Why Does Al Jazeera Love a Hateful Islamic Extremist?
The millions of Egyptians who rose up against Mursi’s rule also aired their feelings about Al Jazeera’s breathless pro-Muslim Brotherhood coverage. The harsh criticism directed at the network prompted Egyptian reporters to expel Al Jazeera reporters from a recent news conference, and led several journalists to quit Al Jazeera’s Egypt operation, apparently to protest its obvious bias.
One of the correspondents who quit, Haggag Salama, accused his ex-bosses of “airing lies and misleading viewers.” The journalist Abdel Latif el-Menawy is reported to have called Al Jazeera a “propaganda channel” for the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s possible that some of the journalists who quit did so as a matter of self-preservation; the Egyptian military is behaving in predictably heavy-handed ways toward journalists it doesn’t like. But it’s also entirely plausible that they quit because they couldn’t abide Qatari government interference in their reporting.
If it’s been a bad week for Qatar and Al Jazeera, it’s been a very bad week for the network’s star broadcaster, the televangelist Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Sunni cleric who is a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qaradawi has been Al Jazeera’s most important star for many years. His show, “Shariah and Life,” is seen by millions across the Middle East.