What the Muslim World Is Watching

Apparently Muslims have learned a thing or two from America after all, according to Fouad Ajami, who complains that the Al Jazeera television network is guilty of "the Hollywoodization of news ... with an abandon that would make the Fox News Channel blush." Ajami notes that "Al Jazeera's reporters and editors have no qualms about challenging the wisdom of today's Arab rulers. Indeed, Al Jazeera has been rebuked by the governments of Libya and Tunisia for giving opposition leaders from those countries significant air time. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, for their part, have complained about Al Jazeera's extensive reporting on the misery of Iraqis living under sanctions. But the five-year-old station has refused to be reined in. The channel openly scorns the sycophantic tone of the state-run Arab media and the quiescence of the mainstream Arab press, both of which play down controversy and dissent." But is independence a good thing? Ajami worries that "Al Jazeera may be more independent -- but it is also more inflammatory. For the dark side of the pan-Arab worldview is an aggressive mix of anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism. ... It is, in the final analysis, a dangerous force. And it should treated as such by Washington." Okay...and in the interests of fairness, should Washington also lob missiles at the Fox News Channel?