Al Jazeera English from Tahrir Square.
In his novel The Autumn of the Patriarch, Gabriel Garcia Marquez outlines the behaviour of a dictator under threat and his psychology of total denial. In his glory days, the autocrat believes he is a national hero. Faced with rebellion, he blames “foreign hands” and “hidden agendas” for this inexplicable revolt against his benevolent but absolute rule. Those fomenting the insurrection are “used and manipulated by foreign powers who hate our country”. Then – and here I use a precis of Marquez by the great Egyptian author Alaa Al-Aswany – “the dictator tries to test the limits of the engine, by doing everything except what he should do. He becomes dangerous. After that, he agrees to do anything they want him to do. Then he goes away”.
Hosni Mubarak of Egypt appears to be on the cusp of stage four – the final departure. For 30 years he was the “national hero” – participant in the 1973 war, former head of the Egyptian air force, natural successor to Gamal Abdel Nasser as well as Anwar Sadat – and then, faced with his people’s increasing fury at his dictatorial rule, his police state and his torturers and the corruption of his regime, he blamed the dark shadow of the country’s fictional enemies (al-Qa’ida, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Jazeera, CNN, America). We may just have passed the dangerous phase.
|—||Robert Fisk: “The wrong Mubarak quits. Soon the right one will go” - Robert Fisk, Commentators - The Independent 2/6/11|
Pretty much the place to be today.
I don’t know, I’ve been glued to Al Jazeera English on and off for the past few days, and I have been impressed with the degree to which both the correspondents and anchors try to corroborate various claims that have been made. In addition, they have invited guests to comment whose views would have been inimical to those of the protestors, such as those who now are or were connected to the Israeli government.
02/03/2011 by Peter Hart
New York Times TV reporter Alessandra Stanley (2/2/11) had a piece discussing why you can’t watch Al Jazeera English on your television. After noting that “demand was pretty low” for the channel until recently (unlike, I don’t know, Fox Business Channel, which must have dozens of die-hard fans), Stanley warned that
zeal sometimes outstrips the thirst for accuracy. The channel reported on Tuesday that 2 million protesters defied a curfew to gather in Tahrir Square; most Western news organizations put the number in the hundreds of thousands.
Seriously—the New York Times is going to lecture other media outlets on the proper way to report on the size of the crowd at a massive demonstration? And the person to do this is Alessandra Stanley, a reporter whose record of inaccuracy led Gawker to wonder, “How Many Corrections Does It Take to Get Fired at the Times?”
Come on now.
This, me mateys, is censorship, pure and simple. The pot should not be calling the kettle black. Further, this is an important reason to defend net neutrality.
WASHINGTON - Canadian television viewers looking for the most thorough and in-depth coverage of the uprising in Egypt have the option of tuning into Al Jazeera English, whose on-the-ground coverage of the turmoil is unmatched by any other outlet. American viewers, meanwhile, have little choice but to wait until one of the U.S. cable-company-approved networks broadcasts footage from AJE, which the company makes publicly available. What they can’t do is watch the network directly.
Other than in a handful of pockets across the U.S. - including Ohio, Vermont and Washington, D.C. - cable carriers do not give viewers the choice of watching Al Jazeera. That corporate censorship comes as American diplomats harshly criticize the Egyptian government for blocking Internet communication inside the country and as Egyptattempts to block Al Jazeera from broadcasting.