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Howard Mortman emailed with a post I thought was a joke until I clicked the link and found it was true. The Washington Story Howard linked is about how Dave Marash is now the news anchor for "AJE" the English-speaking version of al-Jazeera.
What's not to love about this story?
You have Marash, an American Jew, serving as front man for the most virulently anti-Semitic, anti-American propaganda organization in the world.
You have the liberal Marash taking money from Qatar's emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who is funding the new network with over a billion dollars in Middle East oil money.
The cast of characters involved is even better...
- Marash was a reporter for ABC News "Nightline" and as a sometime substitute host for Ted Koppel
- Marash's wife, Amy, who previously worked at MSNBC, is an AJE producer
- Riz Kahn, formerly of CNN and the BBC, will host a Larry King-style talk show
- Will Stebbins, former foreign correspondent for Associated Press Television News, heads up the AJE Washington bureau
Anyone suprrised that Al Jazeera's English speaking channel is being staffed with refugees from ABC News, CNN, MSNBC and the AP?
The WaPo reports that "the network has been unable to persuade a single U.S. or Canadian cable or satellite TV system to carry it". Boo-friggin-hoo.
Riz Kahn is quoted explaining this away by claiming the "principal U.S. objection to al-Jazeera is that it has been too frank in its reporting on American military power".
Perhaps. Or maybe it has something to do with al Jazeera being the primary outlet for al Qaeda, showing video of dead U.S. troops, whipping up anti-U.S. sentiment in the Middle East and among Mulsims around the world. It might even have something to do with the fact that Al-Jazeera journalist Tayseer Allouni was arrested and, last year, convicted in Spain of collaborating with al-Qaeda. Or that al-Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Hajj was arrested by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2001 and has been held at Guantanamo Bay for being a terrorist. Nah. It must be that "truth to power" thing.
The icing on the cake of this gem of a story is when we learn, towards the end, that among Marash's biggest fans is our own Keith Olbermann.
"Marash also has inspired a second generation of broadcasters. MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann said the newsman was "a revelation" to him when he was growing up in the early 1970s and Marash was doing sports in New York.
"Then they had him co-anchor the news in a completely deconstructed environment, inside the actual newsroom, in shirtsleeves, his lit cigar in the ashtray next to him," Olbermann says by e-mail. "And yet it was still credible and professional. [It] helped show me you didn't have to be a mannequin to do the news.""
Sounds like Keith may have a new home waiting for him when his pink slip arrives.