This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← Ardi proves Darwin wrong!!

PERSON's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by PERSON

"13. Comment #421242 by Steven Mading on October 3, 2009 at 8:26 am
I've heard that one common complaint about Al-Jazeera is that they present a false face to westerners by making sure that the English language version of their content is kept much more balanced and reasonable than the Arabic language version. Being someone who does not know Arabic, I can't verify this claim. Is this article a typical instance of this trend, or is there no trend and this article is an exception?"
Whatever is the case, I'm certain there are people who like to paint Al Jazeera as a secretly or even openly subversive against freedom, democracy, motherhood, apple pie, and so on. As for CNN, they wouldn't publish something like this because it would be objectionable to too many people, but they do employ Lou Dobbs.

One way to begin to test for tendencies to inaccuracy (and I'm sure they are present, though they do not automatically indicate an agenda on the part of reporters and/or the organisation) would be to pick, say, 20 articles at random and translate them.

It's also difficult to be sure that the reporter isn't just ignorant, or perhaps lazy, as opposed to trying to deceive explicitly. This is how most media operates, in the UK, the US and everywhere else. There are strict deadlines, pressure to produce copy quickly and a requirement to be able to get on with people who will tell you stuff rather than know it yourself. They may well just be repeating what they've seen in other, more ideological media. Despite their considerable neutrality relative to US media, the BBC often do that, picking up themes from e.g. the Telegraph or the Mail.

When I say the reporter is ignorant, I mean that they may think (as is common in the west, never mind the gulf states) that Darwinism states that people descended from monkeys or apes as they are today. I've often heard Richard say that we're a kind of ape, which I'm sure some will hear as meaning we're descended from apes. When there's a shortage of time to be clear, I'd think even he is misunderstood because of the force of conventional "wisdom".

This all assumes, however, that the Arabic version was written separately, not translated. Does someone have a link to the English version? It was mentioned in the text above but curiously omitted. If they are very different, that is likely what happened.

I agree it would be good to draft a response if we could find someone to translate it for us.

Sat, 03 Oct 2009 13:06:00 UTC | #403087