Al Jazeera's moment of clarity


Al Jazeera seems to be having a bad time over its coverage of events in Lebanon. According to the Reuters "news" agency, the Arabic satellite television news channel has been threatened with having its Beirut offices bombed, in retaliation for interviewing anti—Syrian spokesmen in Lebanon.

Popular Arabic television Al Jazeera said Sunday it had received a bomb threat against its Beirut office over its coverage of a Beirut blast, which included interviews with leading anti—Syrian politicians.

"The Saturday evening phone call warned that the central Beirut office would be bombed if the television channel did not stop its coverage of the recent explosions in Beirut," Al Jazeera said. It said the caller did not identify himself.

The Qatar—based television interviewed several Lebanese opposition leaders after a car bomb wounded at least eight people in Christian east Beirut Saturday.

Al Jazeera had previously enjoyed immunity from terror, when it was bashing American liberators in Iraq. But now that crucial segments of Arab public opinion have been emboldened to demand democracy and self—rule in their own homelands, the decisions are not so easy. Al Jazeera can, of course, side with the oppressors and terrorists and be safe from bombing. But the price of that will be a severe loss of credibility, especially now that alternatives, like the US—funded Al Hurra channel exist and can get out the story if Al Jazeera chooses not to.

On the other hand, Al Jazeera just might start seeing Arab terrorists as terrorists, not Arabs fighting infidels. If that is the outcome, they may experience some attacks, but they will also gain legitimacy and maybe even journalistic redemption.

Thomas Lifson   3 27 05