In the wake of the terror attacks on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, countless journalists and media personalities stood in solidarity with the murdered cartoonists. While not all - including Glenn - agreed with the content of the magazine, no one could deny their right to mock. But one organization, Qatar-funded Al-Jazeera, took a decidedly different tone behind closed doors. Internal communications leaked this week which showed conflict between staff based in Qatar and the reporters in America. Glenn analyzed the e-mails on radio this morning and wondered just how anyone could call Al-Jazeera a real news organization.
Salah-Aldeen Khadr, executive producer for Al-Jazeera English, questioned whether the cartoonists were really taking a stand or simply being "infantile" and even making it about them. He wrote, "And within a climate where violent response—however illegitimate—is a real risk, taking a goading stand on a principle virtually no one contests is worse than pointless: it’s pointlessly all about you."
U.S.-based correspondent Tom Ackerman shot back by quoting a New York Times article (emphasis added):
If a large enough group of someone is willing to kill you for saying something, then it’s something that almost certainly needs to be said, because otherwise the violent have veto power over liberal civilization, and when that scenario obtains it isn’t really a liberal civilization any more….liberalism doesn’t depend on everyone offending everyone else all the time, and it’s okay to prefer a society where offense for its own sake is limited rather than pervasive. But when offenses are policed by murder, that’s when we need more of them, not less, because the murderers cannot be allowed for a single moment to think that their strategy can succeed.
Another Qatar employee, reporter Mohamed Vall, wrote, "And I guess if you encourage people to go on insulting 1.5 billion people about their most sacred icons then you just want more killings because as I said in 1.5 billion there will remain some fools who don’t abide by the laws or know about free speech."
Vall later added "I condemn those heinous killings, but I AM NOT CHARLIE".
Glenn couldn't believe this was a network being treated as real news by cable providers and politicians like Hillary Clinton.
"If you were working at Al Jazeera and you thought, well, this is a serious news place and everything else and I'm not working for the enemy, and you got this memo, you're hanging lights at Al Jazeera, how do you go into work the next day? How do you do it? DirecTV, tell me, how do you guys keep these guys on the air?" Glenn asked.
Featured image courtesy of the AP.