Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, March 31, 2003
A CACKHANDED BALANCE observes reader Bernard M of this piece of serial commentary from his local ABC:

Tuned into 774 just a minute before the 6:00pm news tonight, but in time to hear the presenter say, in respect of Al Jazeera, that "It balances out Fox News, with the BBC in the middle". Unbelievable. These fools wouldn't know one-sided reporting if they fell over it.

Not true, Bernard. The communards know one-sided reporting like the back of their minds. After all they demonstrate it daily with a practised ease.

Uncle almost spat his cornflakes one morning last week when morning presenter and serial commentator Peter Thomson described the Coalition's liberation of Iraq as an "adventure".

That's the thing about serial commentary as practised by Auntie's communards.

They don't have to justify or even explain their preaching.

Their bigotry is just dropped into the national conversation like pigeon shit in a Sydney street. Only you're paying for it.

Later. This on al Jazeera from Paul Sheehan in today's Henny Herald:

Fouad Ajami, professor of Middle Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University, analysed Al-Jazeera's coverage for The New York Times in 2001 and what he wrote then holds true even more so now: "On Al-Jazeera (which means "The Peninsula"), the Hollywoodisation of news is indulged with an abandon that would make the Fox News channel blush ...

"Al-Jazeera's reporters are similarly adept at riling up the viewer. A fiercely opinionated group, most are either pan-Arabists - nationalists of a leftist bent committed to the idea of a single nation across the many frontiers of the Arab world - or Islamists who draw their inspiration from the primacy of the Muslim faith in political life ... The dark side of the pan-Arab world view is an aggressive mix of anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism, and these hostilities drive the station's coverage ...

"Day in and day out, Al-Jazeera deliberately fans the flames of Muslim outrage ... Top American officials have begun appearing on the station's talk shows. But my view suggests that it won't be easy to dampen the fiery tone of Al-Jazeera. The enmity runs too deep."