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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Al Jazeera, Fox log biggest audience jumps during Egypt crisis

AlJazeera Al Jazeera English and Fox News appear to be the winners in terms of audience expansion during the recent crisis in Egypt. Other news  outlets that usually gain in such big international crises, like CNN, got a more modest bump as they covered the events leading to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak's government.

In the week (ending Feb. 6) before Mubarak stepped down, Al logged 727,000 unique visitors in the United States, according to the Internet tracking outlet That's about five times more readers (and viewers, given the site's streaming video) than the cable outlet had in a similar week a year earlier, when it logged 154,000 uniques.

Readers/viewers of the site praised the immediacy it brought to the action in Tahrir Square in Cairo and its ability to sample opinions from the crowd, even when the security situation made it too dangerous for some Western-based news operations to be out among the crowds, which included a particularly violent element supporting the regime.

Fox News also got a bump in its prime-time ratings, with an average of nearly 2.4 million viewers watching from 8 to 11 p.m. the week ending Sunday, Feb. 13. (Mubarak resigned Feb. 11.) During a week in early January before the crisis, by way of comparison, Fox averaged a little under 2 million viewers during the same time slots.

Second-place cable news outlet MSNBC, by contrast, saw its audience decline slightly in the same comparison--from 985,000 to 929,000. And CNN got a slight boost--from 712,000 to 739,000. CNN has traditionally seen bigger increases in viewership during big breaking news events.

It's hard to compare those figures to the three broadcast networks--NBC, ABC and CBS--which draw the biggest audiences for any single regular news show. All three of the network evening news programs appeared to be down fractionally during the week the Egypt crisis culminated, compared to a week in early January.

Regular nightly leader NBC Nightly News, with Brian Williams, drew just under 10 million viewers on average for the week ending Feb. 13. (During the week ending Jan 16, for comparison, the Williams-anchored news had drawn 10.5 million a night.) The ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer hit 8.8 million people that same week (down from the January week of more than 9.1 million) and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric brought in 6.4 million (compared to more than 7.1 in the earlier week.)

--James Rainey


Photo: The logo of Qatar-based Al Jazeera satellite news channel is seen in Doha. The channel was launched 15 years ago by the Gulf Arab state's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani with the goal of providing the sort of independent news that the region's state-run broadcasters had long ignored. Al Jazeera first grasped the enormity of the Tunisia uprising and its implications for the region, which soon spread to Egypt and other countries. Credit: Fadi Al-Assaad /  REUTERS





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I don't know which TV station is worse to watch; Al-Jizz-era, or Fox......Actually I think I would rather watch Al-Jizz-era over Glen Beck or any of those right wing nut Douches any day

Al-Jazeera TV has a blatant pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias, primarily because of the affiliation of the Director-General of Al-Jazeera and up to ONE-HALF of their staff:

"The director-general of the network, Wadah Khanfar, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, where he was arrested. Today he is one of the closest advisers of the emir. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is also a member of the inner circle of the emir and is known to work closely with Khanfar. Both support Hamas. Arab researchers have succeeded in uncovering a number of other Brothers working for the network, but it is surmised that there are many more. The general consensus is that Qaradawi is the visible tip of the iceberg.

In an article published in 2003 in the London-based Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat, Maamun Fendi, a well-known Egyptian liberal thinker today living in the US, wrote that some 50 percent of the network's personnel belong to the Muslim Brotherhood. He added that their influence in Qatar was rising both in the network and among government circles. According to him, the Brotherhood had intended to hold its world summit in Qatar in 2003 but had to scuttle its plan when it became known."

Of course, Al-Jazeera does a great job masquerading that bias (far more on the ENGLISH feed than on the Arabic for obvious reasons), but if you watch closely enough, it is clearly there.

All US media outlets have a blatant pro-Zionist bias. I'll happily watch Al-Jazeera to counter that bias.

BTW, quoting Israel-first websites like "militantislammonitor" isn't exactly getting information from unbiased sources either.

Are liberals still sad that Keith Oberman is gone?

I didn't realize Al Jazeera and Fox News were separate entities.


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