Hugh Miles's new
book on al-Jazeera has had a notably easy ride from the British press. (As I've mentioned before, it's absolutely impossible to imagine a similar study of Fox News getting such positive reviews.) Bill Clinton's Middle East envoy, Dennis Ross is a lot less enthusiastic in the Washington Post. "You'd be right," he says "to get the picture that Miles believes that al-Jazeera can do little wrong." (You can read Miles's own thoughts on the Arab station's role in Iraq here.)

Ross's own role as a Fox commentator no doubt taints him in some liberal eyes, but that's there problem, not his. He clearly thinks al-Jazeera crosses the fine line between reporting on Bin Ladenism and acting as a megaphone:
"Nor does al-Jazeera truly show all points of view. It has Israelis on the
air regularly, but does it ever interview extremist settlers? ... Recognizing Sharon's battle with Israel's radical right doesn't fit the al-Jazeera agenda of portraying him as the driving force behind the Israeli occupation that the station so abhors. Al-Jazeera clearly makes an editorial judgment here and excludes views it considers beyond the pale. But it exercises no such judgment when it comes to broadcasting hateful, even violent views of America.

....Unfortunately, Miles does not question this approach -- largely because he shares the channel's basic predisposition against the United States, believing that both the war in Iraq and U.S. support for Israel are wrong. Anti-American fury in the Arab and Islamic worlds is justified, Miles says, so don't blame al-Jazeera
for it.

In fact, I don't. But why shouldn't al-Jazeera live up to its credo? Why shouldn't it question what Arabs are doing to themselves, rather than just condemning what non-Arabs are doing to the region? Why doesn't it talk about the failings of education in the Arab world? Why doesn't it expose Islamist madrassas that teach hatred toward the outside world? Why can't it debunk mythologies, rather than spreading risible conspiracy theories (like blaming Israel's Mossad for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks)? Why can't it seriously question what the intifada has cost Palestinians rather than glorifying suicide bombers as "martyrs"?
UPDATE: It looks as if Qatar may end its all-important support for the network.
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/real-arab-voice-hugh-miless-new-book.html|||1/30/2005 11:44:00 am|||||||||