Eager for greater international coverage and cachet, Al Jazeera recently launched an International Division. To get things off right and build a new media roster, they recruited heavily from CNN and The BBC.
CNN's former Havana Bureau chief Lucia Newman is particularly noteworthy among these job-jumpers. "In Cuba we will be given total freedom to do what we want and to work without any censorship" (italics added), she stressed upon accepting the CNN assignment in 1997.
Among her "scoops" from Havana: "No dubious campaign spending here. No mud slinging -- a system President Castro boasts is the most democratic and cleanest in the world.” And Newman reported all this without a hint of tongue in cheek.
To report on U.S. political matters, this fresh Al Jazeera division recently launched a news magazine inventively titled, Frontline. Besides the familiar name, it's obvious they did their homework on familiar mainstream media themes. So to keep things on track towards their coveted Mainstream Media status, Al Jazeera recently ran a show guaranteed to rocket them with all afterburners blazing: they bashed Cuban-Americans, especially their insufferable habit of voting overwhelmingly Republican.
Florida holds 27 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. New Jersey holds 15 electoral votes, and the largest Cuban-American community after Florida. So 16 percent of the 270 electoral votes could depend on a candidates' professed policy towards Stalinist Cuba. Since an enormous percentage of Americans of Cuban heritage actually go to their precincts and vote, their normal voting habits greatly discomfit Democratic honchos and their MSM cronies. Any rumor of a Democratic shift in that pattern is eagerly pounced upon and trumpeted to high heavens by the same parties.
Al Jazeera has learned much since their days of basically handing over their cameras and mics to Osama Bin Laden, Mullah Omar and their bodyguards. The Frontline show was not clumsy and showed the influence of that recent infusion of "respectable" journalistic blood.
With one eye on the American audience, they were careful to append an "optimistic" theme to the show. All is not lost, intoned the Al Jazeera host, Avi Lewis (a leftist personality recently of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) from location in Miami. These Cuban-American blockheads are not completely beyond redemption, he hinted. Evidence is emerging that many of these boors are finally inching their way towards international and Beltway respectability--by shifting Democratic, he continued. Al Jazeera even managed to scrounge up some Democratic Cuban- Americans, both as oracles for this splendid turn of electoral events and as poster-boys for this political marvel.
What fun a proud and genuine spokesperson for the Cuban-American community might have had with Avi Lewis. "You Cubans have disproportionate influence....much more power than your numbers would indicate," baited Lewis. "How does such a small community get so much power. Is that democracy?" smirked Lewis.
It was painful for proud Cuban-Americans to watch these "spokesmen" whimpering platitudes and semi-apologizing that these voting patterns "were shifting more Democrat-wise." A better reply comes to mind: "Being lectured on democracy by an Al Jazeera employee amuses us, Mr Lewis. We all know the Emir of Qatar pays your salary, Lewis. Why not ask him this: 'you mounted a coup against your father (the former unelected premier) while he was vacationing in Switzerland, jumped into his unelected throne, then banned presidential elections for the next 15 years. Yet on top of acting as Al Jazeera's inexhaustible ATM machine, you rule as both Qatar's head of state and head of government. Is that Democracy, your most Royal Eminence, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani?"
"The international community perceives a double standard," Avi Lewis also sneered at his docile Democratic Cuban-American guests. "Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles are accused of terrorism yet these guys are heroes in this community?" More apologetic platitudes mumbled forth, more whimpering about "most Cuba-Americans not supporting these men."
A much better reply: being lectured on terrorism by Al Jazeera is strange indeed, especially considering the fact that your media outfit routinely refers to Palestinian suicide bombers as "martyrs."
But it would also help Mr. Lewis if you were to observe your colleagues. A chap named Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi who bills himself as "the spiritual leader and senior religious advisor of Al Jazeera" hosts one of your networks most popular shows, "Islamic Law and Life." Among his many ravings:
"I support the resistance and the Jihad! I support Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah! O God, destroy the Zionist, the American, and the British aggressors! O God, shake the ground under them!...On Judgement Day everything will be on our side and against Jews at that time, even the stones and the trees will speak, with or without words, and say: 'Oh servant of Allah, oh Muslim, there's a Jew behind me, come and kill him!"
If you would care to look a little further, Mr. Avi Lewis, Accuracy In Media, has video of Al-Jazeera's managing director, Mohammed Jassem Al-Ali, meeting with Saddam Hussein's son, (the mass-murdering/rapist Uday) while declaring: "My mission at Al-Jazeera is to serve (Saddam's) Iraq, the country that has had so much to do with the success of the station."
You mention the anti-Castro Cubans Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, Mr. Lewis. The Emir of Qatar sees to it that Al Jazeera's financial coffers always overflow. It would not require a tremendous amount of expense or research on the part of your production staff to discover that both Bosch and Posada--though accused of crimes by a regime originally founded and mentored by Soviet KGB and GRU agents with heavy roles in Stalin's purges and showtrials--have been acquitted by courts of law in non-Stalinist nations. On the other hand, we note that Al Jazeera's former bureau chief in Kabul, Tyseer Alouni, is serving a ten year sentence for terrorism as an agent of Al Qaeda. He was recently found guilty by a Spanish court of complicity in subway bombings in Madrid that killed and injured thousands.
And for the record: that "voting shift from Democratic to Republican" by Americans of Cuban heritage is an old and scratchy tune with very little veracity indeed. Intrepid blogger Henry Gomez (at Babalu Blog) recently posted the figures, the polls, and the graphs on Cuban-American voting habits and party affiliation: no more than 17 per cent are registered Democrats and the pattern holds rigidly. Babalu should put up a warning to Democratic campaign honchos and their Mainstream Media cronies: "Viewer discretion is advised; the following information, especially in view of the crucial voting districts represented, contains implications that may be shocking and gruesone--to Democrats."