The Nether-World

November 19, 2006

English al Jazeera gets off to a flying start

Filed under: Bliar, Iraq, Media — netherworld @ 6:38 pm

The new English language al Jazeera channel which was launched last week has gotten off to a very good start. In an interview with Tony Blair, Sir David Frost managed to tease out what has been interpreted by much of the media as an admission that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been pretty much of a disaster.

When Frost said the situation in Iraq had “so far been pretty much of a disaster”, Mr Blair replied “it has”, before adding quickly: “But you see what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq?

“It’s not difficult because of some accident in planning.

“It’s difficult because there’s a deliberate strategy – al-Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other – to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war.”

Well who would have suspected that Sir David Frost could have prompted such a controversial remark? What I find astonishing is that Blair, rather than accept any responsibility for the “disaster” in Iraq, is blaming the victims of his invasion for, erm… fighting back. Apparantly this possibility wasn’t considered in the original war plans. Amusingly, Downing Street is spinning like mad to distance itslf from Blair’s “ straightforward slip of the tongue“.

But Downing Street insisted his views had been misrepresented and that he had not made “some kind of admission”.


A spokesman said the prime minister often agreed with interviewers when he responded to their questions.


Downing Street insisted it was not Mr Blair’s view that the violence in Iraq had been a disaster.

A spokeswoman said: “He was simply acknowledging the question in a polite way before going on to explain his view.

“To portray it as some kind of admission is completely disingenuous.”

I’ll leave it to readers to decide just how much of a slip of the tongue it was.

For some more in-depth analysis check out A Big Stick and a Small Carrot and Obsolete.

Earlier, a former al Jazeera producer, Afshin Rattansi was interviewed by Martha MacCallum on Fox News’ “Live Desk” show. It seems that Martha’s unfounded statements that Al Jazeera broadcast video of terrorists beheading people backfired on her.

Interviewing someone who actually knows something about Al Jazeera was MacCallum’s first mistake. She should stick to interviewing people from the Christian Broadcasting Network, who have no facts at their disposal, only opinions that are the same as hers.

The first thing Rattansi did was point out that the English language Al Jazeera is being distributed in the United Kingdom by Fox News’ parent company. Probably not the way the boss’s memo said the interview should start.

And Fox calls al Jazeera a propaganda channel.

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