Al Jazeera USA a ‘homeland threat’ as backlash starts


by Sunny Hundal    
2:32 pm - January 7th 2013

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The ink on Al-Jazeera’s deal with Current TV in the US has barely dried but the backlash is already under way.

In case you missed it, the Doha-based Al Jazeera announced just after New Years’ Day that it was buying Al Gore’s channel for an undisclosed sum (estimated at around $400m).

The key reason is distribution: Current TV currently has access to nearly 60 million American homes, while Al-Jazeera was having trouble getting distribution via US cable providers.

But Al Jazzera USA, as the channel will now be known, wasn’t welcomed by all.

First, Time Warner Cable, which serves 12 million households in the US, said it would immediately take Current off air. It later released another statement saying it would consider a deal with Al Jazeera USA under the right terms.

Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, who said the network was “anti-American” (more than Russia Today, which is already carried across the US?), at least conceded he was “not for censoring al-Jazeera”.

Other organisations were worried that – gasp! – anti-Israel voices may be heard in the United States

Abraham Foxman, from the Anti-Defamation League said:

Al Jazeera, whose major broadcast focus is in the Arab world, has a troubling record and history that is very disturbing, particularly in its Arabic language broadcasts. It has exploited and exaggerated the Arab-Israel conflict in a heavy-handed and propagandistic manner, and always at the expense of Israel, while giving all manner of virulent anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic extremists access to its airwaves.

However, in its English version lately Al Jazeera has toned down its anti-Israel propaganda. Yet it continues to be of great concern. We will be watching and monitoring the broadcasts as they become available to a much wider audience in the United States.

A hard-right group called Accuracy in Media (rather like ‘fair and balanced’ at Fox) went further. In an article titled ‘Terror TV Pays Al Gore $100 Million for U.S. Media Access’, it raged against the decision.

Al-Jazeera, once considered the voice of Osama bin-Laden and known for anti-American and anti-Semitic rhetoric, has announced the purchase of Al Gore’s low-rated cable channel, Current TV, in a transparent attempt to buy access to the U.S. media market for operatives of the pro-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood.

AIM originally raised awareness on the issue in 2006 with the documentary, Terror Television: The Rise of Al-Jazeera and the Hate-America Media, and was instrumental in defeating the channel’s efforts to seek carriage in U.S. markets.

It called Al Jazeera a “Homeland Security threat” and, according to Politico.com, is calling for a Congressional probe into the “controversial operations of foreign propaganda channel” now.

Expect much more rage and froth in coming weeks.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Of course I agree the ‘rage and froth’ from the US right is pure lies and cynicism.

However, that doesn’t put Al-Jazeera totakky in the clear. As a media outlet ultimately owned by a less-than-democratic government, there are tensions. For example:
http://www.robertsharp.co.uk/2012/12/01/will-al-jazeera-cover-this-story/

Always funny when the American Right wing show their true colours. Which is……. to protect freedom, you must first destroy freedom.

American media is so right wing, and biased even Stalin would blush with embarrassment. But that is the wonderful deceit at the heart of the right wing model. You don’t need censorship if you make sure “ownership” is kept under control. Corporate America can be relied on to act as an American Pravda.

Al Jazeera English just came recently to virgin media, i have been watching it and think it is a good channel with some good stories you would not see on UK news.
Also it is a great place to get away from royal baby stories.
I used to love Current and was sad to see it go, had great documentaries on there.

Ah, the ADL…

5. James Griffiths

@Robert:

CCTV (China Central Television) has been broadcasting in the US since 2002, not sure on the exact censorship/propaganda regime with regard to Al Jazeera / Qatar but I’d hazard a guess that CCTV is more government controlled and wont to broadcast propaganda.

All this pales in comparison with President Obama’s bold – or foolhardy, according to taste – nomination of Chuck Hagel for the post of US Defence Secretary to replace the outgoing Leon Penatta. Try this profile of Chuck Hagel on the BBC website:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20918393

Among Chuck Hagel’s many aggravation points: “Mr Hagel has also been criticised for saying in a 2008 book written by a former state department official that the ‘Jewish lobby’ is one that ‘intimidates’ lawmakers in Washington.”

Rob – they did cover that story you referred to by the way… I was sent a link by one of their correspondents.

This was always likely to play badly with the crazies. The Anti-Defamation League said: “…propagandistic manner…” They obviously do not watch much US TV. Almost the entire US broadcast media is one big huge propaganda machine.

” Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, who said the network was “anti-American” (more than Russia Today, which is already carried across the US?), at least conceded he was “not for censoring al-Jazeera”. ”

It would be a bit rich for Fox to start ranting about Arabs taking over US TV, when Arabs are major investors in News Corp, and therefore part owners of Fox. It did not stop one of the Fox shows labeling this guy a terrorist a few years ago without the bozos realising he was one of their owners. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Waleed_bin_Talal

9. Man on Clapham Omnibus

Is truth just propaganda by another name I wonder?

10. Chaise Guevara

“Terror TV Pays Al Gore $100 Million for U.S. Media Access”

I love an article that demonstrates it’s not worth reading with the very first word in the title.

It’s not surprising that loopy people are saying stupid things, nor that pro-Israel groups are expressing more measured concern. Dog bites man.

RT America quite frankly wipes the floor with the tame insipid domestic US networks. There’s every reason to believe AJ America will do the same.

al jazeera press tv rt.. all the same.. propaganda..

http://pragmaticwitness.com/2013/01/10/russia-today-outed-as-state-funded-propaganda-machine/

i see this site promotes jon stewart..

seriously? how can you take seriously someone who still believes the official version of 911? – if thats not enough evidence that hes nothing but a shill.. youre beyond help

13. Chaise Guevara

@ 12

You realise you’ve just defined “shill” to mean “everyone not currently wearing a tinfoil hat”, yes?

I was deeply impressed by US media reports in 2003 of how American commercial radio stations stopped playing the music tracks from the Dixie Chicks group after members of the group had expressed critical comments about President GW Bush and the invasion of Iraq.

So much for the protection of free speech in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, I thought. As reported, a large percentage of commerical radio stations in America are owned by registered Republicans, which perhaps explained why the owners found the Dixie Chicks so objectionable.

Being personally somewhat distanced from the pop music scene, I had no idea who the Dixie Chicks were at that time so I searched YouTube to get a flavour and rather liked what I heard:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsjYZwCars4


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  16. Sunny Hundal

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  18. Peter

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