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Thursday, September 08, 2005

AFP's and al-Jazeera's Lebanon coverage distorting truth?

OK-- check this out.

The statement issued by the Maronite bishops on Wednesday was reported by AFP as follows:

Lebanon's Maronite bishops called for the cloud of suspicion over President Emile Lahoud's head to be lifted... The arrests have "given critics a field day," the bishops said, adding that the presidency "should be surrounded by a halo of respect."

Al-Jazeera and other outlets picked it up from AFP, and before you could say "who is the stupid translator AFP employs" the bishops were reported as defending the president by all outlets that didn't bother to look at the original text.

Al-Jazeera's Arabic site went as far as headlining: Maronite Bishops Demand End to Lahoud Accusations. The strange thing is: I read the AFP Arabic text, and it should not have confused al-Jazeera into believing the bishops were defending Lahoud. The report also cites al-Jazeera as another source. What gives?

Naharnet has a better report on what the bishops actually said and meant.

This is not the first time AFP messes up in its coverage of Lebanon. When the four suspects were detained, it referred to their detention as arrests before the judge had actually issued the charges. As for al-Jazeera, I am not ready to accuse them of bias yet (maybe I should), though sometimes they sound too eager to discredit an international investigation that's unprecedented in the Arab world.

Yeah, I was dumbfounded when I read such diametrically opposed titles on articles.
For a moment, I thought that some stupid bishop had spoken out too soon before the Patriarch had made an announcement. That's because I never read the articles.
It seems pretty clear now.
Aljazeera has always had an activist attitude to covering lebanon (and Kuweit before it).
(you yourself noticed that in a previous post)
But after things become very clear to the world, like in kuweit, they will backpeddle
when these things happen, I have the bad habbit of just ignoring them. A bad case of intellectual lazinessm, I guess.... Or maybe, I'm just not too interested in the he said/she said news reporting tendencies that have been all too common lately.
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