Qatari media accused of ‘demonizing’ Trump

Updated 29 August 2018

Qatari media accused of ‘demonizing’ Trump

  • Al Jazeera has aired insulting comments about Trump across its various broadcast and online channels
  • Agenda is to 'stir hatred of the US within the Arab world'

DUBAI: Qatari media have been accused of “demonizing” Donald Trump, with the Al Jazeera network alone having broadcast more than 1,800 news items designed to discredit the US president, according to commentators and media monitoring research.

Al Jazeera — into which Qatar has pumped billions of dollars since it first went on air in 1996 — has allegedly aired insulting comments about Trump across its various broadcast and online channels and in multiple languages. 

The comments range from questioning Trump’s legitimacy in office and his mental health to accusing him of racism and praising his rivals. 

Other Qatar-backed channels have also been accused of bias against Trump and criticism of recent US efforts on the peace process, while Al Jazeera has been subject to wider allegations of stirring hatred. One cartoon published by a Qatari media outlet portrays Trump as a worm, while another shows him with his mouth stuffed full of money.

One recent Al Jazeera video broadcast appeared to promote Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney — and self-confessed “pitbull” — turned nemesis. Cohen, once one of Trump’s most loyal aides, pleaded guilty to charges of campaign finance violations, and directly implicated Trump in paying “hush money” to prevent two women speaking out about alleged extramarital affairs.

One Al Jazeera broadcast played on Cohen’s importance in the “world trend list,” in a report that also referenced activists’ demonstrations at a Trump hotel.

While Al Jazeera’s Arabic network has long been accused of stirring anti-American sentiment, its other networks have generally had a reputation for being more balanced.

Yet media-monitoring research into these platforms’ archives reveals numerous anti-Trump attacks by outlets such as Al Jazeera English and online video service AJ+. The latter, for example, last year featured a video highlighting what it suggested might be “the nine most racist moments of the Trump presidency.”

One Al Jazeera English broadcast from December 2017 questioned the president’s mental health after he slurred the pronunciation of a word in a speech.

“Many are questioning Trump’s ability to make sound decisions,” the Al Jazeera presenter said. The broadcast also drew a parallel between the episode and the case of former President Ronald Reagan, who showed bouts of confusion while in office and was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Salman Al-Ansari, the founder and president of the Saudi American Public Relations Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), said that one of Al Jazeera’s aims was to “demonize” the US leadership. 

“One of the cornerstones of the Al Jazeera network’s policy is to spread hatred against America in the Arab world,” he said. “Al Jazeera wants to keep the same policy of demonizing the US over and over, because that goes side-by-side with the agendas of the Qatari government.”

Part of this agenda is to stir hatred of the US within the Arab world, something that is consistent with the tactics used by the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Ansari said.

“It’s actually a dangerous message because the Qataris are actually hosting the Al Udeid Air Base, which is the biggest US air base in the region … they are playing a very dirty game in demonizing the United States and … making the people of the Arab world hate the US.

“This is a very dangerous brainwashing tactic by the Qatari regime that needs to be stopped and needs to be confronted decisively by the international community, specifically by the United States.”

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Riyadh-based Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar, said that the “antipathy” of Al Jazeera Arabic toward Trump stems from Qatar’s frustration with the US administration’s strong line against the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. 

“Since Mr. Trump correctly realized that the source of the problem in the region comes from Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar has been upset because it is a benefactor of the Muslim Brotherhood and is also an ally of Iran,” Al-Shehri said.

“I am not surprised by Al Jazeera’s insidious campaign against Mr. Trump. Ever since Mr. Trump pulled the plug on the Iran nuclear deal, the anti-Trump campaign has become shriller on Al Jazeera.”


Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry inaugurates Arab News Pakistan bureau

Updated 16 February 2019

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry inaugurates Arab News Pakistan bureau

  • New office will be hub for Asian operation of paper and builds on relationship with community and its digital generation
  • Arab News launched its online Pakistan edition in February last year as part of its global digital expansion plans

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Minister of Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has officially inaugurated Arab News Pakistan bureau in the country’s capital.

Chaudhry was the chief guest at the occasion and several prominent Pakistani media personalities and Arab News staff also attended the launch ceremony.

Standing side by side with Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas, who is in Pakistan as part of the media delegation accompanying the royal visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Arab News Asia Bureau Chief Baker Atyani, Chaudhry cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the office.

“I am very happy for two reasons: The perception was building that the newspapers were not coming (to Pakistan), so once an international publication like Arab News (has come here) it certainly gives us a huge boost.”

Chaudhry described how the relationship between the nations was becoming stronger, particularly with the growth of Pakistan’s voice in the Middle East.

‘Secondly, I think this is an era where Pakistan is playing a very important role in the Middle East and to have such a major Middle Eastern publication coming to Pakistan itself shows the kind of importance Pakistan has of the Middle East and vice versa, we are very happy to have you here.’

Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas thanked the Pakistani information minister for his presence at the inauguration and for the efforts of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to help facilitate the newspaper’s operations in Islamabad. 

“The inauguration of our Islamabad bureau a year after the launch of our local digital edition is an indicator of our commitment to Pakistan and our determination to help create a better understanding of Saudi Arabia and the region,” said Abbas. 

“Ever since its establishment in 1975, Arab News has had a special relationship with the massive and incredibly loyal Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia. Today we inaugurate this bureau in Islamabad to ensure a continued connection with the community and establish a relationship with a new more digital and highly connected generation,” he added. 

Asia Bureau Chief Baker Atyani said that the new office would be a hub not only for the Arab News Pakistan edition but also for the entire Asian operation of the paper. “We currently have reporters across Pakistan as well as nine other Asian countries and with the help, hard work and dedication of our team at the Islamabad bureau we hope not only to better manage our operation but to grow further in Asia as well.” 

Arab News launched its online Pakistan edition in February last year as part of its global digital expansion plans. The project is the first of many new international editions planned by the Riyadh-based newspaper. 

Arab News is part of the regional publishing giant Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG).