Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

Is the Arabic media turning on the Bush administration?

Until quite recently, US pressure on al-Jazeera appears to have forced the news agency to moderate its coverage of the war in Iraq. For instance, after US pressure on the emir of Qatar, Al-Jazeera, which once referred to Iraqi insurgents as "the resistance" started calling them "gunmen" or "Suicide bombers." Aljazeera's top management chose not to air several Osama bin Laden tapes, pulled from its news websites caricatures the White House deemed offensive, removed its general manager, and stopped showing terrorist executions.

That said, it appears that the tone of al-Jazeera's broadcasts have changed noticeably following recent reports of George W. Bush planning an attack against al-Jazeera headquarters in Qatar, and other reports of the US military bribing Iraqi reporters and news sources. Certainly, the reporters of al-Jazeera have been more outspoken, but it's unknown whether the Emir himself may be encouraging or at least allowing this change, given that he may have been personally insulted by the recent allegations. It is entirely possible that he is supportive of al-Jazeera's more agressive coverage, as a kind of veiled act of reciprocity. (i.e. Don't threaten my nation's soveriegnity, if even in jest.)

Probably the biggest sign of this change was seen today, when al-Jazeera aired a video of an improvised explosive device attack on a US convoy that killed 10 Marines. (Rightclick this link to save the video, or this link to stream it.)

I'm not saying that al-Jazeera shouldn't air the video or report on the US manipulation of and threats to Arabic media sources, as I absolutely think it's newsworthy, but I also think it's worth pointing out that by threatening al-Jazeera (...and Qatar) and by allowing the bribeing of Iraqi reporters and news organizations, the Bush administration has given the Arab media greater motivation to express a more anti-American mesage with less risk of retribution for doing so.

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