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January 7, 2013 10:29 am

Al Jazeera USA: Not Good for the Jews

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: wiki commons.

This week has been an interesting week to observe the media and public relations moves of foreign governments:

In the “it’s not good for the Jews” category, Al Jazeera announced they had reached a deal to buy Al Gore’s Current TV. Reportedly paying up to $500 million dollars, the Arab owned Al Jazeera station will be broadcast in over 40 million American households. For all the talk of Jewish control of the media, here is a Muslim backed station that will now launch in a major way in mainstream America?  Besides our “honorary Jew” Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News there is surely no TV network with tells Israel’s narrative like Al Jazeera does for the Arab world.

It is interesting to note that when Al Jazeera was founded they received a $147 million subsidy from the Qatari government; the station continues to operate under the patronage of the Emir of Qatar and his family. According to a congressional report Al Jazeera receives approximately $100 million annually in Qatari subsidies. A money-losing venture requires very deep pockets.  The station is now available in over 130 countries – and it presents professional, well done television. Throughout the years, there has been a lot of talk about a “Jewish Al Jazeera” or a  global Jewish TV network with high production value – yet nothing on Al Jazeera’s scale has materialized.

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Owning a PR agency, I know that Al Jazeera will be a force to be reckoned with.  They will have offices all over the US, and over 300 employees by the end of 2013.  Not surprisingly, many in the Jewish world expressed concern. Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein said that Al Jazeera coverage “has served to destabilize regimes and favor some of the more extremist elements in the Arab world.”

This won’t bode well for Israeli public relations – one wonders if Al Jazeera will accept ads from those representing pro-Israel viewpoints, or even Jewish charities like the JNF or Kars 4 Kids. It would be a great PR stunt for a Jewish organization if their ads were accepted and ran – or if they were denied. All in all, it’s not good news for Israel’s branding.

In the world of public relations stunts, Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled off a brilliant maneuver this week granting French actor Gerard Depardieu honorary citizenship after Depardieu decided to flee France, due to their 75% millionaire’s tax. Hundreds of media stories ran on the topic, and now the world knows that Russia has a 13% tax rate. Russia’s Vice-Prime Minister tweeted: “In the West, they don’t know about the substance of our taxation system. When they find out, there will be a mass migration of rich Europeans to Russia.”

Great PR for Russia, usually in the media for less than favorable stories when it comes to business. (Although I don’t imagine that wealthy Russians will be fleeing Israel to return to Russia).

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.

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  • Hwang

    Visiting Thailand about 3 years ago, I couldn’t locate CNN on the TV. For English speaking news, I had only a choice between Fox News and Al Jareeza.

    Thailand was in turmoil with martial law, Red Shirt protests, and mysterious snipers.

    Al Jareeza with its Australian commentators seemed a lot saner and more objective than Fox News. I am not sure Americans are getting much reality from anyone these days. Al Jareeza may not hurt.

    CNN seems to have become a patron of lost causes rather than

  • Jeffrey Justin

    Ruport Murdoch an “Honorary Jew”?????Al Jazeera American television is a separate entity from The Arabic version which has some of the best Mid -East news with interviews aith Benjamin Netanyahu on numerous occasions as well as Peres, Livnii and Barak to name a few . .WhenI want to see the most Anti-Semitic Arab broadcasting all you have to do is go to Memri.com to see Al Jazeera biggest competitor “Rotana TV” owned 80% by Prince Al Ben Tallal and his partner who owns 20% is none other than Rupert Murdoch, if you want to see see Jew baiting Clerics repeating the blood libel claims that put other Anti-Semites to shame,ask Rupert what channel “Rotana ” is on

  • grandiosely

  • Was Goebbels good for the Jews? Was Der Sturmer good for Jews? AL JEZEERA is no different…As Winston Churchill said in 1948 in THE GATHERING STORM:..” MEIN KAMPF was the new KORAN. “

  • The Truth

    Besides our “honorary Jew” Rupert Murdoch – Love that. He is indeed a great Israel supporter.

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