From the Feb. 21, 2013, edition of “Viewpoint.”
I was watching Fox News yesterday because I’m a thinker. And I happened to be watching Megyn Kelly when I heard some alarming news about the folks at Al Jazeera America — the people who just bought this channel.
[From Fox]: “There’s a real anti-American bias there, and yet they’re about to infiltrate America. … They’re expanding to eight cities, one of them being Detroit, Mich. Detroit, Mich., is a large ex-pat community of Muslim Americans where sleeper cells have been detected.”
Ah, Megyn Kelly. How can someone so smart and so pretty have a show that’s so stupid and so ugly?
But if this little bit of TV gold illustrates something, it’s why Fox News is truly a mecca for people who hate Mecca.
So let’s get a few things straight. First, Ms. Daftari, right there, the correspondent, complained that Qatari petro-dollars are funding this here network. Well, I gotta say, I love it when the people who brought us George W. Bush warn us of the evils of oil money. So I could tell you about all the petro-chemical dollars Fox News boss Rupert Murdoch makes from his many investments, but I don’t want to upset him because I don’t feel like getting my phone hacked.
So I’ll just mention a name you don’t hear too often on Fox, that of Saudi Arabian Prince Walid bin Talal. He is the second-largest shareholder in News Corp. — the No. 2 guy at Fox News — and where do you think he got his money?
And it’s true, as contributor Lisa Daftari just pointed out, that there are many Muslims in the state of Michigan. They’re not sleeper cells. They’re hardworking people who came to America to escape oppression and seek a better life — even if that life includes being slapped in the face by ignorant race-baiting McCarthyite neo-cons like Ms. Daftari on Fox News.
So now, let us move, if you will, on to Al Jazeera America. The parent company is headquartered in Doha, Qatar, or Qatar, depending on how ignorant you are.
John Fugelsang: What do you call it, Dean?
Dean Obeidallah: Either way I’ve heard it.
John Fugelsang: It’s good to have a Muslim friend around.
Now, Fox News viewers may be shocked to learn this, but Qatar is in fact an important American ally. During the beginning of the so-called war on terror, they offered the U.S. and its allies use of their air base, and America currently has three bases there. President George Bush visited Qatar in 2003 — or, if you’re Megyn Kelly, infiltrated it.
And you know who else has infiltrated Qatar? Texas A&M University. They’ve got a campus there, just like Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown and Northwestern, thus combining two things Fox News hates — Muslims and education.
Now, my experience with Al Jazeera America so far has been very limited. The ones I’ve met have been extremely nice people. And I say some pretty edgy things on this show and no one from Al Jazeera America has ever tried to curtail my First Amendment rights. So while John Boehner and congressional Republicans try to obstruct any economic progress because they’re afraid it might make Barack Obama look good, Al Jazeera America is doing something the GOP seemingly can’t do — they’re creating lots and lots of jobs. For Americans.
They’re not here to push an anti-American bias, they’re here because they want to do news. And I’m not a journalist — although I play one on TV — but they do news very well. It was a Republican, Colin Powell, who told my former boss Mr. Gore that Al Jazeera was one of the news networks he watched and trusted.
Now, I don’t think the people who run Fox are bigots. They’re businesspeople. Businesspeople who pay on-camera people to smear Muslim people so bigoted viewing people can please the ratings people.
Stupid talk for stupid racists by very smart executives. And if that’s the kind of programming Fox wants, I get it. I’m a capitalist. But I have a Muslim cousin, a Jewish sister-in-law, an atheist brother and an ex-nun mother. So I don’t get to hate on anybody.