MAY 17, 2007
A U.S. government-financed television station created to promote democracy in the Middle East has instead become a friendly forum for Islamic radicals and terrorists.
Since 2004 American taxpayers annually provide $70 million to fund the Virginia-based station, Al-Hurra, throughout the Middle East. The goal is to promote freedom and counter the anti-American ideas of Islamic extremists.
But with little oversight and a new liberal television network news producer, the government station has become a popular tool for renowned terrorists to spread their rhetoric. In the past several months Al-Hurra (which means “the free one” in Arabic) has aired live broadcasts of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya and a top al-Qaida operative.
The network actually gave the Lebanese militia Hezbollah leader more than one hour of airtime, which he used to inform viewers that his radical group was “facing a strategic and historic victory.”
Al-Hurra apparently became cozy with terrorists when former CNN producer Larry Register took over the operation in November. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has called for Register to resign because American taxpayer dollars should not be used to spread terrorists’ hate, lies and propaganda but rather to counter them.
The official word from the State Department is that these were simply judgment errors. After all, when President George W. Bush convinced Congress to fund the satellite network three years ago, he assured that it would combat “the hateful propaganda that fills the airwaves in the Muslim world and tell people the truth about the values and policies of the United States.”
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