Monday, March 27, 2006

Hassan Fattah: willing to report what he is expected to report. Now I have been critical of AlJazeera, on Aljazeera and on this blog. But now I have to deal with Hassan Fattah (who finds the New Republic objective but not Aljazeera). Here he says: "Al Jazeera delivers its news and talk programming (there are separate channels for sports and children's programming) with a clear editorial slant toward pan-Arabism: staunchly pro-Palestinian, skeptical of the intentions of the United States and increasingly Islamist leaning. When insurgents snatched some prisoners from an Iraqi prison on Tuesday, for example, Al Jazeera's report announced, "Prisoners liberated in Iraq."" I have never seen a more desperate Arab trying to please his anti-Arab benefactors than this guy. He says that there is a slant toward pan-Arabism and then ends the passage by talking about an "Islamist leaning." Which is which, o Hassan Fattah, graduate of the New Republic Higher School for Objective Reporting on the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Now, o Hassan Fattah. We know that you cut your teeth learning the tricks of the trade at the New Republic which accepts no political slants whatever. And then you edited a bulletin under US occupation of Iraq that did not notice that there was foreign occupation. But come on. Tell me whether the slant is pan-Arab or Islamist? It can't be both. Those trends, for anybody who knows anything about contemporary Arab politics, have been in conflict. Do you mean by pan-Arab that they cover the entire Arab world? And what does "staunchly pro-Palestinian " mean? I know, that Fattah's standards are the New Republic which is "staunchly neutral" I assume. Is the New York Times "staunchly pro-Israeli"? Of course, it is. Every publication in the US or the Arab world takes sides in the Arab Israeli conflict. Just as the New York Times takes the side of Israel, many Arab media support the Palestinians. But I argue that the New York Times is more pro-Israeli than Al-Jazeera is pro-Palestinian. Al-Jazeera goes out of its way to cover the Israeli points of view, and hires a bureau chief who is fluent in Hebrew, and regularly interviews Israeli guests and propagandist, and that is something that you can't say about the New York Times or the New Republic. (I personally am opposed to Arab normalization with Israel, and thus oppose the placing of Israeli guests in Arab media). I mean aside from the "acceptable Zionist Arabs" like Fattah and Kanan Makiya, the New Republic does not even allow Arabs on its pages. So by what neutral standards is Fattah measuring the "objectivity" of Al-Jazeera. Now, I am proudly and unreservedly "staunchly pro-Palestinian" but don't think that Aljazeera is "staunchly pro-Palestinian" enough for me. His reference to the freeing of prisoners in Iraq is quite untruthful. The Arabic word used "freeing of prisoners" (not liberation) is quite neutral in Arabic. It merely means release from jail by an outside group. Hassan Fattah: you are trying too hard. "They" really are pleased with you. Stop trying too hard. You really proved your submission to US and Israeli wars. They like you; they really do. I don't, but they really do.