Censorship, American Style

A recent essay by Fouad Ajami in the New York Times Magazine described Al Jazeera, the 24-hour Arab satellite channel, as "irresponsible," "inflammatory," "anti-American" and "anti-Israel." Some people disagree with this assessment, including MSNBC correspondent Michael Moran. Even Ajami, however, acknowledges that Al Jazeera is the only channel in the region that "openly scorns the sycophantic tone of the state-run Arab media and the quiescence of the mainstream Arab press." Should the United States be calling on Arab dictators to censor it? According to the New York Times, President Bush has been "sending the message behind the scenes with Arab governments that they need to control their media," including Al Jazeera in particular.