Al-Jazeera May Not Be TV Bogeyman

Analysts See Little To Fear in Arab Channel's Arrival in U.S.

From Doha to D.C.: Al Jazeera may be coming to your living room soon. And some say that might not be such a bad thing.
getty images
From Doha to D.C.: Al Jazeera may be coming to your living room soon. And some say that might not be such a bad thing.

By M. Berger

Published January 09, 2013, issue of January 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 4)

Al-Jazeera Arabic was founded in 1996 by Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, and soon enough, its thorough reporting, use of technology and penchant for challenging those in power in the Middle East — all unprecedented for Arabic news channels then — made it one of the most watched news sites in the Arab world.

The emir launched Al-Jazeera English a decade later, as a separate channel with separate editorial content targeting a more global, English-speaking audience.

Arab media scholar Lawrence Pintak sees Al-Jazeera’s move to America as a logical and positive development for the award-winning network.

“There is a huge void of real news on American television,” Pintak said. “On the global stage, they seek out under-covered stories, particularly out of the global South,” he noted, referring to Al-Jazeera. “I think in the United States they will be seeking out under-covered domestic stories that are still important for the American viewer.”

But Andrea Levin, CAMERA’s national president and executive director, is less concerned with the breadth of Al-Jazeera’s coverage than with the balance and professionalism of its reporting on Israel and of Jewish issues.

“We would hope that if they are entering the American space that they… really do care about getting the story straight,” she said.

According to Arab media expert Courtney Radsch, formerly of Freedom House, a human rights monitoring group, the Qatari government’s political interests are widely known to shape its Arabic coverage.

Most recently those interests are on display in the channel’s sympathetic coverage of the Syrian revolution and relative silence on uprisings and brutal repression in Bahrain, a Gulf state monarchy, like Qatar.

At the same time, say Radsch and other analysts, it is widely known that the Qatari government does not interfere in the English-language broadcasts in the same way. Indeed, even the ADL’s Foxman acknowledged in his statement that in its English-language version, “lately Al-Jazeera has toned down its anti-Israel propaganda.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.