"Does the Path to Middle East Peace Stop in Doha?"

Posted: 25 Feb 2010   Print   Send a link
"For Americans seeking to understand Al Jazeera’s role in shaping public opinion, it is perhaps useful to compare the channel to Fox News or MSNBC. Al Jazeera largely reports the facts, but in choosing which stories to highlight and which guests to invite on regularly, it betrays a certain political perspective. Of course, whereas Fox News and MSNBC operate in a highly competitive media environment, Al Jazeera is the main source of news for a majority of Palestinians and is the most popular television channel in the Arab world. This maximizes its influence. Indeed, Al Jazeera’s dominance of the Arab media makes it a political force unto itself. In no place is this more true than in the Palestinian arena, where it focuses much of its news coverage and where its market share is particularly strong. In the years following the signing of the historic Oslo Accords, Hamas tried to derail the peace by sending suicide bombers into Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in order to undercut popular faith in the agreement. In today’s environment, such extremes may be unnecessary. If Al Jazeera’s coverage of a future accord is sufficiently critical, the resulting Palestinian skepticism could be enough to doom any peace agreement before it even has a chance to succeed." Noah Bonsey and Jeb Koogler, Columbia Journalism Review, 16 February 2010.