Early in Al-Hurra’s life I met with an official of the network, and we had a wide-ranging and detailed discussion which appeared to be most promising. But I never heard from them again, and they clearly went in a direction much different from the one which I had suggested, which was much like the one ably delineated by Hugh here. I advised them to offer American Constitutionalism and genuine pluralism as an alternative to Sharia — and said they would draw in many Muslims who would prefer to live free than to live under Sharia.
But clearly they had no interest in challenging Sharia. See, for example, “U.S. Government Gave Airtime to Terrorists, Official Admits,” by Justin Rood for ABC’s The Blotter, May 22, 2007:
Al Hurra television, the U.S. government’s $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according to a senior official who oversees the program.
That might explain why critics say the service has recently been caught broadcasting terrorist messages, including an hour-long tirade on the importance of anti-Jewish violence, among other questionable pieces….
Or maybe Al-Hurra officials are just too naive, too trusting, and too filled with Armstrong/Esposito nonsense about Islam to be anything but asleep at the wheel.
And so now we hear that the whole thing has been a waste of money. But actually the waste of money has been the least of al-Hurra’s sins. Much worse has been the official dhimmitude and abetting of the global jihad. But then again, when it comes to suicidal stupidity and jihad-abetting on the part of the U.S. government, al-Hurra is only a minor player.
“Has the U.S. Wasted $700 Million on an Arabic-Language TV Station?,” by Noel Brinkerhoff for AllGov, June 24:
Alhurra, the U.S. government’s answer to the popular Middle East network Al Jazeera, has cost American taxpayers $700 million since its inception during the Bush administration. But Alhurra has failed to grab enough viewers in the region to make it a worthwhile investment going forward, says a report from a U.S. Senate committee.
“Given the crowded media environment of the Middle East, either greater resources must be devoted to marketing and promotion or additional programming changes must be enacted in pursuit of increasing (Alhurra’s) market share,” reads the report from the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. “Should these efforts fail to improve the overall viewership levels, policy makers will have to decide if continuing Alhurra’s operation is worth the costs.”
The Arab language network, which broadcasts out of a studio in Springfield, Virginia, has an annual budget that exceeds the combined funding for U.S. government networks targeting Asia, Cuba and Iran. But it has only garnered an audience share of 2%, while receiving about $1 million a year for marketing its television and radio programming….