‘Sensational’ talk


OVER 15 years ago, I attended a three-day brainstorming event, which brought me together with politicians, media professionals and opinion makers from the Arab world and the United States. In one of the interactive sessions conducted by the director of dialogue, a “sensational” Middle East par excellence media was the expression chosen to describe the news correspondent of Al Jazeera channel. Fox was another channel, which was also described the same way. These two TV stations are the most exaggerated channels in the terms of their editorial slant in the news.

I was not surprised at the time when Al-Jazeera adopted a permissive and asymmetrical approach to its news coverage, and gradually it turned out to be a mere “tool” in the hands of the coup regime in Qatar, which used the channel’s screen to spread hard-line Takfiri ideology. The controversial Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi hosted a weekly platform entitled “Shariah and Life”, giving his opinions on every small and big matter, from the expiation of Ramadan, to the exit and disobedience to the ruler, who brought “hostile rudeness” on the television screen, with participants fighting with each other, flipping tables, throwing shoes, and throwing of the water glass. Some of them use dirtiest kind of language, all in the name of “opposite direction,” and calmly describing it a political talk show. This is the template allowed to be acceptable and prevalent in the public, and the language of “streets” became the language of the screen.

It is no longer strange to see “dialectic” terms defined by channel’s owner, who are “martyr”, “dead”, “revolutionaries”, “terrorists”, and a news report that would normally take two to three minutes, was sometimes given more than seven minutes as the coup regime in Qatar wanted to use it for its political goals and its ongoing project in the region.

In a media investigation, it was clear that the negative news coverage of the Arab Republic of Egypt on Al-Jazeera was five times more than that of Israel itself. I would not say that if Al-Jazeera had succeeded in holding Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi responsible for global warming in the world, perhaps it is working on it now.

Al-Jazeera, the media trumpet of the coup in Qatar, has turned into a cheap celebrity magazine, and it is now offering disgraceful media outlet, far away from any credibility. The declining viewership rate and the low credibility ratings in more than one opinion poll, are pointer to the fact that the channel offers no news, no opinion.

It seems that Al Jazeera will go down in the annals of history with distinction joining the club of the likes of Musaylimah the Liar, Joseph Goebbels and Hassan Nasrallah, congratulating them.

At a time when the phenomenon of counterfeit news is a general case, Al Jazeera is proud to have been the leader and initiator of this approach.