Although Al Jazeera English is not available on most U.S. cable providers, the network has emerged as a major source of information for Americans interested in what’s happening in Egypt—they're accessing the network on the Web, and live streaming of it has surged over the past week. On Friday Leonard spoke with Al Jazeera English's White House correspondent, Patty Culhane about Al Jazeera's ongoing coverage of events in Egypt.
Leonard asked her if she thinks most Americans understand the Middle East. She said:
“There’s been so much pressure domestically to look at our own economy and our own debt. The foreign policy has really taken a back seat. I’m in a lot of ways surprised by that, because you would have thought that after September 11, and the fact that we are engaged in two wars, that the country would have become more curious about what’s happening not just about the Middle East but in the entire rest of the world, and really taken a look at our foreign policy. But talking to people just since the beginning of the Egyptian crisis, I’ve been amazed at how many don’t realize that we do support Mubarak and we have known about his human rights record but that we’ve chosen to prop up his government in favor of stability over human rights. I think it’s surprising that so many Americans don’t realize what the American foreign policy has been.”
When Leonard asked her if she thinks Al Jazeera has emerged as a media outlet more Americans should be paying attention to, she said:
“I think it’s wonderful now that people are starting to say, ‘I want to see Al Jazeera.’ I do think that there is a need and a desire from the American public to have good news. I think they want to see what’s really happening. They don’t—I believe this to my core—don’t care what’s happening with Lindsey Lohan. I really think that most Americans would rather find out what’s happening in China.”
You can listen to the interview here.