Reporter Quits Al Jazeera English for Anti-American Bias

March 28th, 2008 12:33 PM
Al Jazeera English logo

The anti-American bias at Al Jazeera English became “so stereotypical, so reflexive” that former “Nightline” reporter David Marash quit his job with the Qatar-based channel, in part over that attitude. What was even more interesting was Marash's assertion that the anti-American attitude came more from the British administrators than the Arabs at AJE.

In a March 27 article, AP television writer David Bauder reported the situation that made the award-winning reporter quit (all bold mine):

Former "Nightline" reporter Dave Marash has quit Al-Jazeera English, saying Thursday his exit was due in part to an anti-American bias at a network that is little seen in this country.

Marash said he felt that attitude more from British administrators than Arabs at the Qatar-based network.

Marash was the highest-profile American TV personality hired when the English language affiliate to Al-Jazeera was started two years ago in an attempt to compete with CNN and the BBC. He said there was a "reflexive adversarial editorial stance" against Americans at Al-Jazeera English.

"Given the global feelings about the Bush administration, it's not surprising," Marash said.

But he found it "became so stereotypical, so reflexive" that he got angry.

Marash, who's being replaced by former CNN International host Shihab Rattansi, said he was the last American-accented anchor at the network, which broadcasts from Washington, London, Kuala Lumpur and Doha, Qatar. He said there are more Canadians than Americans working at the Washington office.

I doubt Marash is among the 6% of American journalists who are conservative, and he surely went to work for AJE knowing the complaints of bias against parent network Al Jazeera. He has defended the channel's editorial views in the past and is no stranger to criticizing the US. How bad did the anti-Americanism have to become for a reporter like Marsh to not only get angry but quit and go public?

When a typical US journalist even acknowledges the anti-American bias even exists in a newsroom, then you know it must be really bad at Al Jazeera English.

Marash's claim that the anti-Americanism at AJE is more from the British than the Arabs shouldn't be that surprising either. Many BBC employees have ended up at Al Jazeera and AJE. The British media are not generally known for positive portrayals of America and have a history of anti-US bias. It says quite a bit about the state of British journalism that it is totally believable that British administrators at Al Jazeera English were a greater source of anti-Americanism than the channel's Arab journalists.

Good for Marash for exposing this unacceptable newsroom behavior and editorial direction. I can't imagine this kind of attitude and institutional bias being accepted for any other country—other than Israel, of course.

Although highly unlikely, maybe this revelation will shine a light on the anti-US bias at Al Jazeera and Al Jazeera English.

Lynn contributes to NewsBusters and can be reached at tvisgoodforyou2-at-y a h o o-dot-c o m