Not to be outdone by Mouafac Harb of Alhurra (see previous post), now here comes Al-Arabiya DC Bureau Chief Talal Al-Haj, another sympathetic, smooth-as-silk media voice engaged in the important work of shaping public opinion in Iraq and the greater Arab world, interviewed by Fox & Friends (rough transcript):
President Bush came across as very sincere . . . Al-Arabiya aired the interview first in English because with simultaneous translation you lose some of the spirit of the speaker . . . As many people are saying, the people of Iraq and of the world hold the U.S. to higher standards. These pictures do not live up to that image.
We totally agree with his point about losing "the spirit of the speaker" with simultaneous translation. E.D. Hill of Fox & Friends brings up the brouhaha over GW's not having used the words "I am sorry," asking Al-Haj whether that sentiment was conveyed in his remarks:
It would have gone down very well with our people if the President apologized. But maybe because he got legal advice, we don't know; nevertheless, his remarks were very much appreciated. Still, there's a long way to go.
Another reason not to say "I'm sorry": An apology could well be mistaken for a sign weakness in parts of the world where they don't necessarily believe -- as Neil Cavuto of FOXNews would put it -- that sitting in a circle and singing "Kumbaya" is the answer.
Note. Google search reveals Al-Haj is former director of Qatar’s Al-Jazeera. Al-Arabiya was set up in February of 2003 as an all-news channel to compete directly with Al-Jazeera.