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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 12, 2003

Lebanon's top TV news a careful mix of objective and anti-Israeli

This article in St. Louis Post-Dispatch makes a nice distinction between the reputed objectivity of the TV station Al-Jazeera and the hate -filled station in Lebanon
he most notorious television station in the Middle East mixes straightforward news and entertainment with equally straightforward calls for the destruction of Israel.

"We show the killing and massacre and displacement of innocent people, thousands of them a year, by a bunch of guerrillas and soldiers who call themselves Israelis," said Ibrahim Mousawy, chief editor for English-language news at Lebanon-based al-Manar Television.

"Because we show those images we are called terrorists," he added. "But if we are terrorists then all Arabs are."

Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arab satellite channel, made its name internationally after the Sept. 11 attack on the United States, thanks to its extraordinary access to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network. Al-Manar is betting on a similar breakthrough moment, with the U.S. poised for war against Iraq at a time when Arab resentment against the United States and Israel is already at fever pitch.

The difference is that while al-Jazeera claims to play by the rules of objective journalism, al-Manar ("lighthouse," in Arabic) is a proud partisan. Al-Jazeera regularly includes Israeli officials in its broadcasts. Al-Manar never would.[more]