Friday, July 16, 2004

So Colin Powell, who should know something about truth having lied to the world last year at UN, said this yesterday: "But when a particular outlet, Al-Jazeera, does such a horrible job of presenting the news, and when it takes every opportunity to slant the news, present it in the most outrageous way, and when it will do such things as put on videotape that it has received from terrorists, and put it on for the purpose of inflaming the world and appealing to the basest instincts in the region, then we have to speak out, and we have.   And I think in recent weeks, you have seen some steps on the part of Al-Jazeera to bring in people to give it advice with respect to its editorial policies and with respect to how it's doing its job and I'm pleased to see that. And within the past few days, the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr. Allawi, has had very direct conversations with the leadership of Al Jazeera, not for the purpose of controlling the press, but for the purpose of saying, "Do you understand what you're doing to the hopes and dreams of the Iraqi people when you encourage this kind of thing and when you wallow in it?"   And so I hope that all those responsible for what goes on in Al Jazeera are listening carefully and watching carefully and I hope that we will see changes in the way in which Al Jazeera and other similar networks do their business."  And as somebody who watches AlJazeera daily, I can assure you that AlJazeera has been listening carefully, and I can detect a marked change in their coverage.  I do not mind that they have to qualify their release of tapes by Zarqawi and other kooks, but should they not also exercise the same qualified and cautious attitude when it comes to an unending supply of live and unedited speeches and statements by US officials?  What about a speech by Bush, for example, when he threatens to bomb Iraq if Saddam does not leave the country in 48 hours? Should that not be compared to Zarqawi's horrific videos? Or is a threat to kill a Westerner more offensive to viewers than the threat to kill Easterners?  I say surround such propaganda (whether from Bush or from Zarqawi) with discussion and rebuttals.  But I certainly notice that AlJazeera is playing down Palestinian suffering as of late, and playing down news of US mess in Iraq, and is going out of its way to show the "efforts" of the new puppet government in Iraq, and the sneezes of Iraqi puppet prime minister/car bomber/prisoners' killer Allawi are now covered live.  And AlJazeera now has adopted a code of honor, which includes a stress on "objectivity".  And when media talk about objectivity, I turn to Fox News for inspiration and example.