What a difference a revolution can make.
Members of the Obama administration are flocking to appear on Al Jazeera, one of the most influential media sources in the Arab world.
US officials are desperate to have their spin of events in the Middle East included as millions tune in to the network’s coverage of the uprising in Egypt.
More than a dozen times in recent days, US State Department officials, including chief spokesman Philip J. Crowley and Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, have appeared on the network. The turn around is the result of a State Department policy review completed in December.
“If we are not in the conversation, people will be speaking for us or about us,” Dana Shell Smith, deputy assistant secretary for international media engagement, told the Los Angeles Times. “We need to make sure we are out there speaking for ourselves.”
Shell Smith’s office was created by the Obama administration last year to begin to reach out to international media.
“The State Department has assigned staff in media hubs such as London, Dubai and Brussels to field requests from Al Jazeera and other Arabic-language media,” the Times noted.
“Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all have appeared on the network’s Arabic and English channels in the last year,” the paper added.
The White House has also turned to the network as a primary source of information about protests in the region.
The embrace is a big change from the days when the Bush administration showed open hostility towards the network.
In 2001, the US fired missiles at Al Jazeera’s office in Kabul. “The building we struck was a known Al Qaeda facility in central Kabul,” US Assistant Secretary of Defense Victoria Clarke later said.
Al Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayyoub was killed when US bombs hit the network’s Baghdad offices in 2003. “This coalition does not target journalists,” Brigadier General Vincent K. Brooks insisted. “We don’t know every place journalists are operating on the battlefield. It’s a dangerous place, indeed.”
A furious Donald Rumsfeld blasted the network’s 2004 coverage of civilian casualties in Fallujah as “vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.”
That same year, US President George W. Bush reportedly told British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he wanted to bomb Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Qatar, a US ally.
“There’s no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn’t want him to do it,” a source told the Daily Mirror.
“He made clear he wanted to bomb Al Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere.”
Cop says Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot following Trump’s racist targeting of The Squad
Following racist attacks on members of The Squad by President Donald Trump and his supporters, a police officer in Louisiana reportedly said that one of the congresswomen of color should be shot.
Trump has been lashing out at the four first-term congresswomen, who include Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
"A Gretna police officer posted a comment on his Facebook page this past week calling U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a 'vile idiot' who 'needs a round, and I don't mean the kind she used to serve,'" NOLA reported Saturday.
Internet piles on ABC reporter for lavishing praise on Trump for allowing press to ask questions
ABC News reporter Kyra Phillips on Saturday heaped praise on President Donald Trump for his treatment of the press.
Despite the White House no longer holding daily press briefings, Phillips praised the "access" she receives from the administration.
"No matter what your politics are, I have to say that I appreciate the access ?Trump? gives us on a regular basis and the ability to ask any question," she said.
She tagged Stephanie Grisham in her tweet, who is Trump's latest press secretary. She also tagged her husband, John Roberts, who does not work in the White House, but works for Fox News.
‘Trump wants to start a race war’: Ex-advisor alleges his campaign planned ‘Send her Back’ chants
President Donald Trump is attempting to start a race war in America, a long-time advisor declared on MSNBC on Saturday evening.
Omarosa Manigault Newman was interviewed by Donny Deutsch on "Saturday Night Politics."
"You said could it happen here? It is happening here," Newman told Deutsch.
"As a woman of color watching him attack those four women, it made it very clear that Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy," she said.
"And everyone has been kind of tiptoeing what this actually is. Donald Trump wants to start a race war in this country and it started at that rally — it started with the tweets," she said.