More Trouble for Al Jazeera English…

NewsBuster’s Curtis Houck writes about another leaked Al Jazeera email that paints the network in a less than favorable light…

On Tuesday afternoon, Brendan Bordelon of National Review Online (NRO) reported on the latest leaked email from Al Jazeera English that showed executive Carlos van Meek telling employees not to sure the terms “extremist,” “Islamist,” “militant,” and “terrorist” in their news coverage to “avoid characterizing people.”

Van Meek’s email came following a deadly shooting earlier in the day at a hotel in Libya that killed at least eight (including one American). Writing to the outlet’s New York and Washington newsrooms, van Meek felt that it was pertinent to “bring to your attention some key words that have a tendency of tripping us up” considering “[o]ne person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter.” –

10 Responses to “More Trouble for Al Jazeera English…”

  1. I’m sure all cable news nets have rules/restrictions on what and when certain words can and can’t be used on air; particularly in regards to terrorism stories. As the email said one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. This is just mischief making by right wing media.

  2. “Mischief making”? How about pointing out the truth from emails from Al Jazeera themselves?

    Pointing out an uncomfortable truth that makes any consumer of their news more aware of the channel’s bias is NOT mischief making. Any time you become more aware of language and it’s use in “news casting” you are educating consumers. I do not understand why you have a problem with that fritz.

  3. This reminds me of Jay Rosen’s “view from nowhere” criticism where he pointed out the danger of journalists using a “false balance” when covering an issue. That is, reporters present two sides as having equally valid arguments or views when they don’t. No one would expect, to pick an extreme example, that the media would cover those supporting a return of Jim Crow segregation as having equal validity to black Americans opposing such a change.

    In any case, if AJ is going to report on these stories with this terminology then they should make it clear as to what they’re doing and why. No mischief making here (well a little), just full disclosure.

    I wonder, parenthetically, if this was handed down by management? AJ is owned (essentially) by the Qatari government and this could be an example of them imposing their views on the organization. IOW, this wasn’t an internal decision?

  4. “I do not understand why you have a problem with that”

    ^^I don’t have a problem with that. FNC does the same thing (tell its reporters/hosts how to say things) only in reverse. They just didn’t have emails leaked to the media about it.

    How hosts/reporters define things is up to them and their bosses. Reporting on leaked emails from any single network is mischief making and it would be if it were leaked emails from FNC or MSNBC too.

    I don’t mind NRO or NB writing about it. I’m just telling why they did it – and it wasn’t to educate consumers.

  5. “They just didn’t have emails leaked to the media about it. ”

    Recall the controversy over the leaked email/memo from Managing Editor Bill Sammons and the Tea Party coverage? Spud blogged about it here. Pretty big controversy at the time.

    I vaguely recall another one. It happens. And has happened.

  6. FWIW, Spud’s post on the leaked Sammon’s memo: https://insidecablenews.wordpress.com/?s=bill+sammons

    He mentions more memos but that’s the only one he blogged on. It was leaked to Media Matters.

  7. Fox News used to use “homicide bomber” as did my local ABC affiliate

  8. “Recall the controversy over the leaked email/memo from Managing Editor Bill Sammons and the Tea Party coverage? Spud blogged about it here. Pretty big controversy at the time.
    FWIW, Spud’s post on the leaked Sammon’s memo: https://insidecablenews.wordpress.com/?s=bill+sammons

    ^^Thanks Erich. I had totally forgotten the Sammons email leaks. The comments were great. Not much has changed since then.🙂

  9. I think this is the right wing media getting their knickers in a twist, because the words are used to editorialise and emotionalise the news, and in those stories, they need neither editorialisation or emotionalisation. The right wing media wants to tell people what to think, and Al Jazeera doesn’t do that, so that’s why the right wing media hates them.

  10. ^ Nailed it.

    Certain news channels have spent weeks complaining that President Obama won’t say “Islamic Terror” or “Radical Islam”. Same channel spent two nights last year demanding the words “terrorist attack” be used to describe an attack in NYC where one police officer was killed.

    This is the new fad on the right… demanding certain words be used. While MSNBC, CNN and AJAM were covering the attack in Paris and the manhunt, Fox News’ lead story was them demanding President Obama say “Radical Islam” and “Islamic Terror”.

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