Accuracy in Media

Al-Jazeera is no friend of America, the American people, or the American government. In fact, since 9/11 Al Jazeera has been more than willing to echo Osama bin Laden’s talking points, and even provide him face-time at a moments notice.  Al-Jazeera happily displays footage of terrorists sniping at American soldiers and insurgents detonating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on military convoys.  However, Al-Jazeera’s support for terrorists does not stop with propaganda, but also includes logistical information.  Taysir Allouni, a reporter for Al-Jazeera, was found guilty by Spanish courts for providing support to members of al-Qaeda.  Also, several Al-Jazeera employees are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay as enemy combatants.  

With the controversy that surrounds Al-Jazeera one could certainly assume that if their news division attempted to expand into the American market they would be quickly prohibited.  However, recent events prove otherwise.  Al-Jazeera recently launched Al-Jazeera International, attempting to sneak its way into American households, while garnering little or no attention from Congress or the President.  In October, Accuracy in Media’s senior editor, Cliff Kincaid, spoke on Capitol Hill to a capacity crowd, which included a camera-crew from Al-Jazeera, about the threat of Al-Jazeera and the dangers of allowing them to enter the American market.

Al-Jazeera International is well-funded.  In fact, Kincaid insists, “They have deep pockets; they’re financed by the emir of Qatar who has announced they intend to put $1 billion into the Al-Jazeera International.”  In addition, American news networks support Al-Jazeera by supplying them with funds in exchange for provocative hostage tapes.  Indeed, the relationship between American networks and Al-Jazeera is so refined that former ABC Nightline reporter Dave Marash and former CNN journalist Riz Khan have both joined the Al-Jazeera International team.

Unfortunately, what’s more disturbing is the moral support Al-Jazeera receives from prominent Washington politicians. “When Senator Dick Durbin compared the actions of U.S. soldiers at Guantanamo Bay to those of Nazis,” said Kincaid, “Al-Jazeera featured the remarks.  When Congressman John Murtha called for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Al-Jazeera highlighted those remarks.”  Furthermore, the sister of Nick Rahall (D-WV), the most senior Arab-American in Congress, manages the Rahall Consulting Group, which lobbies for Qatar, consequently lobbying for Al-Jazeera International.  Rahall’s sister makes over $15 thousand per month representing Qatar, and Rahall has benefited from his sister’s relationship with Qatar.  Since 2000, Rahall ranks 31st among members of Congress that take privately funded trips.  These trips were sponsored by the Arab-American Institute, the University of Qatar, and government of Qatar.

Still, Al-Jazeera International claims that this new division will be substantially different than the Arabic Al-Jazeera.  However, the personnel between the two overlap in significant positions, which Kincaid calls critical: “The director general of Al-Jazeera International?was the managing director for the Arabic Al-Jazeera.  The deputy managing director of news and programs at Al-Jazeera International?served as editor and chief at the Arabic Al-Jazeera.”  In fact, Al-Jazeera International and the Arabic Al-Jazeera share offices in Washington, which allows for easy flow of personnel.   This means that the management that supervises Al-Jazeera International is also responsible for motivating terrorists to kill Americans, and is the same team that was banned from Iraq by the newly formed government for encouraging devastation in the war-torn country.

America has a sense of what they can expect from Al-Jazeera International, as Al-Jazeera currently runs in British and Canadian cable markets.  According to Kincaid, “When Al-Jazeera sought entry into the Canadian media market it was accused of providing a platform for hate-mongers, terrorists, anti-Semitism, and even Holocaust denial.”  On these channels commentators have described Jews as apes and pigs, urged new Holocausts, and have encouraged suicide bombers.  These same words from Al-Jazeera International could work to influence English-speaking Muslims, and “may also find a big audience is Asia, where many more people speak English than Arabic.”

The American people do not want Al-Jazeera International in their homes or businesses.  In fact, a recent poll revealed that 53 percent of people oppose Al-Jazeera International, while only 29 percent support the channel.  Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has not responded quickly enough to the rise of Al-Jazeera International, and it was recently reported that the network will launch on November 15, though at this point there are no U.S. cable companies that have announced plans to carry it. When asked to comment on the new Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar, Director General of the Al-Jazeera Network, stated ominously, “The new channel will provide the same ground-breaking news and impartial and balanced journalism to the English speaking world.”  Indeed, Khanfar sardonically supports Kincaid’s assertions that Al-Jazeera International and the Arabic Al-Jazeera are entirely similar.  Kincaid warns that this issue is of the utmost importance, and if Al-Jazeera makes waves on American cable, then the possibility of suicide bombers in America could lurk close behind.

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