Al-Jazeera Headed For The Houston Airwaves?
The Washington Post broke a story this morning on previously undisclosed negotiations between Pacifica and Al-Jazeera that would see Pacifica's five self-owned stations broadcasting content from the controversial Arabic network.
One of the those five stations is KPFT here in Houston. (The others are in LA, New York, Washington and Berkeley.)
The stations would carry the audio portion of Al-Jazeera's barely seen English TV network, the Post reported.
Pacifica officials wouldn't comment, but a former board member has written a memo that called for decision-makers to consider how the move would affect the stations' Jewish listeners.
"Al Jazeera is a totally government owned and funded broadcast entity," [Steve] Brown wrote. "It claims to be independent and unbiased, but what broadcast entity can afford to bite the hand that feeds it (especially when that hand can also, literally as well as metaphorically, cut out its tongue)?"
Brown also criticized Qatar's human-rights record and its treatment of women and political prisoners.
But the most critical issue, he said, was "the Jewish Question" -- that is, the reaction of Pacifica's Jewish listeners and financial contributors to airing a network funded by the head of an Arabic state. "It is not even surmise, but an absolute certainty, that if we broadcast Al Jazeera . . . support from many and perhaps most of our Jewish listeners could vanish overnight."
Pacifica with controversial content -- it's unimaginable.
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