Last week on this week Sam Donaldson spoke up in favour of Al Jazeera before it became totally rote to do so (he is also quoted in the Al Jazeera NYT ad) and thanked them for what they were doing.
This, naturally, prompted Bill O’Reilly to call Al Jazeera “anti-American” and “anti-Semitic” refer to Donaldson as a ‘pinhead.’
On Reliable Sources yesterday Donaldson responded with this somewhat bizarre definition of why he thinks Al Jazeera is important.
Al Jazeera, I thought, performed a service in fanning the flames in Egypt. Hey is that so bad? If Al Jazerra brings information to the Arab world that makes them throw over their dictators should we complain? Now Howie Al Jazeera says things about us that we don’t like, and some things that are not true. And I certainly don’t subscribe to that, except a news service of any kind has got to be able to say whatever it wants, otherwise it’s a contradiction in terms.
Emphasis mine. I mean I guess that’s one way to look at the service Al Jazeera has performed. Another might be that they are comprehensively reporting the actual news from the Mid-East as opposed to what was available on Egyptian State TV.
Or that they are comprehensively reporting the actual news from the Mid-East – “illuminating Arab life and politics” in the words of Frank Rich — as opposed to what is generally available on American television.
Because Donaldson’s phrasing suggests that Al Jazeera nothing more that political pep rally masquerading as a TV station, and while there may be television stations that fit that bill…I don’t think Al Jazeera’s current output from Egypt quite puts them in that category. Video below.
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