Al Jazeera Journalist Calls Out Network Bias

April 24th, 2011 at 2:00 pm | 24 Comments |

| Print

Al-Jazeera has long been suspected of lacking objectivity in its reporting of the Middle East. Now one of its most prominent journalists and director of their Beirut office, Ghassan Bin Jeddo, has resigned because of this.

According to Lebanese newspaper, As-Safir, which first broke the story yesterday, Bin Jeddo resigned in protest against Al Jazeera’s coverage of the recent uprisings throughout the Arab world, saying:

Al Jazeera has abandoned professionalism and objectivity, turning from a media source into an operation room that incites and mobilizes.

Al-Safir added that:

Ghassan Ben Jeddo believes Al-Jazeera TV news channel no longer pursues… independent and unbiased policies, and quite conversely, is in pursuit of a certain type of [policy] regarding the brewing uprisings in the region.

As Al-Jazeera continues its rapid growth into a global media behemoth, buoyed by the Arab uprisings, hopefully Ben Jeddo’s resignation will draw greater scrutiny and examination of the station, which has until now escaped relative attention.


Recent Posts by Arsen Ostrovsky



24 Comments so far ↓

  • arvan

    Ehh, good for him. I still use Al Jazeera as a major source for international news, but their coverage of the Middle East has been pretty one-sided (though never nearly as bad as Fox). If it was weighing on his conscience, then resigning is the moral thing to do. We’d be a lot better off if more news personalities did the same, rather than just parroting whatever talking points they’re given and collecting their paycheck.

    • bill Gluck

      One-sided, How? You mean not giving voice to vicious dictators? When Ed Murrow was taking on McCarthy, he famously said – sometimes there is only one side to a story.

      • arvan

        Oh, I don’t mean on the topic of the recent uprisings. I mean in general, over the last several years. Specifically regarding incidents in Israel, the Iranian elections and following events, and the war in Afghanistan. I haven’t really watched much of Al Jazeera’s coverage of the uprisings.

    • Bunker555

      Faux News is not a news organization. It’s great entertainment.

  • Rabiner

    If only the entire Fox News establishment did the same thing?

  • armstp

    This is a completely lame post. As I was reading I was waiting to hear why exactly Al Jazeera is bias. I was waiting for some actual proof or examples. I got to the end and there was none. This article basically said nothing on how exactly Al Jazeera is bias. The article did not even really describe what is even meant by its bias. Is Al Jazeera bias against who? A poorly written piece which really says nothing. The article did not even describe why Ghassan Bin Jeddo thought Al Jazeera was bias.

    I think the author needs to be careful as to discerning exactly why Ghassan Bin Jeddo quite. Many believe that he quite because of “Aljazeera’s coverage in alliance with the Saudi-Israeli alliance in the Middle East. ” Whatever that means. Or how about this: “I have heard from a number of people who work in Aljazeera Arabic and English and I am hearing that the majority are quite irate at the coverage of the network especially in relation to the Bahrain issue.” What does that mean?

    ” While the station heavily covered the events like Libya Protests, Syria Protests and Yemen Protests, it barely mentioned what was happening in Bahrain for example despite the bloodshed there in the Bahrain Protests.”

    I suspect that some are complaining that it has not given equal coverage to all the different country protests. For example, ignoring Bahrain, which may have hit a little too close to home. Although it is hard to know if there is any truth to these claims. I am not sure CNN, the BBC, or FOX covered all of these protests equally, so any critism of this of Al Jazeera might be a little off base.

    I have watched the English version many times and it does not appear to be bias to me. I think Al Jazeera is one of the best new organizations in the world. It is modeled after the BBC, which is arguably the best new organization in the world.

    Al Jazeera is a very courageous news organization. It offices and it journalists are regularly attacked and put in jail.

    • Kurlis

      If you’d care to take off your partisan blinders, maybe you could see.

      • armstp

        Kurlis,

        Why don’t you give us some examples of why you think Al Jazeera is bias? No partisan blinders, just someone who lives with facts and actual proof. The problem is that those on the right are fact free or don’t really support their arguments. It is all ideological and political.

    • A Bit of Reason

      Armstp – are you actually on the Al Jazeera marketing team? Coz that was the most blatant piece of puppy love fawning i have ever seen.

      If you’d care to open your eyes, you’d know – like most people do – that Al Jazeera has had a history of fomenting pro-Arab, anti-US, anti-Israel, anti-West coverage – especially when in comes to its coveage of the Middle East.

      I also don’t know what your problem is with the post. The article sets out exactly why Jeddo quit, with even further details in the enclosed link. Of course, if you cared to remove your blinkered love-fest with Al Jazeera, you would have realised that.

      • armstp

        A Bit of Reason,

        Why don’t you give some actual well documented examples that prove a pattern instead of your generalities? Have you actually ever watch Al Jazeera for any significant period of time?

        Here I will give you some help. Here is a link to the online English video feed. Why don’t you watch it for a day or two and then come back and tell me how Al Jazeera is bias?

        http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

        Al Jazeera is a great news organization. It is too bad it is not available in the U.S. By the way where do you get your bias narrative? Do you just believe what you are told from extremists in the U.S. and in Israel? Or do you judge for yourself by actually watching the channel?

  • Rabiner

    A Bit of Reason:

    He makes a good critique of this article. It’s lacking critical thought on a number of issues pertaining to the topic of this reporter’s resignation. Which policy goals is he protesting by resigning? It’s never spelled out in this article. I’ll take from the article that is linked in this ‘piece’:

    “It stressed that Bin Jeddo’s resignation was morally motivated as Aljazeera highlighted the developments in Libya, Yemen, and Syria but not Bahrain.
    Asked if the resignation was related to the policy the channel has adopted in covering Syrian developments, the paper quoted a source as saying: “It’s an issue of principle and morality for him.”"

    So basically he quit because he felt Al Jazeera was biased by not giving the same coverage to Bahrain as it was the rest of the Middle East in terms of the repressive nature of how they cracked down on protests. The fact that Arsen Ostrovsky fails to mention the reasons and comment on those in particular makes the reader think it was other biases like towards Israel that caused the resignation (since Ostrovsky always writes to favor Israel).

    • armstp

      Rabiner,

      Your point is exactly right.

      “The fact that Arsen Ostrovsky fails to mention the reasons and comment on those in particular makes the reader think it was other biases like towards Israel that caused the resignation (since Ostrovsky always writes to favor Israel).”

      And I think this point is the real point of this hit piece. To leave the reader with the impression that an important journalist quite because of a broader “bias” narrative, that may leave the reader with the impression that it is anti-U.S. or Israel. In fact, it seems to be quite the opposite. Some are complaining that the network through these protests has been too in bed with both the U.S. and Israel by not reporting fully on Bahrain (which is of strategic importance to both the U.S. and Israel). The network has downplayed the actions in Bahrain. By the way the journalist Ghassan Bin Jeddo has been pretty hard on Israel over the years, so it is very unlikely he resigned in protest of the network being bias against Israel or the U.S.

      This is a purposely very misleading article with a very strong generic title. The title should have been “Al Jazeera Reporter Resigns Over Double Standard of Bahrain Uprising Coverage”.

  • llbroo49

    This was a BS piece that cited another vague BS piece to support it. In the future I will remain skeptical of this author as he is either intentionally trying to decieve readers OR is incapable of reading comphrehension.

  • ProfNickD

    That some progressives posting here see al Jezeera as a more objective news source than Fox News says far more about modern progressivism than it does about either al Jezeera or Fox.

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    If you’re scoring at home, or even if you’re alone, here are the current stats for the thread:

    Insinuations of AJ bias: 6.

    Specific criticisms of Al Jazeera’s coverage: 0.

    Noting of the distinction, and the relevance if any, between Al Jazeera and Al Jazeera English: 0.

    Knowledge value added to the universe by the post: 0.

  • A Bit of Reason

    What would some of you like? A dissertation as to why Al Jazeera is biased? If so, that would be pretty easy. However, if you manage to remove your blinkers for a second, wake up and smell the roses, and maybe even try this fascinating new invention called Google, you will find plenty of evidence of Al Jazeera bias at your fingertip. Of course however, you are in denial, blindered only by your own self-prejudice.

    • Elvis Elvisberg

      And in the 17th, the Insinuations nudge their score up a notch, while the Substantiations remain scoreless.

    • armstp

      A Bit of Reason,

      “What would some of you like? A dissertation as to why Al Jazeera is biased?”

      Yes, that is exactly what you should give us. Sure we can Google Al Jazeera bias, but all you get is a bunch of bullshit from Newsbusters, extreme Israeli supporter sites or far-right wing sites or articles from Frum Forum entitled: “Al Jazeera Journalist Calls Out Network Bias”.

      What you do not find is any recent real credible analysis that proves or even suggests that Al Jazeera is bias.

      Here is a credible piece from Foreign Policy Magazine (it is a bit dated though):

      Think Again: Al Jazeera

      “It is vilified as a propaganda machine and Osama bin Laden’s mouthpiece. In truth, though, Al Jazeera is as hated in the palaces of Riyadh as it is in the White House. But, as millions of loyal viewers already know, Al Jazeera promotes a level of free speech and dissent rarely seen in the Arab world. With plans to go global, it might just become your network of choice.”

      http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2006/06/12/think_again_al_jazeera

      By the way, what do you consider bias? A news outlet that does not always go along with the typical American or Israeli narratives? If that is your definition, then all the news organizations in Europe I guess are bias.

      How about instead of relying on someone elses “bias” interpretation of Al Jazeera, why don’t you actually watch it yourself. How about you watch it for a week and then come back to us and tell us why you think it is bias. Make-up your own mind and use your own brain. If I had to guess, I would say you or any of the other critics on here, including the author, have never watched Al Jazeera, not even once.

      Here is the link again:

      http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

  • ProfNickD

    @armstp,

    all you get is a bunch of bullshit from Newsbusters, extreme Israeli supporter sites or far-right wing sites… What you do not find is any recent real credible analysis that proves or even suggests that Al Jazeera is bias.

    So, unless Noam Chomsky sez it, it isn’t true?

    • armstp

      Prof,

      No just some credible evidence that Al Jazeera is a “bias” news channel from a credible source. And by the way why don’t you or the Author or A Bit of Reason actually define what “bias” means.

      You guys are just spoon feed this BS. Most of you have never even watched the channel.

  • Rob_654

    When I started watching the CBC and then later the BBC and Al Jazeera – what really hit me was how little information Americans really get – regardless of it is ABC, MSNBC, Fox, CNN, etc… all of them really show a narrow bit of information with just different shadings.

    Anyone who doesn’t get news from a source or two outside of the United States is missing a big chunk of what is happening in the world and a lot of context relative to the United States.

    As with veggies – its best to consume more than one news outlet on a regular bases.

  • This is what REAL journalism looks like! - Page 3 - U.S. Politics Online: A Political Discussion Forum

    [...] and wealth of the leadership of Qatar. Prominent Aljazeera journalist resigns – Emirates 24/7 Al Jazeera Journalist Calls Out Network Bias | FrumForum Al-Jazeera now biased, says leaving reporter – Telegraph Palestine papers are distortion of [...]

  • Beetlemania

    [...] course many liberals even know about Al Jazeera’s bias, especially their anti-American bent. And their anti Tar Sands Oil stance is only obvious. But Jane [...]

  • Israel and Palestine go at it again - Page 2 - Grasscity.com Forums

    [...] US believes Al Jazeera is 'propaganda tool of Qatar' – World Politics, World – The Independent Al Jazeera Journalist Calls Out Network Bias | FrumForum Al Jazeera Reporter Quits Al Jazeera English for Anti-American Bias | NewsBusters.org [...]