By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Anti-Al Jazeera posters have recently appeared in Egypt saying, “A bullet kills a man, a lying camera kills a nation.” This attitude led to the new government closing the channel, after 22 staffers quit in disgust over its pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias.
Al Jazeera is the voice of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group now laying siege to Egypt and burning Christian churches there.
On Sunday, CNN’s media criticism show “Reliable Sources” featured a discussion of the launch of Al Jazeera America. While Egyptian Christian churches burn because of what the channel has done there, Al Jazeera America was given a warm welcome not only by the American media, but also by the Congress of the United States. This show was no exception.
A good guest would have been Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). He told AIM, “One thing I can tell: concerning events in Egypt, Al Jazeera has willfully been manipulating truth to the favor of the Brotherhood—even sometimes portraying the very large masses of anti-Morsi protesters as pro-Morsi protesters, and lots of other distortions that violate any code of journalistic [ethics].”
Instead, CNN’s “Reliable Sources” guest host Joanne Lipman invited Michael Calderone of The Huffington Post and Edward Felsenthal of Time.com to discuss the channel. They never once mentioned the words “Muslim Brotherhood.”
Another taboo topic: Al Jazeera’s lobbyists have worked their will on Capitol Hill, pressuring Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, not to open hearings into the channel. The emir of Qatar is throwing millions of oil dollars around on Capitol Hill and in the Washington, D.C. area on behalf of his new toy. This is a non-story for most of the U.S. media.
We have come to expect politicians selling out, but the media should tell the truth about the payoffs that have greased the skids for Al Jazeera America.
John Siegenthaler, David Shuster, Soledad O’Brien, Antonio Mora, Joie Chen, Michael Viqueira and Ali Velshi are among the media personalities accepting money from the channel once known as the voice of Osama bin Laden. They are being touted by publications such as Politico as media trailblazers bringing much-needed news and information to a hungry American audience.
One of the most blatant examples of media manipulation, in order to mask the channel’s terrorist roots, is adding “America” to its name in order to confuse viewers. It is still funded by the Jihadist-supporting dictatorial regime of Qatar, which sheltered bin Laden lieutenant and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before he went to Pakistan and cut journalist Daniel Pearl’s head off.
The Sunday show was an opportunity for “Reliable Sources” to provide much-needed scrutiny of the new channel. Instead, it offered a superficial and uninformed analysis that was almost laughable.
The show was bad enough with Howard Kurtz as moderator, but this new program demonstrated that, if possible, it’s even worse without him. Lipman, the guest host, is a former deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.
One guest, Michael Calderone, represents The Huffington Post, which reprints material from Al Jazeera, such as the notorious “The Gentle Face of al Qaeda” piece about the terrorists in Mali. The publication even hired a former Al Jazeera employee, Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, who says it is his job to “humanize” the Palestinians.
Calderone commented, “…even though the Qatar government says they don’t own Al Jazeera, a lot of people see Al Jazeera Arabic or Al Jazeera—even Al Jazeera English, probably more the Arabic network or the 24-hour network in Egypt as, you know, following along the point of view of the government in Qatar.”
No kidding. The State Department itself says Qatar runs the channel, in addition to financing it. So the idea that the regime “says they don’t own Al Jazeera” is simply a lie. It would be nice if he had pointed that out.
Lipman skirted close to one of the taboo topics, wondering “…is there any example of Al Jazeera somewhere else in the world where they are producing this kind of unbiased news? I know many other places in the world they have been accused of bias. And, in fact, in Egypt, they were just shut down by security forces because they were perceived as being too close to the Morsi regime.”
This was a perfect opening to discuss Al Jazeera’s domination by the Muslim Brotherhood, but nobody went into it.
Felsenthal wondered if the emir of Qatar, the big boss of the channel, “will eventually get tired of supporting a thousand employees if the ratings don’t support it.” He went on to say that he thought “they seem to be aiming big and broad—in a sense almost disowning their roots.”
So what are their roots? The Muslim Brotherhood.
The attempt to “disown” their roots was also tried in the case of Al Jazeera English. Dave Marash had assured me the new channel would be independent of the regime paying the bills. He later quit in disgust over its bias.
Marash was one of the Western faces picked to make that version of the channel appear to be something it is not. The same process is underway with Al Jazeera America. Americans, not Arabs or Muslims, will be delivering most of the news on the new channel.
Since the Marash fiasco, the English version of the channel was widely condemned for ignoring the sexual assault on CBS News correspondent Lara Logan during the revolution that brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power.
The cover-up demonstrated that the channel never changes in its substance and core; it reflects the views of the Muslim Brotherhood and its sponsoring regime in Qatar.
The coverage suggests that many in the American media want to be fooled; perhaps they are auditioning for more high-paying jobs at the channel.
Whatever the case, it is a new low point for American journalism.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.