Al Jazeera is carried on 28 Public TV stations funded by U.S. taxpayers



Email to college board member about Al Jazeera on WDSC-TV


From: Jerry Kenney
Date: July 23, 2010 4:58:21 PM EDT
To: John Tanner, Trustee of Daytona State College

Subject: WDSC "WorldView" Programming

Mr. Tanner:

A few days ago while channel surfing, I discovered that WDSC is broadcasting Al Jazeera English and RT (Russia Today) on Channel 15-3 over the air and on channel 1152 on Brighthouse. Both are on 7 days per week [Al Jazeera at 7 P.M. and RT (Russia Today) at 6 P.M. and again at 11 P.M.].

I find this programming to be offensive to me as an American and inconsistent with the production guidelines and mission of public broadcasting. I do not believe that American taxpayers should be forced to even partially fund the distribution of another country's state-run propaganda, distortion and outright lies.

Mr. Dunn, the station manager, informed me during a phone call that WDSC has been airing the programs for free since July 2008. Both programs are part of the Mhz World View network that is carried on only a few stations in the US  . Here is a link to the network's website.

World View, Al Jazeera and Russia Today have had a very hard time getting cable and TV carriage in the U.S. for obvious reasons. However, Karen, WDSC's program director and Mr. Dunn both informed me that they have no problem airing the programs.

Mr. Dunn seemed very proud that he beat out the Orlando PBS station for it. Maybe the Orlando station was wise enough not to want it. Not surprisingly, most, if not all, of the stations broadcasting the network are public TV stations. I am sure that all of them air it at no charge as well. (Rupert Murdoch had to pay the cable companies roughly 20 to 25 cents per subscriber per month for carriage when he first started Fox News Channel).

Here are two sample clips from random programs. They may take some time to download, but they will give you a good idea of what we are dealing with. They are a little long because I don't want to be accused of taking things out of context:  (in this clip, a retired CIA agent likens the U.S. to Fascism)  (in this clip, Harry Truman, George Bush and Dick Cheney are alleged to be war criminals)

Aside from the obvious "hate-America" message of these programs, I believe that it is very bad business for a college TV station that relies heavily on donations to support programming that will clearly offend and that will eventually result in lower donations and possibly lower government funding once the public understands the true nature of the programming. WDSC has two other educational stations competing against it for membership dollars within the same viewing area.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for the free exchange of ideas, I just feel that Russia and Qatar should use their own dime to get their message on TV and our own government should not force Florida's taxpayers to subsidize them.

I believe that this programming also clearly violates the content guidelines for PBS programming producers which sets priority for the content to be "accurate and contemporary". What benefit is there to the public to knowingly distribute falsehoods and lies?

There are other more appropriate outlets for such programming on TV. The Communications Act of 1996 requires cable companies to sell air time to anyone who requests it and is not affiliated with the cable company (47 C.F.R. §§ 76.970 through 76.977). Only obscenity, indecency and nudity are prohibited. Free speech reigns.

Let the Russians and Al Jazeera buy their air time from the cable companies to spread their propaganda just like anyone else who is selling soap, cars or infomercials.

Thank you,
Jerry Kenney



  Video Clips

(in this clip, a retired CIA agent likens the U.S. to Fascism)
(in this clip, Harry Truman, George Bush and Dick Cheney are alleged to be war criminals)







News coverage of this story

Supporting Material
Update ...
In 2011, I made a request of the U.S. Department of Justice that they determine if Al Jazeera English and Russia Today were required to register as Foreign Agents as per the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.