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Broadcasting our Incompetence to the Arab world

The Bush administration founded the Arab language TV station Alhurra and radio network Sawa, to provide “an American perspective on world events and counter the wave of global criticism that had been building against the Bush administration since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.” We have funded their studios in Springfield, Virginia, with around $500 million in our taxpayer’s money to promote US propaganda. So how are they doing?

Well, a watchdog group says that those stations air anti-American and anti-Israeli viewpoints, has showcased pro-Iranian policies, and recently gave time to a militant who called for the death of American soldiers in Iraq. They also provided coverage for a conference of Holocaust deniers in Tehran (with their own reporter telling viewers that the Jews had provided no scientific evidence of the Holocaust).

How did this happen?  Well, the president of Alhurra, Brian Conniff, does not speak Arabic and so is unable to understand anything broadcast by the radio and television stations he is supposedly managing. Maybe he was picked for his journalism experience. No, he has no prior journalism experience (he worked previously as a government auditor). Did he hire other people who could do the job? No, his news director, Daniel Nassif, has no journalism experience either.

When the watchdog group visited the stations, they found “an untrained, largely foreign staff with little knowledge of the country whose values and policies they were hired to promote. There appeared to be little oversight of the daily operations.” According to William Rugh, who served as US Ambassador to Yemen and the United Arab Emirates “There is no adult supervision there by people who know what is on the actual broadcasts.”

These problems have been known for some time, and Congress even threatened to withhold funding last year, but despite assurance that the problems have been solved, they continue to this day. Even if you agree with the Republicans ideologically, you can still be opposed to them running the country, because they are clearly incompetent to do so.



  1. As someone who attended and presented a paper at the conference, i congratulate the the station for broadcasting the truth about the Jewish Holocaust-Shoah, which has no relaity in space and time but only in memory!

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 7:03 am | Permalink
  2. Dear Dr. Toben,
    One thing is certain. You are no real Doctor, and you are no historian. Eisenhower predicted the rise of people of your ilk. That is why he made the townspeople come to the camps and view the dead and dying. That is why he had photographers from every nations press corp come to the camps and take pictures rather than to evacuate the camps immediately. He knew some day people like you would deny the holocaust of Jews, Catholics and Gypsies.

    Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 6:54 am | Permalink