: I’d be grateful if someone who speaks Arabic could compare the coverage on the English-language vs. the Arabic home pages of Al Jazeera. The English version smells not unlike CNN. I wonder whether the Arabic version is.

  • Most of the stories carried on the English version of Al Jazeera are from news feeds like Reuters. That is probably why it reads like CNN. Also, I recall hearing that a number of the people involved in Al Jazeera used to work for CNN.

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    The original personnel of AlJaz were trained by the BBC.
    I believe much of their popularity is based on their features like their version of ‘Point-Counterpoint’ plus their daring to ‘reach’ past the hackneyed givens of the rest of the indigenous media. For example, they have sometimes interviewed Israeli figures and let them give their side of a story, which often enrages some of the Arabic audience.
    Anglos, too, can be triggered into a rage by AlJaz likewise. I myself got ticked off at them recently.
    Offhand, I don’t know what it is about their page you think you discern or perceive. I read it frequently and also read Al Bawaba just as often.
    But I don’t read their Arabic page.

  • Jeff — For an example of when Al-Jazeera doesn’t sound at all like CNN, see my post here. You and I were both there when the DC Bureau Chief referred to Wolfowitz as similarly influential to as Uday and Qusay.

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    On 2nd thought, maybe you could ask Zeyad to do this.
    But he’s trained as a dentist, not as a writer or journalist.
    If you put this question before a group of Arabic speakers who are bi-lingual, maybe you could collate their reactions and extrapolate some meaningful information.

  • I recently discovered an animated cartoonist on Aljaz that I find interesting in terms of getting a sample of the Islamic worldview.

  • Tha nation has an article on US militry attempts to intimidate (and physically abuse) ALJazeera journalist. You’re probably the fore-most freedom-of-the-press type blogger in the US, Jeff. This is your story.
    (Wolfowitz like Uday? Only in that both are physically unappealing)

  • Well, I agree pretty much with these comments, and wrote about the same subject recently:
    Al-Jazeera’s English-language news is only a small selection of its overall content, and tends to omit most of the opinion and analysis (with the exception of the cartoonist). But yes, the Arabic site is organized like (sports, books, films, entertainment puff pieces, and all) and very similar in tone to an American cable news network, for good and ill. Like CNN or Fox News, it sometimes tends to tell its audience mainly what they want to hear. It expects to live by selling advertising like anybody else, after all. And that target demographic is pretty comparable to that of CNN, I would say: the educated middle class, the folks with cell phones and satellite dishes and nice cars and disposable income who follow the markets and have college trust funds for their kids. If it weren’t for the Palestinian question, the network would indistinguishable from its English-language counterparts (except for being in Arabic, that is) …