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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.

Apparently the American public did not agree that Al Jazeera was a “distinguished” and “effective” news channel that “spoke truth to power,” and Al Jazeera continuously lost money and audience. News reports about AJAM did not inspire confidence. The latest is a lawsuit by Shannon High-Bassalik, AJAM’s former senior vice-president of programming and documentaries, who said that she “witnessed the channel abandon ‘journalistic integrity’ in order to ‘advance a pro-Arabic/Middle Eastern agenda often at the expense of Jewish people.’” She further charged that “AJAM management invoked the conspiracy theory that the 9/11 terror attack was a CIA plot,” and in her suit detailed “what she said were blatantly discriminatory practices against women and non-Arab employees.”

And the lawsuits, and the firings, continue apace. From Wikipedia: “On April 28, 2015, Matthew Luke, Al Jazeera America’s former Supervisor of Media and Archive Management, filed a US$15 million lawsuit against his former employers over unfair dismissal. Luke alleged that he had been unfairly dismissed by the network after he had raised concerns with the human resource division that his boss, Osman Mahmud, the Senior Vice-President of Broadcast Operations and Technology, discriminated against female employees and made anti-Semitic remarks…. In an unrelated development, two female Al Jazeera America employees—Diana Lee, the Executive Vice-President for Human Resources, and Dawn Bridges, the Executive Vice President for Communications, had resigned that week.” Just google “Al Jazeera and lawsuits” for much more.

Perhaps this every-which-way degringolade at Al Jazeera America will put you in mind of BridgesTV, the other Muslim television channel that was aimed at an American audience. It was founded in 2004 by a Pakistani-American, Muzzamil S. Hassan. His wife Aasiya had urged him to develop “an American Muslim media where her kids could grow up feeling really strong about their identity as an American Muslim.” BridgesTV, according to an early press release, “gives American Muslims a voice and will depict them in everyday, real life situations…..Every day on television we are barraged by stories of a ‘Muslim extremist, militant, terrorist, or insurgent.’ …But the stories that are missing are the countless stories of Muslim tolerance, progress, diversity, service and excellence that Bridges TV hopes to tell.” Those were the heady days of 2004; by February 2009, Muzzammil S. Hassan had decided that Aasiya just wouldn’t do, and he decapitated her right at the station while their two small children, strapped into their car seats, waited outside. BridgesTV shut for three months, then reopened and limped along for a while without its founder and CEO, but finally shut down for good in 2012.

Nothing quite so dramatic explains the demise of Al Jazeera America. Not Al Gore’s claims of its being “underhanded” and a “fraud,” not Shannon High-Bassalik’s claims that the station’s management “advances a pro-Arabic/Middle Eastern agenda often at the expense of Jewish people” and “invoked the conspiracy theory that the 9/11 terror attack was a CIA plot” and employed “blatantly discriminatory practices against women and non-Arab employees.”

Possibly the explanation for AJAM’s closure is to be found not in the failure of the station to attract much of anything except lawsuits, but in the colossal drop in the price of oil, and a slightly-less-colossal drop in the price of natural gas. Even rich little Qatar is affected. Whatever the reason for AJAM’s closing now, the news of that closing is something that I think — as I wrote in the second paragraph above — will cheer you, as it did me, up. God knows we all deserve it.

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One Florida man’s successful war against Al Jazeera

David Caton is soft spoken and looks like Clark Kent but to many he is Superman when it comes to taking on the Goliaths and winning. Caton is the Executive Director of the Florida Family Association (FFA).

David Caton is one man in Florida who has been single handedly waging a war against Al Jazeera.

Procter & Gamble products.

CurrentTV officially became Al Jazeera America and started airing Al Jazeera content on August 20, 2013. Because of the efforts of FFA all major companies except Procter & Gamble stopped advertising on CurrentTV before its official name change to Al Jazeera America. One hundred eighteen (118) companies stop advertising.

According to Caton, “Florida Family Association tapes ten hours of programing on Al Jazeera America every day. The Florida Family Association office communicates with each advertiser no less than once per week. This monitoring effort and contact with companies influenced 105 companies to stop advertising on Al Jazeera America.”

“Companies that continue to advertise after receiving emails from the Florida Family Association office are categorized as a major corporation, smaller company or non-profit organization (free) and rated from most frequent to least frequent.  Florida Family Association features the top advertisers in email campaigns and web articles.  Major companies were targeted one at a time because there were so few of them.  Some smaller companies, even with frequent ads, may never be targeted with a campaign because of their inferior reputation,” states Caton.

The Florida Family Association launched twelve email campaigns that were all successful in influencing the thirteen companies to stop advertising on Al Jazeera America thanks to thousands of emails sent by FFA supporters.  All of the following companies, targeted in an email campaign, stopped advertising:  ADT, Allstate, Chrysler Group (Dodge Dart, Fiat) E-Trade, Foster Grant, Hershey, KIA, Nestle (Gerber Life Insur. Co.), Pfizer, Reckitt Benckiser plc, Red Lobster and Reputation.com.

The power of the internet is not unlike Superman’s super powers.

Caton states, “Regardless of how much oil money Al Jazeera spends to keep their American channel alive corporate America must be vigorously challenged not to support the channel.”

ABOUT THE FLORIDA FAMILY ASSOCIATION:

The Florida Family Association is a national organization that is made up of thousands of supporters across America who share in the same goal of defending American values and improving America’s moral environment.  These supporters send more than one million emails every month to Corporate America officials associated with issues posted on this web site.  Florida Family Association’s accomplishments are a direct result of the dedicated people across the country who support the efforts of this organization.

RELATED:

Snowden Document: NSA Spied On Al Jazeera Communications – DER SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International

Egyptian Court’s Bold Move Against Al Jazeera

The following one hundred eighteen (118) companies stopped advertising on Al Jazeera America:

21st Century Insur. Co.
ABC network promotions
Acorn Stairlifts, Inc.
ADT
Allstar Products (Buyperfectpancake.com,Getforevercomfy.com, Sidesocket.com)
Allstate
American International Group (AIG Direct)
AmeriStar Tax Center
Amgen (Enbrel)
Anthony Huffman (Approvedcolleges.com)
Approved Colleges
Arriva Medical
BASF
Beachbody, LLC (P90X, Rockinbody.com, Try10now.com)
Beezid
Binder and Binder Law Firm
Blue Buffalo (True Blue Test)
Bosley Hair
Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Certified Financial Planner Board
(Letsmakeaplan.com)
Chrysler Corporation (Dodge Dart, Fiat)
Consumer Cellular (Exclusively at AARP)
Craftmatic Adjustable Beds
Credit Kharma
Custom Ink (Trycustomink.com)
Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster)
Denny’s,
DeVry University
Dollar Shave Club
Dr. Pepper (A&W Rootbeer, Dr. Pepper)
DreamBrands MDrive
E*Trade
Earth School  Educational Foundation(Carbonnationamovie.com)
EncoreDental (Ageon USA, Inc.)
Esurance
EveryMemorabilia.com,
Exceptional Products, Inc. (Getcellens.com)
Expedia.com
FabriClear
Fast Auto Loans, Inc.
Fernando Becattini (Getneaterneeder.com)
Floororthopedic.com
Foster Grant
General Mills (Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Fiber One, Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamed Vegetables, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Nature Valley Crunchy Granola, Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Pillsbury Grand Biscuits, Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, Progresso Soup, Totino’s Pizza, Trix, Yoplait)
Global Wireless Entertainment (Skinit.com)
Greenlight Financial Services
Harvest Direct (Buycuttingedge.com, Go Go Pillow)
Healingsmith (Eczenil)
Heineken
Hershey
Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc. (AccuCheck)
Home Box Office (Strikeback on Cinemax)
Home Delivery Incontinent Supplies Company (HDIS.COM)
Honda North America
Hoveround
Hubbard Media Group (Reelz.com)
iCan Benefit
Ideastream Consumer Products
(Buymagictape.com)
IdeaVillage Products (Microtouchmax.com)
Ilva Saronna SPA (Disaronno)nvent Help
James C. Ferrell, PC
Jay Mebane (Getthunderleash.com)
Johnson & Johnson (Rogaine, Skinid)
JP Morgan Chase (Chase Ink)
KIA
Kiva Microfunds
LaserSpine Institute
Lawyers Works
Lesson Nine GmbH (Babbel.com)
Liberator Medical Holdings (cath.com)
Life Alert
Little Caesar
Luminosity
Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (X-Men Destiny)
Microsoft (Bing)
Microtouchmagic.com
Mr. Lid,
National Collector’s Mint
NBC network promotion
Nestle (Gerber Life Insur. Company)
News Corp. (The Following)
Oasis Legal Finance LLC
Pfizer
Plymouth Direct
PODS
Pulaski and Middleman, LLC (PMMESO.com)
Q.E.P., Inc. (Getinstagrip.com)
Quicken  Loans
Range Rover
Reckitt Benckiser, plc (Airwick, Cepacol, Clearasil, Delsym, Finish, Finish Power Up, Lime Away, Lysol, Mucinex, Resolve Bright and White, Resolve Easy Clean, Rid X, Scalpicin and Woolite),
Reputation.com
Samsung Electronics (Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy  Camera)
Scion (Toyota)
Select Quote
Senior Life Insur. Company
Shakespeare Co. LLC (Pivotrim.com)
Shell
Simplex Healthcare (Diabetescareclub.com)
St. Jude Children’s Hospital
State Farm
Steve Tolman (Buyeazycovers.com)
Sweetdreamblackberries.com
TD Ameritrade
The Weather Channel Reel Rivals promotion
Turner Broadcasting (CNN promos)
T-VScissors.com
United Benefits Direct
United Stated Department of
Energy (Energysaves.gov)
United States Marine Corps
United Way
Vapore (Trymypuremist.com)
Verizon
Viacom (Centric network, Star Trek into Darkness, WWZ)
Vistaprint
Wounded Warrior Project
Ziprecruiter.com

Advertising time as of August 20, 2013 was used for the following:

Percent of 
Subjects commercial time
Network and cable company promotions 18%
Free ads for non-profits
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation 2%
Fannie Mae (Makinghomeaffordable.com) 1%
Habitat for Humanity 1%
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America IAVA 2%
Volunteers of America (Actionteam.org) 1%
   Total free ads 7%
Small companies
A Place for Mom 1%
CashAmerica International, Inc. (Cashnetusa.com) 7%
Connect America (Medical Alert) 3%
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services 1%
E. Kenneth Wall & Associates 2%
Endless Pools 3%
Guthy-Renker Corporation (Proactive and Mycleanpc.com) 23%
Hampton Direct (Chillow, WaxVac) 11%
Kowa Corp. (Okinawa Life) 2%
Neat Company (Tryneat.com) 2%
Radiancy (Trynono) 3%
REVshare (Tax10000.com) 1%
Swift Maintenance Supply (Flex seal) 4%
Telebrands (Aeroknife.com, Greatkitchensecrets.com,
      Kansascitypocketwatch.com, Orgreenic, Pestcures,
      Stone Wave Cooker) 7%
Wipenew.com 5%
   Total small companies 75%