without any regard for the nature of those government is therefore outrageous.
The sentence that evokes ‘the channel’s heavy emphasis on Arab suffering’ is particularly aggravating as this same suffering has been created by the Western World. I don’t even need to evoke the effect of capitalist globalization on the low social classes of Arab countries as the implicit references here are coming from Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq. As far as Palestine is concerned, nobody will emphasize too much on the daily struggle Palestinians have to face under the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and under the Israeli “incarceration” in the Gaza Strip. About Afghanistan and Iraq, needless to say that the situation under respectively the Mullahs and the Hussein’s government, those countries’ populations’ lives were clearly not enviable, nevertheless the American interventions aggravated their conditions and increased the violence that those same populations have to face on a daily basis.
“This week, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, accused Al Jazeera of distorting his positions, inciting violence and trying to destroy him politically. The station had broadcast a special report based on leaked documents that appeared to show Mr. Abbas and his allies offering Israel far-reaching concessions on Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees. The reporting set off angry demonstrations against the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, and in response, Abbas loyalists attacked Al Jazeera’s office in Ramallah.“ NY Times
As I wrote in a very recent article about those same leaks, the real actor that this expose was incriminating is not so much the Americans who are accomplices of Israel in its illegality (see Condoleeza Rice’s patronizing “dialogue” with the Palestinian emissaries), nor even the Israelis and Tzipi Livni who was the foreign affairs minister at this time and who declared “I am a lawyer… But I am against law – international law in particular. Law in general“, but really the Palestinian Authority which is ready years after years to renounce to always more territory, rights and dignity. Léopold Lambert
For this reason, it seems pretty normal that the Palestinian Authority denies the veracity of those leaks as it completely discredit them. The New York Times knows it and the fact that this is not stated in one way or another in this article constitutes a lie by omission in order to put Al Jazeera on the same disorganized box of violent terrorist anti-American Islamists in which you find organization that have nothing to do with each other: Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, the Iranian government etc.
As the protests accelerated this month, some Tunisian officials protested that Al Jazeera was hyping the unrest because of its anti-Western agenda: its managers wanted to see a “moderate” Arab regime fall, even if the protesters were not Islamists, like those in so many earlier revolts. But that seems unlikely. Al Jazeera’s producers knew they had a story line that their audience would love. NY Times
This last paragraph I am going to comment is a proof of the poor demonstration of this article. Because of profitable economic relationships between the Western countries and Tunisia, those same countries never expressed any scruples about the (moderate !) dictatorial characteristic of Ben Ali’s sovereignty and neither did their mainstream Press. Now that the revolution occurred, helped or not by Al Jazeera, and that all the Western journalists tries to show a zealous effort to retrospectively condemn the former Tunisian administration, they launch a desperate attempt to put the sticker Islamist on Al Jazeera’s face. As it is written, the Tunisian revolution was a secular and democratic one and if AJ helped to make it happen by relaying information, I think that the Press of the so called “Free World” (!) should congratulate them and regard them with envy.
As a conclusion I would like to copy the sixth first comments that are displayed on the NYT’s website concerning this article. Apparently their readers are not as ignorant as those journalists consider them to be…
I also thought this line was quite telling, “There is little doubt that Al Jazeera takes sides in the Palestinian dispute, portraying Hamas more favorably than its rivals.”
First, there is little doubt that CBS and the New York Times takes sides in the dispute as well, portraying Hamas as fundamentalist terrorist extremists and Fatah as a decent but flawed partner. But you will never hear our fair and impartial media described this way.
Second, sometimes journalists MUST take sides. Not taking sides cannot be the measure. Sometimes one side is right, or more right. When the trade devolves into just reporting what two competing sides say, you are mere stenographers. Not mere stenographers, as you are the Gatekeepers as well.