The Muslim Brotherhood isn’t the only entity to see its popular support bottom out in Egypt. Al Jazeera, the Qatari-financed international news network, has become a pariah in Cairo, triggering cheers among other journalists when its correspondents were booted from a news conference Monday.
Qatar, which finances Al Jazeera, is a strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted President Mohamed Morsi, and critics believe the network provided the Egyptian government with sympathetic coverage. According to a Russia Today report, a journalist demanded Al Jazeera’s crew be kicked out of the news conference, called to discussMonday’s violence that left more than 50 Morsi supporters dead.
Other reporters expressed agreement with the demand and chanted “Out! Out!” as the Al Jazeera crew left the room.
And that disenchantment infected the network’s own people, as 22 staff members quit Al Jazeera Monday in protest of its “biased coverage” of Egypt’s massive public backlash against the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi. Outgoing anchor Karem Mahmoud said favorable coverage for the Muslim Brotherhood was a formal network policy. “[T]here are instructions to us to telecast certain news,” he said.
“The management in Doha provokes sedition among the Egyptian people and has an agenda against Egypt and other Arab countries,” Mahmoud said.
This comes as the network prepares an ambitious plan to expand its audience in the United States, having bought out former Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV network, and expanding its reach to about 50 million American homes, the Washington Post reports.
The article cites Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) Executive Director Steven Stalinsky, who has observed a definite pro-Morsi spin on Al Jazeera. Pro-Morsi voices dominate among network pundits. And Al Jazeera officials and correspondents have Muslim Brotherhood ties, Stalinsky notes, and Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi hosts a popular talk show despite a long record showing he is “anti-Western, anti-Semitic and anti-American.”