by Patrick Appel

A reader writes:

Remember that at this point in the Bush presidency, the administration was vilifying al-Jazeera at every opportunity, their reporters were sometimes excluded from American briefings, and the mutual antagonism was so great that some believed the administration had planned attacks against the channel. All while the adminstration pursued a policy intended to democratize the Arab lands.

For all the talk about hashtags and Facebook, al-Jazeera is the primary vector of this democratic infection. Most Tunisians first learned of the early protests in Sidi Bouzid from al-Jazeera. Egyptians watched the overthrow of Ben Ali on al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera broadcast the Egyptian mass demonstrations to the Yemenis. Social media may be important pathways for secondary infection, but this is an al-Jazeera revolution.