Joel Mowbray reports: Al-Hurra brass play ostrich

Joel Mowbray ([email protected]) follows up on his Wall Street Journal column of this past Monday that we noted in “Joel Mowbray reports: A taxpayer-supported platform for terrorists.” Joel writes:

Faced with my Wall Street Journal column on U.S. taxpayer-financed al-Hurra is becoming a platform for Islamic terrorists, as well as an outlet for the jihadists’ propaganda, the panel that oversees the network could have chosen to comb the archives to see if reform is needed.
Had they done so, the Broadcasting Board of Governors would have learned that, in fact, al-Hurra has turned its airwaves over to Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. They could have watched for themselves the interview of an alleged al Qaeda operative–who admitted during the segment he’s wanted by U.S. authorities–who praised bin Laden and expressed joy that 9/11 had rubbed “America’s nose in the dust.”
Instead, the BBG chose to write a letter expressing the body’s “disappointment.” Even though the board most likely didn’t know about all that Larry Register has done since taking over as news director in November, the panel closed ranks around the new hire, not even entertaining the possibility that he’s taking al-Hurra down a dangerous path.
The BBG letter accuses me of “accept[ing] — lock, stock, and barrel — imprecise information” that resulted in creating a “generalized web of inaccuracies.” Reading on, however, it becomes clear that the BBG didn’t find a single inaccuracy. Instead, the board dedicated the rest of the letter to boasting that it now airs even more C-SPAN-style programming than before.
While it is true that al-Hurra has increased its coverage of U.S. politics, that is only one segment of its core mission. Especially now that al-Arabiya and even al-Jazeera cover U.S. politics, al-Hurra is often the only Arab satellite TV network where Arabs can find stories about human rights abuses or about government corruption. If someone wants to watch Nasrallah or Haniya, however, he already has that option.
To be fair, terrorists had appeared on al-Hurra on occasion before, but almost always in taped interviews — which can be controlled through editing — or debate segments. Also, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah was on-air live a few times last summer during the war, but generally for just six to seven minutes at most, then immediately followed by an Israeli official.
What has happened since Register became news director is a shift in focus and direction. But as disturbing as it is that Islamic terrorists can be found routinely on al-Hurra, perhaps more problematic for the long-term is what is *not* making it on-air.
Last week, for example, State


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