Politics
Ehab Al Shihabi, interim CEO for Al-Jazeera America, listens during an interview overlooking the newsroom, after the network

Media Matters still hearts Al-Jazeera

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Jamie Weinstein
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      Jamie Weinstein

      Jamie Weinstein is Senior Editor of The Daily Caller. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, the New York Daily News and The Washington Examiner, among many other publications. He also worked as the Collegiate Network Journalism Fellow at Roll Call Newspaper and is the winner of the 2011 "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" contest. A regular on Fox News and other cable news outlets, Weinstein received a master’s degree in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Cornell University in 2006. He is the author of the political satire, "The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer."

Media Matters for America doesn’t often find much time in its busy schedule of incessantly attacking Fox News to praise other news outlets, so it is noteworthy that it took a moment Wednesday to give a slobbering electronic kiss to Al-Jazeera.

“During its first day on the air, Al Jazeera America gave climate change nearly half as much coverage as network news programs did during the year 2012, all while avoiding common pitfalls like providing false balance to those that deny the science and leaving the crisis’ manmade origins ambiguous,” Media Matters’ Max Greenberg wrote of Al-Jazeera’s latest creation, which launched Tuesday.

“The fledgling network’s first climate report comprised the entirety of Tuesday’s edition of Inside Story, a half-hour news discussion program that promises to ‘take an in-depth look at the story behind the headlines.’ Indeed, the inaugural show featured a meaningful dialogue on — in guest Heidi Cullen’s words — ‘coming to terms with the fact that we’re all part of the problem … [and] the solution’ to manmade global warming, and discussed consequences like extreme weather and rising sea levels.”

“Bottom line: this was a great start,” Greenberg concluded.

This is not the first time Media Matters has praised or been linked to the Qatar-based media network, whose Arabic channel’s top show features a Holocaust-praising imam.

As The Daily Caller previously reported, Media Matters Action Network senior fellow MJ Rosenberg, who has since left the organization, wrote a column that regularly appeared on Al-Jazeera’s website. Rosenberg also represented Media Matters at an Al-Jazeera-hosted forum in Doha, Qatar, in 2010 in which he praised the network as “mainstream” while bashing Fox News. He further suggested that the U.S. government intentionally bombed an Al-Jazeera bureau and expressed satisfaction that President Obama was treating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu poorly.

“Bush has been replaced by Obama,” Rosenberg said at the first Al-Jazeera “Unplugged” forum on social media at the Sheraton Hotel & Resort in Doha on May 22, 2010, while explaining he had been invited to the conference in Washington earlier that year by the then-director general of Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar. ”Yes, I applaud too. Which means people from the United States government go on Al-Jazeera. This is very significant. Under the Bush administration, Al-Jazeera was boycotted by the United — it was worse than boycotted: As you well know, it was bombed by orders of the United States government.”

According to Daily Caller sources, Khanfar met with Media Matters’ top two officials, David Brock and Eric Burns, at the organization’s Washington office in 2010.