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Goodbye to Al Jazeera America
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Perhaps you, too, have been feeling a bit forlorn lately. After all, the news that greets you every day goes something like this: an attack, or two, using bombs or guns or machetes or knives, by Muslims, somewhere in the world, from Jakarta to Mumbai to Paris to San Bernardino, with lots of stops in between, and the killers, if they say anything at all, explain that they are dutifully following the dictates of Islam, as found in Qur'an and Hadith and Sira, and then, of course, there follows a mind-dizzying display of official denials, all over the Western world, denials that any of these many attacks by Muslims, that any of that allahu-akbaring and citing of Islamic texts could possibly have anything to do with Islam. But you've read, and studied, and correctly concluded otherwise — sufficient unto the day is the Muslim evil thereof — and so upon you a kind of despair descends.
Now comes news of something that I think will cheer you up. Al Jazeera has just announced that it will shut down entirely its American operation — Al Jazeera America — in April. You've heard about Al Jazeera America when it bought out the cable channel Current TV, and took over its American subscribers. One of the owners of Current TV was that famous environmentalist Al Gore, who stood to make $100 million from the sale. He claimed that the sale was a Good Thing, that far from being a propaganda organ of the waddling emir of little Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Al Jazeera America "gave voice to those who are not typically heard," and what's more, "spoke truth to power." He continued to praise Al Jazeera for quite some time, as a "really distinguished and effective news organization" in 2012, but by 2014, he didn't quite see the station the same way, and he was now suing Al Jazeera for being "underhanded" and guilty of fraud, because, you see, Al Jazeera didn't pay Al Gore all that Al Gore thought he had coming to him.
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