Al Jazeera’s slow descent began with the advent of the Syrian civil war, when it blatantly abandoned journalistic standards in favor of a specific narrative. Since then, I have recorded various instances of Al Jazeera’s biased coverage, some of which have veered into the comical — like when live reporters in man-on-the-street interviews hastily snatch their microphones back from Egyptians who dare to criticize Morsy or praise Mubarak on camera.
Qatar, Al Jazeera’s home country and financial patron, gave billions of dollars in aid to Morsy’s government in the past year, and has been accused of supporting regional Islamist movements, much to the chagrin of neighboring Arab states. At the height of the Egyptian uprising against the Brotherhood on June 30, Al Jazeera disregarded the protests and instead aired an interview with a Syrian dissident — as well as soccer training updates. Al Jazeera Live Egypt, a 24/7 news affiliate of the Qatari media giant, did cover the protests, but it’s only available in Egypt. Al Jazeera Live Egypt, moreover, is equally biased in favor of the Brotherhood — so much so that Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad directed his followers on Twitter to tune in following the fatal shooting of 51 Morsy supporters by the army on Monday.
Al Jazeera’s bias is often subtle, as when its Cairo bureau chief announced on Morsy’s second day in office that the Rahaf border crossing with Gaza has been “turned upside down” — a considerable overstatement. At other times it can by glaring, like in June 2012, when it aired a report claiming that Morsy deserved a military salute simply because his wife asked to be called “Um Ahmed” instead of the first lady. This week, it didn’t win any sympathy from non-Brotherhood Egyptians with a controversial report headlined “US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists,” which declined to mention that many of the civil society organizations it cited received funds even during the Mubarak era.
To Al Jazeera’s twisted coverage of events, Egyptians reacted with rage.