As the controversy over the sale of Al Gore’s Current TV to Al Jazeera continues, one of the things being argued by apologists for the deal is that Al Jazeera English is not like its Arabic counterpart. Al Jazeera English, we’re told, is a legitimate news operation that plays it straight and actually covers international news better than western media outlets. We’re expected to believe this despite both operations being run by the government of Qatar. We’re also expected to find it insignificant that Al Jazeera Arabic prominently features the Islamic propaganda of the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader – Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
Both the Arabic and English Al Jazeera networks operate from Doha, Qatar and the government there calls the shots.
If Al Jazeera English is a legitimate, unbiased news network, then what better way to test their bonafides when it comes to objective journalism than to look at how it covered the Huma Abedin scandal?
A quick search of the network’s search engine reveals that there are six – count ’em, six – stories that include so much as a mention of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff:
That there are so few stories about the Huma Abedin controversy is telling, especially when one considers the relationship between her family and the Muslim Brotherhood led by the guy (Qaradawi) who’s got his own show on Al Jazeera Arabic. In fact, there is not one straight news story on Al Jazeera English about the claims made by five U.S. Congressmen last summer, despite it being a very newsworthy subject from a straight news perspective.
The very first article that appears, Islamophobia and the Republican Party, is an op-ed ‘hit piece’ on Rep. Michele Bachmann and the four co-signers of the letters. It’s worth noting that the author is not Muslim; his name is Robert Grenier, former CIA station chief who heads a financial consultancy firm and identifies himself as a Republican.
Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in the 2008 election, rose on the floor of the Senate to defend Huma Abedin, a Muslim-American woman and deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, from attack by members of his own party. Abedin had been cited in a letter to the Deputy Inspector General of the State Department signed by five Republican congressmen, including Michele Bachmann, a former candidate for this year’s Republican presidential nomination with a large following in the party. That letter darkly cited “…information [which] has recently come to light that raises serious questions about Department of State policies and actions that appear to be a result of influence operations conducted by … the Muslim Brotherhood”. Exhibit A in this apparent conspiracy to subvert US policy? Why, Abedin, whose late father, mother and brother, it is alleged, all have been “connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organisations”.
Yes, this is an op-ed but there is no opposing op-ed to be found at Al-Jazeera English. Perhaps that’s because, as Daniel Pearl’s father claims, Al Jazeera is a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood. Like practically all of Abedin’s defenders, Grenier ignored the facts while smearing the charge. We have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Huma Abedin’s ties to the Brotherhood are irrefutable. That Grenier would overlook the evidence while writing a puff piece on Abedin for Al Jazeera should raise questions about his intellectual honesty but the point of this post is to demonstrate Al Jazeera’s blatant bias on the Huma Abedin controversy.
The second of the six stories that at least mentioned Abedin was a glowing feature piece on America’s first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison. In it, there is only a brief mention of Abedin and it was made by Ellison in his reference of Senator John McCain’s defense of the Clinton aid.
In the third article, US Muslim vote: ‘Mild’ enthusiasm for Obama, written shortly before the last U.S. presidential election, there was a brief mention of Bachmann’s letter:
And Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann claimed there are stealth efforts to impose sharia law on the US. In July – after she dropped out of the primary – she accused Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The final story appears to be a transcript from a program known as The Cafe, during which, panelists debated the issue of America’s demise. The only mention of Abedin comes from a Muslim American named Wajahat Ali who said the following:
Now we’re talking about the deliberate exploitation of fear, I mean specifically, recently we saw Michelle Bachmann and her cohorts for elected officials, just casually say, oh yeah, without any evidence or facts, ‘cause facts are not her strong suit, that the government of the United States of America has been infiltrated by radical Islam and specifically she mentioned Huma Abedin, who is an aide of secretary Clinton, respected across both aisles and it’s lead to death threats against her. I wish more leaders, especially from both sides, but especially again, I know it’s not most republicans but the republican party has been infiltrated by this radical right Islamophobia…
In summation, Al Jazeera English has published six articles that include mention of Huma Abedin. Three of those articles – to include an op-ed with no opposing view – were very supportive of Abedin; the other three included innocuous mentions of her in stories about her husband.
Aside from six stories being a very anemic total on such a subject with such relevance to the Arab world, the content indicates that Al Jazeera is not the objective news source it pretends to be.