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The Enemy’s Propaganda, 24/7

I know of only one place in the United States of America where continuous access to al-Jazeera, the pro-terrorist propaganda outlet which releases all of Osama bin Laden’s videos, is available. That place is Dartmouth, which offers it for free, around the clock, to anyone with a computer or a television. We have special satellite arrangements to get it; we pay extra. A crusted, muddied white dish at the extreme north end of campus picks up the feed, a rack of faithful old RF amplifiers distribute the signal to thousands of coaxial connections in every room on campus, and a newer rack of MPEG encoders make it available to anyone on the Ethernet network. It is an expensive, complex operation. But then again, hearing about how the imperialist Americans are losing the war in Iraq to the freedom fighters at the top of every hour is important.

Regular folk in houses and apartments, who cut a massive check to Comcast each month, cannot get al-Jazeera. Time Warner subscribers cannot get it. DirecTV subscribers cannot get it. Adelphia subscribers cannot get it. Charter subscribers are out of luck, as are Cox users. Partly, this is because no one actually attaches value to al-Jazeera’s pro-terrorist news coverage. Partly, it is because cable companies would probably feel awfully dirty if they brought such pap into the United States. (Witness EchoStar, the only television provider in the United States which was even willing to talk to al-Jazeera about possibly providing its watered-down International version. And once that hit the news, they seem to be backing off.)

But most importantly, most folks in America cannot get al-Jazeera because al-Jazeera is a massive security risk. It is broadcast over satellite, which means that, while it takes an institutional infrastructure like Dartmouth’s to receive, it is not censored by the United States government. When Osama bin Laden gives al-Jazeera his latest videos, they go on the air immediately. They only play on America’s cable news channels and major networks, the way we are used to seeing them, after being thoroughly vetted by both the networks and our intelligence community to ensure that they contain no hidden signals or cues. Al-Jazeera plays them raw because, of course, if they contained any signals, the staff there would want them to go through.

No point here. I’m just ranting. Wouldn’t you?


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