An uneasy relationship

Reports that President George Bush wanted to bomb the headquarters of Aljazeera in Qatar have surfaced after years of uneasy relations between Washington and the broadcaster. Here are some remarks, all on the record, made by figures in the US administration about Aljazeera.

“We would certainly like to see them (Aljazeera) tone down the rhetoric.”

– Richard Boucher, US State Department spokesman, daily briefing in October 2001 in the aftermath of the attacks on Washington and New York

“We know that Aljazeera has a pattern of playing Taliban propaganda over, and over, and over again. And they have a pattern of not making judgments about the accuracy of the propaganda. Is that unhelpful to us? You bet.”

– Donald Rumsfeld, US secretary of defence, in remarks to the press in October 2001 about the war in Afghanistan. Aljazeera’s office in Kabul was hit by a US air attack in November 2001

“The suggestion that somehow the United States would have deliberately attacked journalists is obviously totally false… You’d have to be an idiot to believe that.”

– Dick Cheney, US vice-president, in an address to the American Society of News Editors, April 2003, asked about American missile and shell strikes on premises used by Aljazeera and other Arab media organisations

“I don’t think anybody has suggested the shutting down of Aljazeera. I do think people have suggested that it would be a good thing if the reporting were accurate on Aljazeera, and if it were not slanted in ways that appears to be, at times, just purely inaccurate. And so that’s been the issue with Aljazeera.”

– Press briefing by Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser, 7 June 2004

“We’ve expressed concern about Aljazeera’s coverage and we continue to have some concerns that we’ve expressed.”

– Scott McClellan, White House press secretary, daily briefing, 17 November 2004

“If you lived in Aljazeera’s area … and you heard every day the pounding that the United States takes from a television network like that, you’d begin to think very poorly of the United States, too.”

– Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, in BBC interview with Sir David Frost, June 2005

Source : Al Jazeera

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