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“But Soledad O’Brien, How Can You Take Money From A Patron of Islamists?” Jeff Dunetz of Truth Revolt sums up Hugh Hewitt’s eye-opening interview with the former MSNBC and CNN newsreader who is now sharing time producing and appearing on shows that air on the National Geographic channel, CNN, its sister network HBO — and Qatar-owned Al Jazeera:
Appearing on The Hugh Hewitt Radio Show to promote her upcoming special on CNN, Soledad O’Brien was asked how she could do freelance work for Al Jazeera, which is owned by Qatar, patron of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and ISIS. O’Brien obfuscated, first suggesting the U.S. was funding terrorism: “I think you could look at similar issues of what is funded in the United States,” followed by, “it’s not as straightforward as that.”
According to O’Brien, since Al Jazeera’s journalism is solid, it doesn’t matter that the country which owns the network is a financier of terrorism.
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Hewitt: “Businessweek” today has a story on Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera, and the headline calls Qatar a patron of Islamists. It says that Qatar funds and arms Islamists fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad and bankrolling Hamas in the Gaza Strip. So here’s an honest question. How can you take money from them?
O’Brien: You know, I think that there is a couple of different issues there, and I think you could look at similar issues of what is funded in the United States. To me, at the end of the day, we take a look at the journalism that is done. To me, I look at what the opportunities are and what is happening at Al Jazeera America, and the kinds of stories that they want to tell, and I don’t think anybody has said anything about their journalism at all. In fact, they’ve gotten incredibly high marks for their reporting. And thank God, I was not involved in that.
Hewitt: Well, I’m not raising that. It’s just that Qatar owns it and on CNN tonight, they’re running this helicopter footage which is, so you know, the people that Qatar funds are engaged in genocide against these Kurdistan, against the Yazidis. And I know that the journalism can be good, but if the funding for the journalism comes from a regime that is funding ISIS, does it creep you out?
O’Brien: Well, you know, I think again, at the end of the day, the thing that I think about is the journalism. And I think those are very complicated issues. They’re not as straightforward as that.
Hewitt: Is there anything that would cause you to say if Qatar was shown to be funding ISIS, would you quit Al Jazeera?
O’Brien: No, very rarely do I operate in hypotheticals. I certainly would take it under considerations, absolutely, as I take anything under consideration.
Huh. O’Brien certainly doesn’t mind using hypotheticals and “some says” when she’s grilling her guests, particularly those on the right-hand side of the aisle. Or in other words — how dare you commit journalism, Hewitt, and ask me a serious question about my ethics!
Which are certainly questionable. In 2008, O’Brien declared Obama mentor Rev. Wright’s racist speech to the NAACP “a home run,” while Wright gave cheerful shout-outs to both O’Brien and then fellow CNN talking head, the ascot-clad Roland Martin, in that same speech. In March of 2012, O’Brien presided over a CNN panel that attempted to portray then-Breitbart.com editor-in-chief Joel Pollak as a racist for his pushback against far left “Critical Race Theory,” which blew up badly in her face:
“CNN beclowns itself painting Breitbart editor-in-chief as racist.” Ed Morrissey writes at Hot Air:
Soledad O’Brien and her CNN panel manage to stumble into Contessa Brewer territory in this appearance by attempting to paint Breitbart.com editor-in-chief Joel Pollak as a racist for making a point about Barack Obama’s support for a proponent of “critical race theory” during his days at Harvard Law School. Joel ends up in an argument with a woefully unprepared O’Brien on the theory itself, but the actual facepalm moment goes to one of her panelists, who asks Joel why he’s so afraid of black people:
Only one problem, as Bryan Preston writes at the Tatler. “Joel Pollak’s wife is black. She’s from South Africa, actually, and her mother was a political appointee of none other than Nelson Mandela. Here she is, in video made when Pollak ran for Congress.”
In August of 2012, O’Brien was busted using a blog post from the far left Talking Points Memo on-air to attack a GOP defender of Paul Ryan’s budget plan.
Earlier this year, she was busted by representatives of the American Kennel Club for selectively editing their interview with O’Brien on HBO’s rather-ironically named Real Sports. The representatives of the AKC released an unedited version of the interview, which they videotaped separately, always a wise piece of insurance when dealing with anyone in the MSM.
O’Brien’s far left antics as a live show host were ratings poison for CNN, which is why, even though he’s entirely simpatico with her politics, she was eventually forced into producing programs for the graveyard shift when former NBC head honcho Jeff Zucker took the reigns — but her moral equivalence, racialism, and punitive far left worldview make her right at home at Al Jazeera, based on Eliana Johnson’s recent damning portrait of the bottom-feeding cable network at NRO:
On air, former CBS News correspondent and CNN anchor Joie Chen now anchors AJA’s flagship broadcast, America Tonight; John Seigenthaler, whose NBC News contract was not renewed several years ago as a cost-saving measure, now delivers the channel’s 8 p.m. evening newscast; Antonia Mora, the former Good Morning America news reader, now reads to a profoundly smaller audience; David Shuster, who landed at Current TV after he was forced out of MSNBC, serves as an anchor; Soledad O’Brien, one of the first to go when Jeff Zucker took the reins at CNN, is one of AJA’s “special correspondents”; Sheila MacVicar, laid off by ABC News and then by CBS News, is a correspondent. As is Mike Viqueira, whom NBC News would never let off the weekend White House shift. Lisa Fletcher, laid off by ABC News in 2010, is an anchor.
AJA has scooped up the same sort of refugees to work behind the scenes. The senior vice president for news gathering, Marcy McGinnis, was teaching journalism at Stony Brook University when AJA came knocking, after being forced out of CBS News. David Doss, the longtime executive producer of CNN’s AC360, was unemployed before he started at AJA in July. The pattern holds all the way on down to the network’s social-media editor, Jared Keller, who was fired by Bloomberg after text messages surfaced in which he complained about his job. His next stop? Al Jazeera America.
The situation is particularly poignant for Jewish producers, some of whom had to choose between unemployment and relatively well-paying work for a channel whose parent network has exhibited virulent anti-Semitism. A cynical joke making the rounds of television Jewry refers to “Jews for Jazeera,” a subtle play, of course, on “Jews for Jesus.”
Based on her past associations and actions, I doubt O’Brien has many twinges of guilt working there. They pay the bills and are quiet enemies of the US? Sounds perfect from her perspective.
Exit quote: “I appreciate you talking with me this morning, but I just have to say, your position completely boggles me, honestly. I just do not understand it.”
Related: “Qatari-Funded Journalist ‘Literally Never’ Watches Fox News Channel.” Huh — you’d think she’d want to (a) check out what the competition is up to and (b) keep up with their shows, just in case she needs to send out resumes. But then, as our exit quote above highlights, Soledad has always taken pride in her massive case of epistemic closure.