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What A Surprise! Obama Loves Al-Jazeera

From the Politico:

Al-Jazeera has fans in Obama W.H.

By: Keach Hagey and Byron Tau
April 17, 2011

In the halls of American power, the Arab Spring has brought Al-Jazeera in from the cold.

Seven years after then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called the broadcaster’s reporting “vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable” and President George W. Bush joked about bombing it, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised it as “real news” in her recent Senate testimony.

And, in fact, she in effect said we needed to emulate it.

Not only that, her staffers, as well as those of the CIA and the Obama White House, were attending the Congressional Correspondents’ Dinner as Al-Jazeera’s guests.

A detail we hadn’t seen until now. Not that it is all that surprising.

In the recent uprisings, U.S. interests tended to line up with Al-Jazeera’s, and President Barack Obama alluded to both the network’s influence and its pro-democracy bent in remarks caught on an open mic during a closed-door fundraiser last week.

Huh. We didn’t know that the news media had "interests." But it looks like they do, after all.

“The emir of Qatar come by the Oval Office today, and he owns Al-Jazeera basically,” Obama said in remarks recorded by CBS News’s Mark Knoller. “Pretty influential guy. He is a big booster, big promoter of democracy all throughout the Middle East. Reform, reform, reform. You’re seeing it on Al-Jazeera.”

Yes, Al Jazeera is all about democracy and reform. Who can doubt it?

But even an in an Al-Jazeera-friendly Obama administration there are tensions. The president continued, delivering some harsh criticism that conflicted directly with his diplomatic comments earlier in the day, when he had praised the emir for his leadership “when it comes to democracy in the Middle East.”

“He himself is not reforming significantly,” the president told the donors. “There is no big move towards democracy in Qatar.”

Notice how the Politico is trying to make this sound like Mr. Obama was criticizing Qatar. But the rest of his remarks show indicate that this was not quite the case. (See below for the AP’s version of Obama’s remarks.)

But even if the president thinks Al-Jazeera’s Qatari owners might have a blind spot, his remarks before an audience of the rich and powerful reflected how recent events in the Middle East and North Africa have accelerated the shift of Al-Jazeera’s brand from “anti-American” to “pro-democracy” in the American consciousness.

We doubt that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama ever saw Al Jazeera – or indeed anything – as ‘anti-American.’ Or, rather, we doubt that they ever disapprove of anti-Americanism.

But the rest of the "American consciousness" might not be quite so accepting of Al Jazeera and their terrorist supporting ways.

“It’s like Rip Van Winkle — you wake up and, my God, it’s a different world,” said Tony Burman, Al Jazeera English’s chief strategic adviser for the Americas…"

We know how Mr. Burman feels. We feel like we are in a different world, too. A world where a mouthpiece for terrorism is praised by our own White House. But we are no longer able to pretend to be surprised.

Still, compare Mr. Obama’s remarks, as quoted by the Politico, with the way they were reported earlier by the Associated Press:

Obama unplugged: Where are the cool phones?

By Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press Thu Apr 14, 2011

"I had the emir of Qatar come by the Oval Office today," Obama said. "Pretty influential guy. He is a big booster, big promoter of democracy all throughout the Middle East. Reform, reform, reform. … Now he himself is not reforming significantly. There’s no big move toward democracy in Qatar. But you know part of the reason is that the per capita income of Qatar is $145,000 a year. That will dampen a lot of conflict.

"I make this point only because if there is opportunity, if people feel their lives can get better, then a lot of these problems get solved."

Notice how the Politico left out the part about how Qatar has so much money they don’t need to worry about any democracy. Meanwhile, the AP carefully carved out every reference to Al Jazeera.

This is the kind of mendacity we get from our news media, each and every day. And we’re told they don’t even have "interests" like Al Jazeera does.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, April 18th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “What A Surprise! Obama Loves Al-Jazeera”

  1. proreason says:

    Who can doubt the Al Jazeera is an effective counter-balance to Fox News. If you need any proof, just look at the coverage Fox gives to the Tea Baggers.

  2. artboyusa says:

    I often watch Al Jazeera and have to say that, yeah, either its gotten a lot better recently or their subtle propaganda has poisoned my mind and won me around to Jihad. Seriously, their coverage of events in Egypt and Libya has been excellent and sure, they have an agenda but what news org doesn’t? You want to see real propaganda, check out Press TV, which is paid for by the Iranians and has Lauren Booth (sister of Tony Blair’s wife Cherie), ex-London mayor Ken Livingston and that corrupt man pig George Galloway on its UK payroll.

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