Saturday, November 05, 2005

One More Thing

Hat tip: Atlas Shrugs.

What is the relationship between al-Jazeera, al Qaeda and America's TV networks?

The Enemy on Our Airwaves

Friday, November 4, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

(Editor's note: Sen. Carl Levin is opposing Mr. Smith's confirmation as assistant secretary of defense for public affairs because of the senator's objections to this article, which appeared in The Wall Street Journal, April 25. A related editorial appears here.)

On April 11, Jeffrey Ake, an American, was taken hostage in Iraq. Video of him in captivity was shown on al-Jazeera on April 13. A short time later six American networks--ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN and MSNBC--aired the same video, a vivid example of the ongoing relationship between terrorists, al-Jazeera and the networks. Last week, al-Jazeera showed video of a helicopter being shot, bursting into flames and trailing smoke as it fell to the ground. It also aired video of the lone survivor being forced to walk on a broken leg and then being shot by the terrorists, one of whom said, "We are applying God's law."

Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and al Qaeda have a partner in al-Jazeera and, by extension, most networks in the U.S. This partnership is a powerful tool for the terrorists in the war in Iraq. Figures show that 77% of Iraqis cite TV as their main source of information; 15% cite newspapers. Current estimates are that close to 100% of Iraqis have access to satellite TV, 18% to cell phones, and 8% to the Internet. The battle for Iraqi hearts and minds is being fought over satellite TV. It is a battle today that we are losing badly.

While I was in Iraq in 2004, Al-Jazeera was expelled from the country by the Iraqi Governing Council for violating international law. Numerous times they had advance knowledge of military actions against coalition forces. Instead of reporting to the authorities that it had been tipped off, Al-Jazeera would pre-position a crew at the event site and wait for the attack, record it and rush it on air. This happened time after time, to the point where Al-Jazeera was expelled from Iraq. The airing of the Ake video, however, demonstrates that it can still operate on behalf of the terrorists even from outside the country.

Al-Jazeera continues to broadcast because it reportedly receives $100 million a year from the government of Qatar. Without this subsidy it would be off the air, off the Internet and out of business. So, does Qatar's funding of Al-Jazeera constitute state sponsorship of terrorism? As long as Al-Jazeera continues to practice in cahoots with terrorists while we are at war, should the U.S. government maintain normal relations with Qatar?

In addition to being subsidized by Qatar, Al-Jazeera has very strong partners in the U.S.--ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN and MSNBC. Video aired by Al-Jazeera ends up on these networks, sometimes within minutes. The terrorists are aware of this access and use it--as in the Ake case--to further their aims. They want to reach the American audience and influence public opinion.

The arrangement between the U.S. networks and Al-Jazeera raises questions of journalistic ethics. Do the U.S. networks know the terms of the relationship that Al-Jazeera has with the terrorists? Do they want to know?

There has been no in-depth reporting about Al-Jazeera in the U.S. and virtually no scrutiny of Qatar and its relationship with the network. Why not? Is it that the American networks don't want to give up their tainted video?

Hmm. Makes you think.


Blogger dave bones said...

It certainly does.

8:08 PM  

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