Accuracy in Media

Brent Bozell wrote an excellent column on the launch of Al-Jazeera English, making the point that the liberals who always decry U.S. government-funded “propaganda,” mostly in the form of news releases, don’t mind the Arab government-funded propaganda on this new channel. In fact, many liberal publications have welcomed the prospect of having this propaganda piped directly into American living rooms.

This double standard demonstrates the anti-American bias that liberals in the media share with Al-Jazeera. It also demonstrates liberal hypocrisy.

Bozell, head of the Media Research Center, drew attention to some strange comments by one of Al-Jazeera English’s stars, Riz Khan, who appeared on CNN and refused to call Hamas or Hezbollah terrorist organizations. “I am not one to judge,” Khan said. Well, we should judge because our lives depend on it.

We looked up these comments, which were uttered on CNN on November 16, when special correspondent Frank Sesno examined the new channel. One gets the impression that Khan would also decline to say whether al Qaeda is a terrorist group. Here’s the actual exchange:

“Sesno: A judgment call lurks at every turn. For example, take use of the word ‘terrorist.’ (on camera): Is Hamas a terrorist organization?

“Khan: I’m not one to judge.

“Sesno: Is Hezbollah a terrorist organization?

“Khan: Same thing, you know, I’m not going to judge.”

“The reviews [of the channel] so far are mostly kind,” Sesno noted. He quoted the New York Times as saying the new network “points to where East and West actually meet.” He noted that USA Today ran an editorial welcoming Al-Jazeera English and insisting that “in a globalized world, the broader the conversation and greater the competition for credibility, the better.”

Unfortunately, neither Sesno, the Times nor USA Today mentioned AIM’s critical efforts to keep the channel out of the U.S. media market, including a poll finding that Americans by an overwhelming margin do not want the channel to be transmitted into their living rooms.

The American face of the channel, Dave Marash, formerly of ABC’s Nightline, was quoted as saying, “We will live or die by the accuracy and the depth of our reporting. And I’m betting on us.”

He has already lost his bet, which he should pay in Arab oil petro-dollars. As we noted in a column, by the time the channel had been broadcasting for only a week or so, it had aired a pro-terrorist video and had distorted the comments of British Prime Minister Tony Blair in an interview with David Frost.

Dante Chinni of the misnamed Project for Excellence in Journalism claimed to have monitored Al-Jazeera English for five hours on its first weekend on the air. He noted, in passing, that “There was a report on Iraq that included footage of the ‘Islamic Army in Iraq’ going through drills and graduating a group of new soldiers.” The story glamorized the terrorists and was propaganda from start to finish. Read the story for yourself. 

He failed to point out that this is a brutal terrorist organization that kills Americans and anyone perceived to be cooperating with the new democratic government of Iraq. It is the same group that provided the footage to CNN of terrorist snipers shooting and killing American soldiers.

His conclusion was that “The channel seems likely to offer more in-depth coverage of the Middle East than anything else most Americans are going to see.”

No, the conclusion is that Al-Jazeera English is like Al-Jazeera Arabic in that it serves as a mouthpiece for terrorists.

Bozell’s point is valid: American journalists seem unable to recognize enemy propaganda even when it hits them in the face. They wipe it off, take a taste, and ask for more.

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