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  • Too much bad news?

    by Al-Hack
    23rd January, 2006 at 3:28 am    

    Is Al-Jazeera’s popularity waning in favour of the Saudi backed station Al-Arabiya? Ahmad Humeid notes an interesting trend that may not bode well for the station best known for making Bin Laden a media whore.

    From my talks to friends, people also seem to be frustrated by Al Jazeera’s portrayal of the Arab situation. My personal interpretation of this is that Al Jazeera’s ‘brand’ is, at least partially starting to stands for ‘bad news’, anger, overt controversy and/or sensationalism.

    Personally, I got really sick with Al Jazeera a few years ago, when they aired ‘Minbar Al Jazeera’ (Al Jazeera Forum), which is a viewer call-in program. People that go by names like ‘Abu Akram from Sweden’ call in with opinions that are just so extreme and mindless, like one guy suggesting a plan to destroy Israel by hiring Sri Lankan mercenaries (!) that would pump diesel into lake Tiberias and start a thousand fires across Israeli cities!

    Heh, you gotta love the crazed imagination of some people eh? But Ahmad’s musings are backed by stats taken from the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

    In a monthly charting of audience ratings prepared exclusively for Worldcasting by the premier independent Middle East television survey organization IPSOS-STAT, the Saudi government-financed Al-Arabiya surpassed Al Jazeera in audience viewer rankings for the first time in the history of the two channels.

    Is that good or bad? Maybe Arab TV is ripe for dumbing down. Enter the BBC…

                  Post to

    Filed in: Media,The World

    39 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. dana white — on 23rd January, 2006 at 11:19 am  

      At least Al-Jazeera have bigger stones than anyone at the beeb:

    2. Rohin — on 23rd January, 2006 at 12:56 pm  

      Bullshit, more like they have an unhealthy desire to excuse terrorists by grasping at daft conspiracy theories about 9/11.

      Al Jazeera is better than the BBC?! What the fuck is this?

    3. Kay — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:02 pm  

      Rohin, you’re comment is valid but you can’t compare 2 very different broadcasting corps (which they are in their own right) with different ethos.

    4. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:14 pm  

      The value systems maybe different, but that doesn’t mean the journalistic standards cannot be compared. Al Jazeera doesn’t have any balls because it only shows the “other” side of the story - the jingoistic Arab rubbish that lies on the same spectrum as Fox News.

      Rather than trying to peddle conspiracy theories that any half-baked Arab conspiracy theorist was pushing after 9/11, they should consider quality control.

    5. Rohin — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:18 pm  

      Actually I’m still laughing at Al-Hack’s line about Bin Laden being a media whore. Imagine him snorting coke in the toilets at the Brit Awards, stumbling out and showing the papparazzi his knickers.

    6. Col. Mustafa — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:35 pm  


      Osama lifting up his clothes showing his shaved scrotum whilst shouting SEEE IM CIVILISED YOU WESTERN MEDIA SCUMMM.

      Is Al Arabiya showing porn then? Whats so good about the channel that people have stopped watching the science fiction on Al Jazeera?

      I myself am very fond of Fox news and Al jazeera. More so Fox, cos i understand that language.

    7. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:40 pm  

      There was a book by an American author mentioned by Bin Laden in his latest speech threatening to slaughter more innocent people and the book has shot up the bestseller list - the author is using Bin Laden as an endoresment, like a blurb.

      Imagine getting bigged up by Bin Laden in a speech.

    8. Kay — on 23rd January, 2006 at 1:44 pm  

      He seems to be and is (refer to Aljazeera) getting intense media hype for demonic actions!

    9. dana white — on 23rd January, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

      Bin Laden denied 9/11, the only time he admitted it was in the fake tape released days before the US election last year. Some of you guys are real bloody stoopid.

      None of you’s watched Loose Change 2?

    10. dana white — on 23rd January, 2006 at 2:04 pm  

      So you accuse Al-Jazeera of lying?

      Are the beeb lying?

      So if it wasn’t them who was it?

      It’s so in your face but so many can’t face the truth. Shame on you.

    11. Siddharth — on 23rd January, 2006 at 2:12 pm  

      Al Jazeera brought technically superior, Western-style 24-hour TV news media to the Arab world. Together with having no editorial constraints imposed on them by the Qatari government. This made Al-Jazeera the only place millions of Arabs went to for their objective news. A bit like the role of the BBC World Service for millions of Asians in the subcontinent. The trouble is that 9/11 and the Iraq war saw, for whatever reason, the editorial policy of Al-Jazeera seemed to go Right-wards and in defence of sentimentalist Pan-Arabism.

      Al-Arabiya is trully the Saudi equivalent of Fox (Faux?) News - I bet they share editorial material and certainly the same politics. If this is the way media consumption is going, then yes, this appears to be a dumbing down.

    12. Col. Mustafa — on 23rd January, 2006 at 2:15 pm  

      “So you accuse Al-Jazeera of lying?”

      No, i accuse them of not knowing the truth.

      “So if it wasn’t them who was it?”

      So if it wasn’t the men that had fake passports in the first place to carry out the attack, who was it?
      Well that doesn’t mean it was America then does it.
      Its just Osama covering his tracks; or whoever carried out the attack covering his tracks.

    13. dana white — on 23rd January, 2006 at 2:45 pm  

      It was America all right, show me a single piece of evidence proving Osama was behing it. You can’t because he wasn’t. Maybe you should read Al-Jazeera more often instead of the BS broadcast by the beeb.

      Al Jazeera have been publishing good stuff about 911 ever since it was revealed Bush wanted to bomb them.

      FBI evidence of Mossad involvement in September 11 attacks on the U.S.?!

      “Reopen the investigation and address the unanswered questions of 9/11”

      Controlled collapse of World Trade Center Building 7?

      The new U.S. 20 dollar bill contains hidden pictures of 9/11- “Coincidence or a Conspiracy”?

    14. Col. Mustafa — on 23rd January, 2006 at 2:54 pm  

      Wow Dana, i guess they were trying to fit up Osama.

      This is quite shocking for me as i’d never of thought it.
      That means that the Americans don’t like us and they deliberately killed thier own people to start war in the middleeast.

      I think we should join forces Dana; you and me and whoever else sees the light as i just have.


    15. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 2:54 pm  

      Oh God the lunatics have discovered this blog.

    16. dana white — on 23rd January, 2006 at 3:00 pm  

      liars, charlatans, obfuscators

    17. dana white — on 23rd January, 2006 at 3:01 pm  

      “Oh God the lunatics have discovered this blog. ”

      Is that what ‘good Germans’ tell themselves to stay sane?

    18. Jay Singh — on 23rd January, 2006 at 3:03 pm  

      I bet dana white thinks banana’s are involved in a conspiracy against her.

    19. Don — on 23rd January, 2006 at 3:09 pm  

      The folding $20 bill seems conclusive to me. Can’t argue with hard evidence. Oops, I meant can’t argue with mush-brained conspiracy bunnies.

    20. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2006 at 3:31 pm  

      Listen, forget the Americans, its the global illuminati! Or maybe the Jews. Or maybe both are controlled by the illuminati. Whoever that is. Or maybe we’re all controlled by aliens who have a pathological hatred of Muslims. Or maybe they’re experimenting with us. Or maybe this is all a dream and Dana white has been put here to mess with our brain.

      Either way, some of the Al Jazeera staff are smoking too much Sheesha while updatin their website.

    21. Kay — on 23rd January, 2006 at 3:36 pm  

      Dana, us individuals aren’t stupid (sorry if we come across that way!).

      Yes, the media influences us but we’re clever enough to analyse facts and form a judgement.

      Your posts imply that you’re very passionate abt this sensitive topic, but hun no one is pointing the finger!
      Besides, they’re all a bunch of amaglamaniacs!

    22. Kay — on 23rd January, 2006 at 3:40 pm  

      Sunny, you’re don! Lol!
      it’s all competitiion. Democracy versus reformism.
      Bush + America- want to dominate us with their doctrines.
      Blair- wants to do the same.
      Bin Laden- also wants to do the same.

      But do anyone of them care about the people? NO!

    23. bananabrain — on 23rd January, 2006 at 4:00 pm  

      speaking as a banana who’s part of this global conspiracy (sheesh, have you ever seen jews try to organise anything as a cross-communal group? it’s really embarrassing - i mean, look at the board of deputies) i would have to say:

      “cluck cluck, gibber gibber, my old man’s a mushroom and i’m off to hartlepool to buy some exploding trousers”

      now we’ve dispensed with the troll, my personal view is that you ought to have a news portfolio, so you cover as many angles as you like. people who only read people they agree with tend to be a little on the self-righteous side.

      personally, i’ve recently become a bit of a fan of asharq al-awsat (see, which seems to me to be the international herald tribune of the arab world, in addition to having [some] extremely credible journalists (with the notable exception of the syrian minister of information, who is nothing if not qualified for her job) and some fairly high journalistic standards. one of my favourite columnists there is the editor of al-arabiya, i believe, who appears to be a very sensible chap indeed. not surprisingly, he never misses an opportunity to put the boot into al-jazeera - that’s professional competition for you.

      most of my arab friends seem to watch al-j - but they watch it with rather the same scepticism that i have developed about our latest offering, the rather amusingly-named “more4″, which some wag recently suggested should be renamed “michaelmoore4″.

      the bbc pisses off everyone so much it must be doing something right; both the jews and the muslims are convinced it is supporting the other side, for a start. i actually find that a little unconvincing, though, as i prefer organisations that admit they have prejudices rather than trying to don the threadbare mantle of journalistic integrity. we all know what these feckers prefer - bad news, disaster and bombs, the west being to blame; no wonder osama and his mates have learned from this:



    24. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 23rd January, 2006 at 4:09 pm  

      I dont speak Arabic but from what I can tell, Al Jazeera does a great disservice to its viewers by feeding them jingoistic garbage which provides short term comfort but long term ignorance.

      Faux (Fox) News is pure evil. It plays on the worst racist, nativist, homophobic fears of its audience. Its anchors give legitimacy to the worst primal uninhibited uncivilzed instincts of its viewers. There are millions of Americans whose stupidity is given validity by Fox Journalists who are doing a great job of stupefying a large portion of the country.

      During the Iraq war I could not watch Fox or for that matter any American television. I actually had to upgrade my cable service so I could get the BBC. Thank god for the brits!

      A lot of Americans are perfectly comfortable with the fact that the American Journalists openly support the troops, pick sides (guess which side!), use terminology of good versus evil, and wear their nationalism on their sleeves. They dont want an objective coverage of the war and the news outlets obviously pander to their audience.

      It seems to me that the Brits want a little more objective coverage of the war especially when you look at the BBC coverage.

    25. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2006 at 4:39 pm  

      , as i prefer organisations that admit they have prejudices rather than trying to don the threadbare mantle of journalistic integrity.
      Bananabrain - you mean Fox “fair and balanced” News? I don’t think any TV news organisation apart from the press media like to admit their liberal or conervative bias.

      The BBC can never be seen as totally impartial as it has to report on very sensitive issues that both sides want seen from their own perspective. But its better than American news in general.

    26. El Cid — on 23rd January, 2006 at 5:02 pm  

      Impartiality in our news coverage — is that really possible?
      Funny enough, someone raised a point on our internal blog today that dovetails neatly with this discussion. Here’s an adulterated version. The names have been removed for obvious reasons:

      “Not to take away at all from our fine new handbook for journalists, but I noticed its heavy reliance on ‘balance’ in its guidance on proper coverage. Among them is is a reference to balance as one of the 10 fundamentals of journalism. I find balance to be an inappropriate ideal for us. Balance implies giving equal space to all sides, which can lead to coverage that fails the test of fairness and accuracy. Sometimes, giving equal room to fringe or minority viewpoints distorts reality to the point of inaccuracy. To quote a recent opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer, ‘… balance, pushed to its absurd conclusion, would mean giving the killers equal time.’
      Instead, I feel we should aim to achieve *fairness* in our coverage; this means not only fairness to alleged perpetrators of crimes, but fairness to their victims and fairness to our readers by accurately portraying the reality of the situation. I worry that some may perceive balance as giving every side equivalent space for their arguments, which can lead our coverage astray.”

      El Cid said: “Balance does not imply giving EQUAL space to all sides. Some arguments are self-evidently weightier than others. It just depends. The Philadelphia Enquirer distorts the issue by pushing the concept to AN absurd conclusion. Set aside balance and you’re on a slippery slope towards partisan journalism. Balance is not only appropriate, it is essential.”

    27. bananabrain — on 23rd January, 2006 at 5:05 pm  

      perhaps i should clarify - i also employ a quality control, insofar as i prefer media that try at least to portray complex issues, even if i don’t always agree with their editorial slant - the grauniad, the indy, the torygraph and the times are kind of what i’m getting at here. by contrast, i can’t be arsed with most american news any more than i can be arsed with sky news or itv news - it’s all about reducing complex issues to bite-sized nuggets that can be fitted in between the ad breaks.

      in fact, about the only tv news i can stomach is channel 4 (hurrah, at least partly desi-fronted) even if i feel that michaelmoore4 is a step too far in the direction of outright bush-and-blair-bashing at the moment. let rory bremner start his own bloody tv channel and see how many people watch it. nonetheless, i’ll still wave to jon snow next time i see him down exmouth market in his bicycle clips.



    28. bananabrain — on 23rd January, 2006 at 5:12 pm  

      i think the philadelphia inquirer is using a “reductio ad absurdum” to make a good point. i agree with you guys about fairness as opposed to balance (and, incidentally, if it’s not sucking up to say so, i think you do rather a good job here) - but i believe all opinions (on current affairs at least) are inherently partisan. the difference is in the amount of fairness in the opinion and the amount to which the opinion-giver is prepared to admit his or her partisanitude, if i may use a neologism.



    29. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2006 at 5:57 pm  

      I love Jon Snow and Samira Ahmed…. yes I agree Channel 4 news wins hands down. Even the BBC’s coverage is becoming increasingly bite-sized, which is most annoying. But I was in LA over the winter and it was just cringe-worthy.

      The local TV stations were obsessed by “cat gets stuck up a tree” stories, while CNN and Fox were so opinion based and peppered with ludicrous stand-off interviews (get two people of opposing views in the studio) that it made no one much the wiser.

      It’s not just dumbing down, it’s also an attempt to try and avoid spending money on well-researched packages by just getting two highly opinionated people in the studio.

      I really really hope the UK does not go down that route.

    30. Mokum — on 23rd January, 2006 at 10:01 pm  

      Please note that the conspiracy theory attributed to al Jaz (the TV station) on this thread is actually reported/spread by another organisation. of Dubai says this in its “about us” page:

      Important note: Aljazeera Publishing and are not associated with the controversial Arabic Satellite Channel known as Jazeera Space Channel TV station whose website is

      The UAE’s media sins should never be visited on Qatar, which has enough of its own, starting with no tough al Jaz criticism of Mama Qatar, but plenty of barbs for mean old Uncle Saudi.

      So the mean uncle opted for al-Arabiya, a screen for its already well-established written media voice (Saudi pays Londonistan stringers well). Modern media war comes to Araby - all hail partisantude progress :-)

    31. inders — on 24th January, 2006 at 12:30 am  

      IF Al Jzeera doesn’t think Osama was behind it why do they show tapes of someone they say is Osama saying he did it and he will carry out more like it ?

    32. vanderlai — on 24th January, 2006 at 11:05 am  

      “IF Al Jzeera doesn’t think Osama was behind it why do they show tapes of someone they say is Osama saying he did it and he will carry out more like it ?”

      What one must know about 9/11

      1) False Flag Terror, Bin Laden didn’t do it.
      2) insiders did, your government, business leaders planned and/or are helping with cover up!
      3) MSM, particularly CNN, were/are part of the charade
      4) every inhabitant on this Earth should work to expose the deception,
      and combat the burgeoning Fascism

    33. vanderlai — on 24th January, 2006 at 11:08 am  

      more on bogus Bin Laden tape:

    34. letsroll — on 24th January, 2006 at 11:15 am  

      High profile official doubters of the big lie -

    35. Tim Osman — on 24th January, 2006 at 11:31 am  

      Will the real Bin Laden please stand up:

    36. Jay Singh — on 24th January, 2006 at 1:21 pm  

      Idiotic conspiracy theorists flood sensible website:

    37. Sunny — on 24th January, 2006 at 1:26 pm  

      Jeez, I wonder what Bin Laden has to do to convince these guys it really was him behind the 9/11 attacks. I bet even if he came and stood in front of these conspiracy theory nuts, they wouldn’t believe him. Too easy to believe what you want to eh boys?

    38. bananabrain — on 24th January, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

      i agree with you about the “shouting heads”, sunny - but what have you got against krishnan gurumurthy apart from his suv?

      and isn’t anyone going to write anything about the “gay muslims” documentary last night? i can’t believe nobody saw it.



    39. geets — on 24th January, 2006 at 2:40 pm  

      I’m lucky that my sister is of that kind. The gay bit. Not the Muslim bit. Therefore, I know how important freedom of expression is. Apparantly, the “‘Gays’ and the obstacles they have to face don’t get enough coverage!” (according to my sister.)

      I’m so happy that the gay Muslims have been unearthed. Before yesterday - they were merely referred to as ‘Gay Asians’.

      At least Channel 4 got straight to the point. No need to pussyfoot around which would have been the case had the programme been called ‘The attention seekers way to get on to TV’. Be Muslim. Or better still. Be a ‘Gay Muslim’.

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