Al Jazeera is often called out for their anti-Israeli and anti-Western tone. It is difficult for me to say as an outsider whether these incidents are occasional or systemic; and frankly when you are supporting Mubarak in his 80’s (as the US is doing) at some point this is going to blow up in your face. After all, the guy isn’t immortal.
What Al Jazeera DOES have going for them is credibility among the Arab populace, at least compared to the Western based networks like the US news organizations or the BBC. This is valuable because they are far closer to reality than the propaganda based coverage provided by their own governments.
When the protests become energetic all of Al Jazeera’s people on the ground or connections in countries where journalists aren’t allowed (like Libya) become more valuable because frankly that’s all we’ve got, other than Gaddafi’s lies. Those contacts probably weren’t going to talk to Western news organizations so it is either Al Jazeera or nothing.
If you look at their English language site, they are covering the unrest in Libya and appear to be pulling no punches. They seem to be acting like journalists, calling the facts on the ground, based upon whatever information they can get (I can’t read the Arab version of the site, so for all I know they could be saying something else).
Here is the main article calling out 200 or more dead and here is a live blog. The live blog is very interesting as it shows the apparent difference between the East and West sides of the country and that the military is coming down hard on protesters in Benghazi while the capitol in Tripoli is relatively calm.
I can’t tell if it is self serving but it makes me chuckle when I see this on their live blog
The attitude in Tripoli contrasts starkly with that in the Easy (sp he means “East”). Many people in Tripoli do not believe that what is happening in the East is real, they either attribute it to the ‘propaganda’ of al-Jazeera (against which have been directed several slogans) or say that Egyptians and Tunisians have infiltrated the country, that ‘real Libyans’ wouldn’t do such things. Historically, the two regions have not been great friends, and now whatever tension there was recently has been sharpening into open hate and disgust towards Eastern Libyans. Some people refer to them as ‘Zionists and Israelis’.
I guess now they are using their harshest insults (to them, at least) – calling their own countrymen Zionists for daring to question the leadership of that madman Gadaffi who has ruled the country since 1969 as absolute dictator.