When I appeared on Neil Cavuto’s show on August 7 to talk about Arab media bias against Israel, I couldn’t resist noting that his own program had featured a one-sided report by correspondent Jonathan Hunt. Reporting from Lebanon, Hunt focused on alleged civilian casualties from Israeli air raids. The images were of devastation and destruction and black smoke billowing from the city of Beirut. By contrast, the Israeli point of view, in terms of images, was a grainy Israeli military video of a Hezbollah drone that was reportedly shot down. I asked Cavuto who won the propaganda war in that comparison and he said that I had a point.
I wasn’t the first to notice the slant. I was contacted by other Fox News watchers, one of whom said, “I applauded you on the Neil Cavuto show today when you pointed out the biased, one-sided, anti-Israeli coverage from?Jonathan Hunt. I’ve complained to Roger Ailes about Hunt turning Fox News into Al Jazeera West and hope you will do the same.”
Israel lost the propaganda war because Hezbollah and Hamas, the terrorist groups that started the war, dominated the global debate through Al-Jazeera and made themselves into the victims. Israel itself committed a major error years ago when it permitted Al-Jazeera to open a Jerusalem bureau. Reporters working out of that bureau were arrested during the war with Hezbollah on suspicions of aiding the terrorist group, possibly through locating sensitive military facilities or identifying exact locations of Hezbollah missile strikes. Such information helped the enemy to more accurately target its rockets.
This war was unusual because Hezbollah is a terrorist group that had its own television and radio stations. Israel bombed them but the terror organization didn’t miss a step and moved on to utilize Al-Jazeera in its propaganda offensive against Israel. Al-Jazeera reaches as many as 50 million people in the Arab world and now wants to expand into the U.S. through an English-language spin-off called Al-Jazeera International.
Although Al-Jazeera International maintains that it will be independent of the Arabic Al-Jazeera, records on file with the U.S. Senate Radio-Television Gallery reveal they shared the same telephone number. They also share some of the same personnel and are housed in the same building on K Street in Washington, D.C. Al-Jazeera is on the second floor and Al-Jazeera International is on the 10th floor.
Early on during the Middle East crisis I had been scheduled to go on John Gibson’s Fox News program to discuss the threat posed by Al-Jazeera International. I went all the way into the Fox studios in Washington and was set to go on the air to talk about it when the producers told me that breaking news had bumped me from the schedule.
By the time I was on the Cavuto show, the damage done by the propaganda barrage had been done. Israel’s loss in the propaganda war should be a lesson to us all. We must unite to stop the problem from getting worse. Please go to our website www.stopaljazeera.org.