The New York Times’ Brian Stelter is super-excited about the debut of Al Jazeera America sometime later this summer. He’s especially enthused that AJA “wants to be American through and through,” and is “aiming to have virtually all of its programming originate from the United States.”
And that makes sense. Even Stelter, a fan-boy of all things Al Jazeera, must realize that pre-martyrdom farewell videos and discussions of exactly how satanic the United States really is won’t play in Peoria.
Environmentalist activist and former U.S. vice president Al Gore is defending the sale of his Current TV cable channel to Al Jazeera, saying that the Qatari government-run network is “honest-to-goodness” news.
During a panel discussion at the South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas on Saturday, Gore was asked about his $500-million deal to sell the low-rated news operation to Al Jazeera in January.
Media consultant John Terenzio is suing former U.S. Vice President Al Gore for stiffing him of a cool $5 million over the environmental activist's sale of Current TV to the Al Jazeera, the Islamist-friendly news network owned by the oil-rich country of Qatar. In a nutshell, Terenzio claims the sale was his idea and that he got the ball rolling on the sale, only to see Gore initially reject it before changing his mind and negotiating the sale without Terenzio.
Eriq Gardner of the Hollywood Reporter has the details in what is the latest development in the Al Gorezeera saga:
A Washington Post contributor published an article Tuesday amazingly citing as true claims by a - wait for it! - satirical website that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has taken a job with Al Jazeera.
For her part, the former vice presidential candidate is having a good old time on Twitter at the author's expense:
In an interview with former Vice President Al Gore on Tuesday's Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over the "hypocrisy" of the global warming crusader selling his news channel Current TV to the oil-funded Al Jazeera network. However, Lauer completely ignored the Arab news organization's history of anti-Americanism and promotion of Islamic fundamentalism. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
When Lauer questioned Gore about selling Current to Al Jazeera for $500 million, Gore declared: "I'm very pleased that Al Jazeera has established itself as a really respected news-gathering network." Rather than challenge that assertion, the only criticism of the network Lauer could think of was this: "But if they get funding from a country that has – that bases its wealth on fossil fuels, and fossil fuels are the enemy you target in climate change, isn't there a bit of hypocrisy in that?"
The burning question on the mind of Dylan Byers Saturday afternoon at the Politico -- a question that somehow merited over 2,000 words of content -- was "Al Jazeera America (AJA): Will they watch?" He could have answered his question in eleven words: "Except for segments of America's Muslim community, the answer is 'no.'" Along the way, Byers spoke with former Al Jazeera English (AJE) anchor David Marash, who, per Byers, "still describes it as 'the best news channel on Earth.'" That's odd, because what Al Jazeera English did to him, as described in an interview he had in April 2008 with Brent Cunningham at the Columbia Journalism Review in April 2008 should have caused him to doubt the channel's ability to cover American stories in its new AJA unit with any kind of integrity (bolds are mine):
The liberal media have spent 12 years feeling sorry for Al Gore.The Man Who Should Have Won in 2000 has had megatons of positive publicity dumped on him, hailing him as the “Goracle.” They cheered as leftists honored him with the Nobel Peace Prize and gave an Oscar to his filmed eco-sermon “An Inconvenient Truth.”
So when Gore sold his left-wing cable channel Current TV to al-Jazeera for $500 million, where were they? Despite the fact that conservatives thought the deal sounded like a ridiculous April Fools joke, the networks had nearly nothing to say. ABC skipped it entirely. CBS and NBC offered a perfunctory sentence on a couple of newscasts.
Are you tired of having to go to YouTube to watch video of terrorists killing U.S. soldiers? Do you get annoyed when slow download speeds interrupt hearing your favorite Islamist cleric call for infidel blood to restore the Caliphate? Wish you could see suicide bombers lovingly read their last statements in crystal-clear HD?
Well, great news, kids! Al “no controlling legal authority” Gore is selling his far-left vanity network, Current TV, to Al Jazeera – the anti-western terror mouthpiece bank-rolled by the emir of Qatar.
According to the New York Times' Brian Stelter, Al Jazeera is about to acquire Al Gore's ultra-leftist and low-rated cable outlet Current TV. Stelter reported: "If the deal is completed, Current will provide the pan-Arab news giant with something it has sought for years: a pathway into American living rooms."
However, the move may not mean a complete overhaul for Current TV as Al Jazeera may retain some staffers but the very small number of regular viewers should expect to see a lineup change. According to Stelter the channel's "schedule of shows will most likely be dissolved in the spring."
"[F]or America's sake, I hope that Al Jazeera penetrates the US media market. Unless Americans see the images and narratives that shape how others see us, the US will not be able to overcome its reputation as the world's half-blind bully."
Is Rush Limbaugh’s fear of a state-run media coming to fruition?
Hillary Clinton spent the morning on C-Span defending the State Department’s need for funding, because she feels private media in the U.S. has fallen woefully behind the likes of Al-Jazeera, the Chinese, and Russia.
"Al Jazeera is winning. The Chinese have opened up a global English language and multi-language television network, the Russians have opened up an English language network. I've seen it in a couple of countries and it's quite instructive."
Has she watched MSNBC or CNN lately? The coupon book in the local newspaper is far more informative than the American media.
More perplexing is that Clinton seems to be blurring the line between popular media and the need to disseminate information via her State Department. Essentially, because the Republicans want to slash the State Department budget in half, efforts to spread U.S. propaganda through new media will suffer. Without money, her department cannot spread information to Arabic and Farsi language audiences. This apparently, is the fault of Republicans cutting spending, and a private American media that can no longer compete. Enter the state-run media.
In Tuesday's Kansas City Star, reporter Aaron Barnhart revealed that Current TV, the cable channel launched in 2005 by Al Gore, would be the least missed, only managing to be viewed by 18,000 households in the fourth quarter of 2010. Also on the list of "Cable's Least Wanted" were the DIY network, ESPN Classic, Fox Soccer Channel, Logo, and Sleuth.
Despite such abysmal ratings for Current, Barnhart argued that the addition of former MSNBC Countdown host Keith Olbermann to the channel would turn things around: "The good news for Current is that it won’t be counting its audience in the high five figures, at least not when Olbermann is on the air." He later remarked: "Unlike Current, the rest of Cable’s Least Wanted don’t have a ratings savior waiting in the wings."
ABC News prominently featured the anti-American television network Al Jazeera on "This Week" Sunday.
Not only was the network's Washington bureau chief afforded a good amount of time during the Roundtable segment to sing Al Jazeera's praises, but as the show neared its conclusion, Sam Donaldson actually thanked the organization (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Former "Crossfire" host Bill Press apparently cannot distinguish between news and opinion. He is furious that his application for press credentials with the congressional press corps was denied due to content on his website urging readers to tell Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., to vote for health care legislation in the Senate. He cites numerous examples of CPC members that host opinion content, but neglects to differentiate between their commentary and their news coverage.
"Senator Joe Lieberman said he will vote against Harry Reid's proposed health reform bill that includes a public plan option. Call Senator Lieberman's office and tell him he's wrong to do so, and should vote FOR it," wrote Press on his site, billpressshow.com. The CPC forbids its correspondants from being "engaged in the prosecution of claims or the promotion of legislation pending before Congress."
Press was puzzled, however, that news outlets such as the Washington Times, the Huffington Post, Fox News, Al Jazeera, Venezuela TV, and Pacifica Radio were granted CPC membership, given the presence of opinion content in each of their outlets. "Irony? No, that's sheer hypocrisy," he wrote for the Huffington Post today.
Did interviewer Hisham Melhem of al-Arabiya TV offer Barack Obama the Arab version of "Hardball with Chris Matthews"? After the interview was finished, Melhem talked to Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic and crowed about how superior Obama is to George Bush:
A president named Barack Hussein Obama sees the world differently from a president named George W. Bush, in part because of his biography, in part because of intellect. He senses that maybe America is less Western-centric than it used to be. The world is no longer Europe and North America.
Can you construct a sillier straw man than to suggest George Bush doesn’t realize the West needs to engage the Arab world? Goldberg tried to suggest skepticism, that Obama’s Middle East policy resembles Bush’s in some ways, but Melhem wouldn’t agree, boastfully selling the current Obama line that he’s too progressive and Muslim-friendly to be pushed into a Bush mold:
Add NBC to the list of news organizations that have shown a clip of two doctors, one of whom is the controversial pro-9/11 Norwegian doctor, Mads Gilbert, supposedly trying to revive a deceased Palestinian boy at Shifa Hospital in Gaza – a scene which some critics charge appears staged. Last week, on the Sunday, January 4, NBC Nightly News, correspondent Richard Engel filed a report in which he recounted the story of a 12-year-old boy, Mahmoud Basrowi, the brother of "Ashraf, a Gaza-based television producer contracted by NBC News," as Ashraf claimed his brother was killed while playing on his family’s roof "when the house was hit by an Israeli shell or rocket."
But in the Gaza Strip now, streets are mostly empty, fuel is running out and there's no electricity. Hospital officials say at least 430 Palestinians have been killed, 30 just today, including 12-year-old Mahmoud Basrowi. His family says the boy was playing on his rooftop with a cousin when the house was hit by an Israeli shell or rocket. Two doctors, one a volunteer from Norway, tried to save Mahmoud. Wrapped in a white funeral shroud, Mahmoud was taken by his brother Ashraf, a Gaza-based television producer contracted by NBC News.
From Beirut, Chawki Freiha reports* on a provocative editorial that appeared in the Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper on November 3 written by Abdelbari Atwan, the first journalist to have met with Osama bin Laden. Titled “Obama’s Historic Intifada,” Atwan praises the probable election of Barack Obama to the White House and claims that with Obama installed in Washington, Islam will be able to “impose its point of view” on the world.
As to be expected, Atwan’s editorial decries the Bush administration because it is “controlled by Zionists… whose objective is to destroy the Arab world and Islam.” Displaying true Muslim conspiratorial thinking, Atwan further claims that all Middle Eastern countries have been under the control Israel, even though the Arabs have the “largest wealth” in the world in petrodollars.
U.S diplomacy has suffered in the Middle East because policymakers dismantled critical instruments of communication in the late 1990s under the mistaken assumption that ideological struggles had ended with the Cold War, a former ambassador to Syria and Israel argues in a new book.
To keep pace with media outlets like Al Jazerera, the major Arab satellite TV station, it is imperative to have articulate and fluent Foreign Service officers who can explain and defend U.S. policy in an effective way, Djerejian pointed out in an interview.
Although differing interests and objectives will remain evident in some areas, there is enough common ground that presents diplomats with important opportunities, he suggested.
On CNN's American Morning today, White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported on Barack Obama's campaigning in Virginia. Afterwards, anchor Kiran Chetry had a question:
CHETRY: All right. And Suzanne, what's on tap for the campaign today? And please tell me it's not lipstick again.
MALVEAUX: Let's hope not. He's going to be in Norfolk, Virginia. That is in southeast Virginia, and it's home to the world's largest Naval base. It's one of the most competitive areas that the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over. It's a critical piece of property, piece of land there with folks in Virginia, and they want those voters.
On Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume, during the show's "From the Political Grapevine" segment, FNC host Hume gave viewers another glimpse at the admiration offered terrorists in the Middle East as he reported that the Al-Jazeera network threw a birthday party for Samir Kuntar, a notorious terrorist recently released by Israel, who had previously been greeted by thousands of adoring fans when he returned to Beirut. Hume: "The Arab news network Al-Jazeera celebrated the birthday of released Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar with a cake and fireworks. The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that Kuntar, who shot an Israeli child's father in front of her, and then beat her to death with his rifle back in 1979, was given a hero's welcome on the network. One interviewer said, quote, 'You deserve even more than this. I think that 11,000 prisoners, if they can see this program now, are celebrating your birthday with you. Happy birthday.'" (Transcript follows)
When France 2 TV helped stoke a new wave of anti-Semitism and anti-Western sentiment and violence by presenting the world footage it claimed to show the Israeli military targeting and killing a Palestinian boy, Mohammed al-Dura, a scene that has been invoked by Osama bin Laden and many other terrorists and suicide bombers, the American news media also ran the story, showing the footage numerous times on major television news shows. But evidence has mounted over the years that Israeli troops likely were not the ones producing the gunfire seen in the video. And the sources of the footage at France 2 TV are under increasing fire for their role in the matter, last week losing a court battle to media critic Philippe Karsenty, who goes so far as to charge that the al-Dura footage was actually a staged scene, and that the boy may still be alive, part of what has become a reportedly common practice of Palestinian film makers as they record scenes of fake violence to be used as propaganda. A look at such filmmaking and acting has been examined in the documentary Pallywood, complete with a corpse in a fake funeral procession that gets up on its own after falling off the stretcher after the "Jenin massacre" hoax, and an ambulance that arrives immediately next to the body of a man literally two seconds after he is supposedly shot. CBS's 60 Minutes was among those accused of being duped into using scenes of staged violence as if they were real. (Transcripts follow)
The anti-American bias at Al Jazeera English became “so stereotypical, so reflexive” that former “Nightline” reporter David Marash quit his job with the Qatar-based channel, in part over that attitude. What was even more interesting was Marash's assertion that the anti-American attitude came more from the British administrators than the Arabs at AJE.
Former "Nightline" reporter Dave Marash has quit Al-Jazeera English, saying Thursday his exit was due in part to an anti-American bias at a network that is little seen in this country.
Marash said he felt that attitude more from British administrators than Arabs at the Qatar-based network.
Marash was the highest-profile American TV personality hired when the English language affiliate to Al-Jazeera was started two years ago in an attempt to compete with CNN and the BBC. He said there was a "reflexive adversarial editorial stance" against Americans at Al-Jazeera English.
"Given the global feelings about the Bush administration, it's not surprising," Marash said.
But he found it "became so stereotypical, so reflexive" that he got angry.
The famous picture of a terrified Mohammed al-Dura hiding behind his father enraged millions of Muslims and became such an iconic image of Palestinian martyrdom and Israeli occupation that it caused violent rioting, inspired some UK Muslims to commit to radical Islam and was even used in suicide bomber propaganda.
It took a defamation case to get France2 to fork over the raw footage, but Media Backspin reported portions are missing (bold mine throughout):
If you thought the proper way to refer to terrorists who commit violence in the name of Islam was by using such terms as "Islamic terrorists," "Islamic militants," or even "Islamic extremists," be on notice that you may be offending Alan Colmes. In fact, even if you refer to the terrorist group "Islamic Jihad" by that name, which is the name the group uses to refer to itself, you're still not in the clear.