July 26, 2004

Can someone explain this, please?

Why did organizers of the Democratic National Convention remove a banner with Aljazeera's logo from the Arabic broadcaster's skybox?

"We found that the banner disappeared for some reason," Aljazeera's Washington bureau chief Hafiz al-Mirazi said.

"We contacted the Democratic National Convention and the people who are organising the convention. And then they said it has been removed, maybe for lack of enough space or something like that, although they approved originally the sign and everything on it. And every time we get different answers."

"And finally, they said, 'Sorry, we cannot put it back." And it's the only news organisation sign that was taken," al-Mirazi pointed out.

Convention organizers, of course, say that Aljazeera's banner wasn't singled out for special treatment. Perhaps this is true, but we wonder whether the reason for the banner's removal has has anything to do with the fact that Aljazeera's logo is in Arabic script.

The capper is that the Aljazeera banner has been replaced by one saying 'Strong for America.'

Via Wampum.

Posted by Magpie at July 26, 2004 07:06 PM | US Politics | Technorati links |

This on the surface seems abhorrent, but this is politics and politics is all about appearance and perception. I wish this weren’t so but the reality is a banner with Arabic writing will not be a positive message to far too many Americans.

Posted by: Ron In Portland at July 26, 2004 07:53 PM

yeah, i understand that argument. and if having aljazeera's banner taken down is *in reality* the price that has to be paid to get dubya out, it's probably a small one to pay.

but as a lesbian, it reminds me of all those politicians who always used to say 'oh, i support you, but it would be the kiss of death to make that support public.' that response was based more on homophobia than on the real political dangers of public support for lesbians & gay men.

i suspect the DNC functionaries are making the same kind of decision here.

i imagine that aljazeera will be at the republican convention, too. it'll be interesting to see if their banner stays up ...

Posted by: Magpie at July 26, 2004 09:33 PM

Yes magpie

The same thing. You know the irony is while having Aljazeera's banner hanging would hurt the Democrats it might actually help the Republicans now since it won't hurt them and they can make a big deal about how "open" they are. Too bad, it was a no win for the Democrats.

Posted by: Ron In Portland at July 26, 2004 10:21 PM

I apologize for threading here on an off topic subject, but I was wondering whether stem cell research is being discussed this week at the convention.

I know that Congressman Peter Deutsch introduced a bill into congress that would lift the ban on federal funding for this form of in vitro research that President (hopefully not for too long) Bush introduced three years ago. If anyone is interested, visit the website below to urge President Bush to allow scientists to do thier job.


Posted by: stem cell at July 26, 2004 10:24 PM

Ron Reagan Jr, is due to speak at the convention on stem cell research.

Posted by: Ron In Portland at July 27, 2004 01:09 AM

I don't know if the AJ banner in the Fleet skybox space used roman or arabic scripts. Truth to tell, I assumed they went roman, since arabic is ... unnecessary. That's not quite right ... The AJ logo is co-branded in roman script in arabic script markets. There. That is it.

I'm glad you made it out from the other Portland (the one with the rose garden and a book store to die for). Please consider hopping the train up to the rhs Portland when you've had enough.

Posted by: Eric at July 27, 2004 03:51 AM

Magpie, it's interesting to hear you pining for the rights of those who would have you executed for your sins if given the opportunity to achieve the world they're fighting for.

I suppose you would've championed the 'rights' of the Nazis to hang a swastika at the 1939 Democratic convention. Free speech and all, ya know. Of course they would put a (yellow?) tag on you and put you in a concentration camp. Along with the Jews, gypsies, Polish Catholics, communists, mentally retarded, etc. Undesirables. To be worked to death as slave labor or executed outright.

These people aren't democrats. They're not interested in your freedom. They want women in burkas. They want people like you dead. D*E*A*D.

No right is absolute. We put reasonable limits on everything. I don't think the propaganda service for the islamic death cult ought even to be invited to cover our conventions. Filthy cheerleaders for demented, murdering religious zealots. Fascist propagandists. Period.

Posted by: Michael Hiteshew at July 27, 2004 07:43 AM

michael, it's interesting to hear you assume that all arabs and all muslims are the same. pretty damn racist and xenophobic if you ask me. and your apparent characerization of islam as a death cult makes about as much sense as a condemnation of christianity because of the activities of fundamentalist christians who commit violent acts against abortion providers ... as a lesbian, i'm far more worried about the danger i face from people who use fundamentalist interpretations of christian scripture to justify homophobic violence than i am of any danger from fundamentalist islamic terrorists.

and your comparision of the aljazeera logo to a nazi swastika only shows that you have a poor grip both on what happened in germany and europe because of the nazi regime in germany, but that you also don't care about cheapening the sacrifices of those who died to fight fascism. as horrible as the events of 9/11 were, and as noxious as the terrorist fundamentalism of al-qaeda is, any comparison between them and the nazi horrors is ill-informed and just plain stupid.

i've also spent years as a journalist. and, as a journalist, i have far more respect for the reporting skills and journalistic ethics of the people at aljazeera than i do for those at, say, fox news or the washington times. if fox news or cbs or the bbc can hang their logo at the democratic convention, then aljazeera's should be there, too.

Posted by: Magpie at July 27, 2004 09:20 AM

The same arguement, minus all the personal projection, and 1940s nostalgia Patriot Christian Hiteshaw manages to muster, was offered by a pragmatic commenter, VJ, on Wampum.

Neither Hiteshaw nor VJ shoud vote for John Kerry, since neither agree with him that American Muslims should not anticipate a continuation of the current regime's marriage of theology and policy.

Nice work on the Iraq convention piece (above). I think of Belgium, which is a six-way split. Flemmish vs Wallon, Labor vs Capital, Clerical vs Secular, plus Bruxelles/Brussel (capital) vs Flanders+Wallonia (provinces), plus Bruxelles/Brussel (capital) vs B/B (nato/eu). Quite dizzing. We haven't yet seen Labor vs Capital in Iraq (bound to under the free marketeers), though we've already seen blah (real) vs blah (us/nato stooge) already for at least one value of blah.

Someday there will be a comments system that not only keeps out spam, but keeps out mediocre idiots who want to make you (and me) their idiot.

Posted by: Eric at July 27, 2004 03:21 PM

Re: Aljazeera's banner being removed at DemCon. Questions: 1) Who controls which news orgs are allowed into the conventions? 2) Why would the RNC let Aljazeera cover RepCon?

Posted by: Bill from FGOR at July 27, 2004 05:22 PM

Ah, Bill, the issue is signage. Al, Jaz and Ira are all credentialed and on-site and generating copy. The beef is signage, and my money is that the RNC will have some happy-news "reporters" from a happy-news media outlet that is nominally "iraqi" for their big dog-and-pony in NYNY.

Its signage stupid. OK. If there is anything to defend, its a hall drapery choice.

Posted by: Eric at July 27, 2004 11:52 PM

There's a serious misperception about al-Jazeera. AJ is not really committed to any ideology; it's really a sort of journalistic UN, except that the topic is mainly Arab-interest news. Consequently, AJ articles include those from secular Arabs or from the European left (not normally a hotbed of fundamentalist Islam). Readers may recall that it came under attack from Saddam Hussein's government in the early days of the Iraqi invasion. It likewise has raised the hackles of Gulf emirates for criticism of human rights restriction.

I seldom say things like this, but if it were up to me, I'd pay them reparations for attacks on offices, reporters, etc.

Posted by: James R MacLean at July 30, 2004 06:40 AM