Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Al Jazeera Backs the Muslim Brotherhood

by Elliott Abrams
November 7, 2013


I’ve done several blog posts questioning the impartiality of Al Jazeera as a news source (for example, here), but even so I was amazed by a line in the Washington Post today. In an article entitled “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Finds Havens Abroad” we find this:

an exile leadership is starting to take shape here among the shimmering high-rises of Doha. Several of the exiles live temporarily in hotel suites paid for by Qatar’s state-run Arabic satellite network Al Jazeera — and it is in those suites and hotel lobbies that the future of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and, more broadly, the strategy and ideology of political Islam in the country may well be charted.

Hotel suites paid for by Al Jazeera!

Al Jazeera America presents itself as “the new American news channel that reports unbiased, fact-based and in-depth journalism that gets you closer to the people at the heart of the news.” Al Jazeera says it has a code of ethics that includes this: “Being a globally oriented media service, Al Jazeera shall adopt the following code of ethics in pursuance of the vision and mission it has set for itself: 1. Adhere to the journalistic values of honesty, courage, fairness, balance, independence, credibility and diversity, giving no priority to commercial or political over professional consideration.”

None of that can be squared with paying for hotel suites for Muslim Brotherhood leaders, month after month. If the Post has the facts right, this practice means that the owner of Al Jazeera, the Government of Qatar, is simply using the network as a tool to provide financial support for the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood’s leadership in exile.

Perhaps the facts are wrong, and if so Qatar and Al Jazeera should let us know. If the Post has it right, it is a startling piece of journalistic malpractice and another reason to see the network as a tool of the Qatari government rather than as a news station.


Post a Comment 8 Comments

  • Posted by ade

    seriously? you actually believe aljazeera paid their hotel bills? aj is a newsorganisation that doesn’t make profit. all the money they get from the gov of qatar they pump in their resources.

    i can and would believe the gov of qatar would help the mb, but aj? don’t be that naive.

  • Posted by Adam

    Basically, what’s the difference between the views of a news agency financed by an autocrat and the the views of the autocrat himself? Not a lot, and that ain’t news. AJ should be banned as it is a tool of propaganda, and no champion of freedom of information.

  • Posted by ah

    Adam, you clearly have not watched must Al Jazeera. Certainly it has its share of biases influenced by the government that finances it, but then again, so does Fox, CNN and others. I am not saying that makes it right, but it is what it is.

    All that being said, Al Jazeera actually does some pretty impressive journalism that I would love to see US news channels picking up. They spend a lot less time catering to the lowest common denominator with stories on Miley Cyrus and Bieber, and a lot more time on important and interesting global issues.

  • Posted by Adam

    Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying AJ is merely biased; I am saying it is the propaganda instrument of an autocrat. You can’t mix freedom of information and autocracy.

    AJ claims: “Giving no priority to commercial or political over professional consideration.” I don’t think so.

  • Posted by Omerk1955

    The reason AJ has found a place on TV is precisely because the other ‘News” channels rarely provide the type of coverage that many viewers interested in national and international affairs are looking for. AJ is indeed biased but their bias is fairly easy to spot. Leaving aside MSNBC and Fox and their failings, CNN is slowly and not very gracefully exiting journalism and turning into a mix of reality TV, increasingly base journalism and a documentary channel. We need a new Ted Turner and a new CNN…

  • Posted by Andrew

    Adam, if you want to talk about propaganda, turn on Glenn Beck on Fox News. That guy goes on American television all the time and spits straight lies, flames up xenophobia, and stirs up public paranoia. If you want to talk about banning news outlets, too, then let’s talk about banning Fox, not AJ.
    As does every news outlet, AJ has its biases, but I think it is relatively fair, indepth, good, journalism. Somehow I have trouble believing that anyone who is so quick to call AJ a supporter of the MB or to call it propaganda, clearly without having seen any length of the program, isn’t an islamophobe…

  • Posted by Elliott Abrams

    Beck left Fox in 2011.

  • Posted by Adam


    Their own journalists call AJ a propaganda channel.
    But I suppose they don’t watch AJ or maybe they are a bunch of islamophobes.

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