Al-Jazeera. Two words guaranteed to set hackles rising among right-wing media pundits. If you dangled them two, like raw meat, in front of someone like Bill O'Reilly, he'd be rearing up like a tiger on its hind legs, jaws drooling, trying to rend them limb from limb with his teeth.
Reviled by the West as being in cahoots with terrorists because they broadcast their messages, accused of having an Arab and even perhaps a Muslim bias, the White House has gone so far as to perhaps have targeted them during the bombing of Baghdad. Even if they didn't attempt to blast them apart, any reports of civilian casualties issued by them were dismissed as propaganda or exaggerations, and obviously not to be believed, because they had an Arab bias.
Now, I know this asking a lot of some people out there, but let's try and examine some of those accusations in a calm and rational manner. First off, their willingness to broadcast demands and videos offered to them by terrorist organizations. You tell me, would any of the big American networks, A.B.C., N.B.C., C.B.S., or Fox turn down videotape from an organization holding American hostages?
Would any of them think twice about airing such an obvious ratings coup? If they are so appalled by them showing that video, and if showing that video would make you in cahoots with the terrorists, why do all of the media outlets here always pick up the Al-Jazeera feeds for re-broadcast? It's news, nothing more, nothing less.
Al-Jazeera is an Arab-language news station with international connections. They are also located in the Middle East, so they are the local station for most of these groups. What, you want them to mail the tapes to New York City? Have them held up in customs as a potential bomb scare? By that time they might have well as released the hostages for all the good it will do them.
Picture the scene. A small brown paper-wrapped package with Arabic writing scrawled all over it, return address somewhere in Iraq. What do you think would happen if that showed up in the American postal system? Mail delivery would stop for as long as it took them to test it for every potential hazard known to man and sniffer dog.
Is Al-Jazeera sympathetic to the insurgents in Iraq? I don't know; maybe they have sympathy for their cause, probably a lot of the Arab world does. Who likes to exchange a dictatorship for what's seen as another form of imposed rule? Don't forget that a good many of the countries in the Middle East still remember being under the thumb of either the British or the French. They have a much shorter history of independence than we do here in North American.