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.”


Facebook accused of discrimination with job ad targeting

Updated 19 September 2018

Facebook accused of discrimination with job ad targeting

  • It charges that job ads on Facebook targeted male users only
  • Facebook lets advertisers target ads on the basis of gender and age, which is against the law in America

WASHINGTON: A complaint has been filed with the US government accusing Facebook and 10 other companies of using the platform’s job ad targeting system to discriminate on the basis of gender.
The complaint was announced Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union, a union called the Communications Workers of America and a labor law firm, on behalf of three female job seekers and a group of “thousands” of members represented by the union.
It charges that job ads on Facebook targeted male users only. It also alleges that most of the listings were for jobs in male-dominated fields, so women and non-binary users were excluded from seeing these ads.
Facebook lets advertisers target ads on the basis of gender and age, which is against the law in America, the complaint reads.
“I shouldn’t be shut out of the chance to hear about a job opportunity just because I am a woman,” said Bobbi Spees, one of the three women named in the complaint.
Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said in a statement to CNNMoney that there is no place for discrimination on Facebook.
“It’s strictly prohibited in our policies, and over the past year we’ve strengthened our systems to further protect against misuse,” Osborne said.
Facebook will defend itself once it has reviewed the complaint, he added.
The ACLU noted that online platforms such as Facebook are generally not liable for content published by others.
“But in this case, Facebook is doing much more than merely publishing content created by others,” the advocacy group argued.
“It has built the architecture for this discriminatory marketing framework, enabled and encouraged advertisers to use it, and delivered the gender-based ads according to employers’ sex-based preferences.”
Last month the US Department of Housing and Urban Development accused Facebook of breaking the law by letting landlords and home sellers use its ad-targeting system to discriminate against potential buyers or tenants.
Facebook responded by cutting more than 5,000 ad-targeting options to prevent advertisers from discriminating on the basis of traits such as religion or race.