The PJ Tatler

Al Jazeera Goes (More) Islamist

While Al Gore — who recently gained 100 million personally from the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera — may be laughing all the way to the bank, as the saying goes, reporters have been fleeing the once supposedly unbiased Qatar-based network in droves.  Reason? It’s turning into a propaganda station. From Spiegel Online:

Since the Arab Spring, though, many former dissidents have risen to power across the region — and these fledgling leaders often show little respect for democratic principles. Al-Jazeera, however, has shamelessly fawned upon the new rulers.

Today, when Egyptians protest against President Mohammad Morsi and the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Jazeera is often critical of them, in the style of the old pro-government TV station. Conversely, according to ex-correspondent Suliman, Al-Jazeera executives have ordered that Morsi’s decrees should be portrayed as pearls of wisdom. “Such a dictatorial approach would have been unthinkable before,” he says. “In Egypt we have become the palace broadcaster for Morsi.”

This is rather surprising considering that Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar and financier of the network, used to ban such blatant influence peddling. The walls of the TV station’s modern headquarters in Doha are decorated with quotations from free-thinkers like Bob Dylan and Mahatma Gandhi.

What? No quotations from Chairman Al?