Al Jazeera’s Exclusive

Friday, January 09, 2009


The Palestinian point of view has long been a staple of Al Jazeera English’s coverage, as with its larger, Arabic-language parent. But there’s a wrinkle this time around. As one of the few news organizations inside of Gaza, AJE’s reporting is a major source of information for the entire world. Does this situation demand a different approach to reporting? Paul McKinney, executive producer for news at AJE, talks about his channel’s coverage of the current war.

Comments [13]

KevinM from Connecticut, US

I do want to thank Bob for pointing out how imbalanced the coverage of this conflict can sometimes be, and that the media ought to be much more careful about that than it is. It is hard to see either side of this conflict as less guilty than the other.

Jan. 17 2009 05:55 PM
soz from denton, tx


actually, irregardless IS a word. just not the best one to use.

Jan. 17 2009 04:02 PM

@Chris Gray: I guess in the past year I've been visiting this site and listening to the show I've missed the few times OTM have staff have left comments. Oh well.

Jan. 14 2009 05:57 PM
You, American from Brooklyn NY

Bob Garfield's intro. to this piece misspoke: But it’s also true that Israel has been an occupier of Gaza for 40 years.

The Gaza occupation began in 1967 and ended in 2005.
It would've been true to state: Israel WAS an occupier of Gaza for 38 years.

I haven't the resources to criticize the earlier Comments.

Jan. 13 2009 12:13 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven

Austin Chen, "irregardless" is not a word! Sorry, but I hear it all the time from people I do not feel comfortable correcting and you gave me the opportunity to vent.

Ansel, I have to admit that I have not followed the story back to the election night attack but that sure seems like the original provocation which ended the cease fire, but using the cease fire as cover to re-arm is no more a contribution to finding a way toward peace than a lightning raid using an international news press holiday (essentially what election night is) as cover. There's plenty of blame to spread around, here.

Bob, I agree with Ansel that an election, foolishly called for by even the big W, is no 'seizure of power' in any traditional sense, any more than Obama's election was. You seize power by coup d' etat or popular revolt, not by the ballot box.

Ansel, you must have missed the weeks when both Bob and Mr./Ms. (?) Rafsanjani (just last week) and, once, even the interviewee in a piece responded to comments on these pages. On the other hand, we shouldn't expect the staff to respond to every criticism; they're busy making the programs. We are responding at our leisure. When they are moved to respond, it has been to serious issues and it has been useful. I commend them for it.

Jan. 13 2009 11:32 AM
ansel from

Bob, it hurts your credibility in judging what kind of context to give the story when you omit and misstate important facts in the opening lines of your piece:

"For instance, it’s undeniably true to say that the Gaza War was triggered by Hamas’s rocket attacks into civilian areas in southern Israel. But it is equally true to say those rockets are in response to the crushing and often dehumanizing blockade Israel imposed on Gaza after Hamas seized power from the more moderate Fatah government."

Two big things are missing here, and from most U.S. media reports: Hamas diligently abided by a cease-fire from June until November of this year, during which time Israel continued to tighten the blockade on Gaza. The rocket fire began only after the Israeli military, on the night of the US election, launched a raid into the heart of Gaza and killed six militants. This was the original violation of the ceasefire which prompted Hamas to launch new rockets - Israel admits this on its own website. (Hamas should of course be condemned for responding with violence aimed at civilians.) So it is by no means 'undeniably true' that Hamas triggered this war. I think the record shows that Israel bears that responsibility.

Second, Hamas did not "seize power" from Fatah. Hamas was elected in 2006 by the people of Gaza. The following year Fatah militants attempted an armed coup in Gaza, they were routed, and Fatah was expelled from the strip.

It's really a shame that I've never seen an OTM producer, or Bob or Brooke, participate in this website's comment section since it was opened. I'm a recent journalism graduate and it's clear that simply having a comment section attached to articles does little to enrich old media outlets. They become successful when the media producers engage with and respond to viewers/listeners. So, what do y'all think?

Jan. 12 2009 04:58 PM
richard from telluride

The Chosen Victim - you must be a sock puppet. Please stop with the jibberish. Maybe you should up your meds and stop speaking in sophomoric code.

Jan. 11 2009 04:46 PM
The Chosen Victim from New Jersey

Thanks Gaddy for pointing out how petro-pimps and oil-sluts are involved in this neo-con crusade of the 21st century.

Zionist refused to recognize the very existence of Palestinians. Then they had to deal with PLO.
The Cabal then tried to sabotage the PLO, they got themselves HAMAS.
Now the holocaustee of Dachau are turned into halocaustor of GAZA, Sabra, Shitila, Deir Yessien. By trying to kill off HAMAS, what they will end up with is the end of two states farce, which zionists never intended to follow through. they have an aparthied state from the sea to the river. One wonders how long will the best propaganda machine since Goebbels' will go on given the sugar daddy has gone broke!

Jan. 11 2009 01:50 PM
Austin Chen from New York City

Aren't you too academic abour journalism but forgetting about what journalism is ultmiately about. You also underestimate the intelligence of your listener/viewer. Irregardless of who provoked who, the bottom line is that a lot of people in Gaza are suffering inhumnely under this cruel & bone-headed stratgey.
It is easy to be ringside jounalist discussing the merit and flaws of reporting methods. It is far harder to lives the life people in Gaza are enduring.
The government of Israeli should know more than anyone about this after the holocaust years. Aren't they punishing the Palestinian people for the sins of Hamas, the same way Hitler is punishing the whole Jewish people for his own twisted idea about Jews he had encountered.
I listen to your program all the time and love your reporting. This is the first time we are not on the same page.
best, Ausitn Chen MD

Jan. 11 2009 11:43 AM
Teresa Gaddy from Morristown, TN USA

Have you considered what this war is about??
British Gas, Israel to freeze Hamas out of $4b. gas deal
Israel and the British natural gas company BG Group Plc will move ahead with controversial plans to drill for natural gas in the Gaza Marine field, despite Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip last month.
The two sides have arrived at an "understanding" that will transfer funds intended for the Palestinian Authority's Palestinian Investment Fund into an international bank account ... however both Israel and BG say that until the PA is able to remove Hamas from power in the Gaza Strip, the money will be held in an international bank account,".
Once Israel and British Gas arrive at an agreement, the project will take three years to complete. "Right now there is nothing in the water, as soon as we can, we need to build a gas rig, get the drill ready and build the pipeline," said the BG official, adding that he hoped the two would finish the negotiations and sign an agreement within the next week.
I'm wondering if The Zionists decided to take and control this gas field as an income and that that is the reason they have attacked women and children in the Gaza Strip ... good christian people they are. - 21k

Jan. 11 2009 10:22 AM
Celine Grenier from Capitola, CA

I thought Bob's stream of things that are true about the violence between Gaza and Israel was brilliant. All the "and"s showed how complicated the situation is, how half the truth can seem to be the whole, and how an infinite chain of retaliations precludes any happy conclusion.

Jan. 11 2009 04:36 AM
richard from telluride

Bob, thanks for reminding your listeners that context is necessary to reach informed and considered opinions. And it is context that seems to be lacking in all the U.S. mainstream media "reporting". But, hey, when your business is propaganda, everything is "news". BTW, isn't this the same MSM that quickly imposed a black-out on the images of the carnage, the dead bodies, the suffering and the burning twin towers right after 911 because they thought it might insight more rage, hatred and revenge among its viewers? So, why then does the MSM show the carnage in Gaza 24/7 ? Can you say the word 'advocacy'? In fact, the MSM is so one-sided on this topic that it looks to a gentile like me that the MSM must be deeply anti-semitic for reason.

Jan. 11 2009 04:20 AM
Matt W. from Arlington, Virginia

Framing? Framing Bob? Really? "War on Gaza" versus "War on Hamas" is not merely framing, it is advocacy. OTM surely has interviewed enough opinion writers to distinguish between whole hearted editorializing and framing of the news.

In the final analysis however I find Mr. McKinney's assertion that there is propaganda on both sides to be particularly insightful. Both Hamas and Al Jazzera should refrain from publishing further propaganda by not parsing the difference between Hamas and Gaza and the difference between the IDF's attempts to reduce civilian casualties and Hama's actions aimed at increasing civilian casualties.

Jan. 10 2009 09:41 PM

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