Ladies and Gentleman, your tax dollars at work.
Three years ago the United States started a new TV Channel called al-Hurra (the free channel). Al-Hurra was originally supposed to be a “Voice of America” in Arabic. A reasonable alternative to al-Jazeera’s one-sided coverage beamed into Iran, Iraq and the rest of the Arab world. Recently a the network hired a brand new director, Larry Register from CNN, who switched the programming from Pro-US to more of the CNN style–pro terror. Over the last two weeks Joel Mowbray of the Wall Street Journal has tried to get out the story. His most recent gives a great update of what is going on:
After reading my story in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, several senior Capitol Hill staffers became quite concerned about the new direction of al-Hurra, the U.S. taxpayer-funded alternative to al-Jazeera that has recently become a platform for Islamic terrorists from Hezbollah, Hamas, and even al Qaeda. Al-Hurra’s new news director, longtime CNN producer Larry Register, was summoned to the Hill on Wednesday, where he was grilled for roughly an hour. Register denied he was responsible for some of the bad calls, but otherwise was unapologetic about his editorial decisions. At one point, he “pounded the table with his finger and his face turned red with anger,” according to someone present. Expressing outrage at the WSJ column, Register forcefully declared that he does not support terrorists. Though that charge was not made, it is understandable he felt the need to clarify given al-Hurra’s recent record. Register made the decision to interview the alleged al Qaeda operative—and he presumably knew of the alleged terrorist’s expression of joy over 9/11 before the pre-taped interview’s first airing, let alone its third. It was on Register’s watch that al-Hurra aired live most of a fiery speech from Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah. Register told congressional staffers that he did not personally approve airing Nasrallah’s speech—a dubious claim, given that he knew of the speech in advance, and it occurred in the afternoon on the east coast. But if he conveyed afterward to employees his strong disapproval, as he maintains, then why did the network just over a week later cover live the 19th anniversary celebration of Hamas? To the extent he addressed the WSJ column, Register stressed that he does not simply turn the airwaves over to terrorists. At a different point during the hour, however, he explained that in order to have legitimacy as a network, al-Hurra must air live speeches from terrorist leaders because they are part of the discourse. But therein lies the contradiction: if terrorists are broadcast live, either in interviews or by airing their speeches, then al-Hurra is turning over the airwaves to them. Live TV is inherently unpredictable—and uncontrollable. Think Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl. At least one of the dozen or so staffers present was sympathetic to Register’s contention that al-Hurra needs to act as the other Arab TV networks do in order to attract an audience. While this argument has obvious surface appeal, Arab viewers have come to expect terrorists to be part of the political realm because that’s the sad reality of the Arab world. Al-Hurra’s job is to change that very phenomenon, so that Arabs see that there is another avenue available to them, that their society need not treat terrorists as morally acceptable. One point Register tacitly acknowledged was that coverage of human rights abuses and government corruption has, indeed, been significantly reduced. Filling that void, he noted, has been an increase of C-SPAN-style coverage of U.S. politics. While al-Hurra before Register was by no means a perfectly-run organization and surely faced credibility problems because of its U.S. funding, justifying the “new” al-Hurra requires answering this question: If the network was so ineffective, why was it so hated by corrupt Arab regimes? And why was Register’s predecessor Mouafac Harb threatened to the point that, when traveling in the Middle East, he was protected by bodyguards? The “old” al-Hurra pursued stories no other Arab TV network would, managing to anger corrupt regimes in the process. In April 2005, for example, an al-Hurra team went to Syria to do a four-part series of live talk shows, on consecutive days, discussing freedom of the press and human rights abuses. Hours before the second broadcast was set to air, the Syrian government “asked” al-Hurra to remove one of the guests, human rights activist and fierce government critic Kamal Labwani, who today is jailed. The offer was refused. The Syrian government then denied al-Hurra any location from which to broadcast the program. To this day, al-Hurra is banned from operating inside Syria, and its correspondents are not even allowed in the country. An anecdote involving Register is perhaps the best window into his vision for al-Hurra. During a conversation with Broadcasting Board of Governors Chairman Ken Tomlinson—and as told by someone who overheard it—Register explained that a high-ranking Egyptian “information” official (in short, a government censor) had expressed strong displeasure with al-Hurra’s coverage. Though he immediately said that he misspoke, Register said that he assured the angry Egyptian official that al-Hurra’s coverage was getting better, and that this pleased the censor. Regardless of whether or not Register misspoke, there is no denying that Arab despots and Islamic terrorists alike now breathe easier with Register running al-Hurra. Little wonder, then, that secular democrats, such as Iraqi parliamentarian Mithal al-Alusi, are so worried about the “new” al-Hurra.
I guess our Democratic Party-controlled Congress is too busy micro-managing the War in Iraq to get involved with the US getting trashed by its own “Propaganda” TV Network but the Zionist Organization of America is trying to give congress a little push.
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ZOA Urges Congress To Change Pro-Terror, Anti-U.S. Format Of US/al-Hurra TV
New York — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is appalled that U.S. taxpayer-financed al-Hurra television — created to showcase the American political process and draw attention to needed reforms in the Arab world — is serving as a forum for terrorists and their sympathizers to espouse violence and hatred of America and Israel. In an exposé in the Wall Street Journal on March 12, 2007, Joel Mowbray explained how al-Hurra’s new director, Larry Register, who once served as a CNN International editor in Jerusalem, one month into his tenure at al-Hurra, reversed a ban on terrorists as guests. The Journal reports that, according to one al-Hurra staffer, Register aims to “pander to Arab sympathies” to win viewers and compete with the widely-popular al-Jazeera. * On November 26, 2006, al-Hurra aired an interview with a self-professed al-Qaeda operative who praised Osama bin Laden and said that the 9/11 attacks had brought him joy because they rubbed “America’s nose in the dust.” * On December 7, 2006, al-Hurra aired 45 minutes of a live speech by Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah, whose group is responsible for the murder of hundreds of Americans and Israelis. Nasrallah told his audience to aim their bullets at the “chests of their enemies…the Israelis.” Speeches by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah have also aired.
* On February 9, 2007, al-Hurra carried two hours’ coverage of Arab protests of Israeli construction near Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, forty minutes more air-time than al-Jazeera. On-air guests vilified Israel and falsely charged it with “plans” to destroy the Mosque. A UN agency, on March 14, said the ongoing construction poses no threat. * This year, the Department of State’s annual human rights report received scant attention on al-Hurra, even though it had been treated as major news in years past.
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said: “The Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Congressionally-created panel charged with overseeing al-Hurra, must not allow its new manager, Mr. Register, to have this sort of pro-terror, anti-U.S., anti-Israel programming. This type of programming will only encourage terrorism, prolong the U.S. war against Islamic radicalism, and increase the likelihood that the Arabs will continue to refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist. The New York Times reported, on March 15, 2007, that al-Hurra “‘has not been a success'” We urge Congress to hold hearings to expose al-Hurra’s disturbing agenda and to demand adherence to its founding mission. It must ensure that the network serves its intended purpose, to showcase the benefits of democracy and need for reform in the Arab world.”
These words were spoken by the fictionalized John Adams, our second president, but they could have been spoken by any American today, almost 250 years later to describe this Democratic Party Controlled Congress:
I have become convinced that one useless man is a Shame,
Two useless men a Law Firm,
Three or more—A Congress
A second flood, a simple famine
Plagues of locusts everywhere
Or a cataclysmic earthquake
I’d accept with some despair
But, no, you sent us Congress.
Good G-d, sir, was that fair?
John Adams From the Play 1776