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A "Broad Spectrum" of Bullshit 

Published June 13, 2008 at 4:42 p.m.

Have any lingering doubt that it's all over but the shouting on the Burlington Telecom — Al Jazeera dust up?

See Haik Bedrosian, who calls out Jamie Zeppernick of the Defenders Council of Vermont for his claim that the network "incites hatred and it incites violence."

This is quite a claim, so I wrote to Mr. Zeppernick and asked if he had any evidence.  Here is his reply:

"Good day,

Ihave offered only a fractional amount of evidence at our events on the9th and 10th of June. Further evidence is readily accessible from doingyour own objective research on the issue. An exploration of the publicrecord using a broad spectrum of resources will provide you with thebest results.

Thank you and please let me know if you have further questions about our organization.

Jamie Zeppernick

For what it's worth, this morning, a couple of Seven Days folks were chewing over why this debate reached such a fever pitch in Burlington. Is it because Burlington is uniquely tolerant of a wide range of viewpoints and therefore more sensitive to efforts to quash those views?

I tend to believe we'd have surely heard of similar controversies elsewhere if AJE had managed to crack more than two cable markets in the U.S. As it is, aside from here and someplace in Ohio, AJE simply isn't there to be taken off the air in the first place.

What do you think?

By the way, if you haven't seen it yet, check out Ken Picard's Q&A with Josh Rushing, a former Marine Corps press officer who is now an Aj-Jazeera reporter.

Here's a taste, vis-a-vis Zeppernick's charges:

Seven Days: [Donald Rumsfled] accused Al Jazeera of showing beheadings.
Josh Rushing: They have never shown a beheading, and that’s a very simplefact that’s easy to prove. The European papers that printed that havesince apologized for it.

SD: What about the allegation that your network is amouthpiece for Osama bin Laden and typically is the first to air histhreats against Americans?
JR: Al Qaeda used to send its tapes to Al Jazeera, but thatdoesn’t happen anymore. Anyone who’s watched in the last year and ahalf [knows that] those messages show up online first. And they do thatbecause they’re frustrated with Al Jazeera . . . Bin Laden has calledAl Jazeera pro-Western, pro-Zionist. [Ayman] al-Zawahiri, the founderof Al Qaeda in Iraq, called for attacks against Al Jazeera in Iraq fornot calling his movement a Mujahideen. So, the people who say AlJazeera is the mouthpiece of Al Qaeda are not reading anything that AlQaeda is saying.

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Brian Wallstin


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