Accuracy in Media

Writing in USA Today, State Department official Karen Hughes wondered why there has been no universal condemnation of international terrorism. “Offensive cartoons sparked massive protests in nations across the Islamic world,” she said. “The international outcry was immediate when civilians were killed in the recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Yet we have seen no similar mass condemnation of terrorist violence and murder?”

Is she really mystified about this? Does she not understand the power of propaganda and disinformation? Hughes, who is in charge of public diplomacy at the State Department, not only needs to review the power and effectiveness of terror channels like Al-Jazeera, she needs to rethink her policy of putting U.S. officials on such an outlet.

“Part of my job,” she said, “is to look at the propaganda being spread on Internet sites and TV sets around the world. It is chilling. Bombings are depicted as acts of glory. Children are being taught the language of hate.”

It’s fine to look at the propaganda. Why not do something about it?

So what is the U.S. Government doing about the prospect of Al-Jazeera International being launched in the U.S. on cable and satellite systems and making it even more difficult for the U.S. to win this fight for national survival? Nothing we can see.

She adds, “Our challenge is to launch a new grassroots movement across all faiths and continents, a movement that clearly states that no grievance, no complaint, no matter how legitimate, can ever justify the targeting and killing of innocent civilians. A movement that commits to teach our children that life is precious, diversity should be celebrated, and hope can conquer hate.”

Those are nice words. But how do you launch such a movement when the Emir of Qatar, supposedly a friend of America, underwrites Al-Jazeera and Al-Jazeera International?

Columnist Morton Kondracke says that one of Hughes’ moves, in conjunction with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is to “have persuaded Bush-temporarily, at least-to drop the label ‘Islamic fascism’ from his speeches?” Kondracke says that “diplomats” told Hughes and Rice that Muslims “hear it as an attack on their religion, thereby validating the extremists’ false charge that the United States is at war with Islam.”

Tony Blankley and the Washington Times disagree. The paper ran a September 2 editorial declaring that the term describes a political reality. The paper traced it to a Muslim scholar, the German-born Khalid Duran, who said that Islamism is really “Islamofascism” because “it seeks to impose a forceful religious orthodoxy on the state and the citizenry.”

The Times added, “Use of the term has mushroomed ever since. It’s easy to see why. It describes a real phenomenon.”

So Hughes decides to censor the term “Islamo-fascist” and raises the white flag in the war of ideas. Does the administration want to win this war or not? Perhaps I better hide my Bible in the basement.

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