OPINION: Al Jazeera Has No Place In The Conservative Movement

QATAR - OCTOBER 13: "Al Jazeera" The Arab World'S Counterpart To Cnn On October 13Th, 2001 In Doha, Qatar. Al Jazeera Logo On Screen. (Photo by Gilles BASSIGNAC/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Gilles BASSIGNAC/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

As conservative media continues to grow in popularity and influence, many are trying to capitalize on it, looking to hop on the bandwagon. But conservatives should be wary of the latest Right-wing outlet that’s popped up: Al Jazeera’s new subsidiary, Rightly.

Rightly says it aims to “broaden and elevate the political discourse shaping the U.S.” and claims to be backed by “one of the most respected media brands in the world.” Although, Al Jazeera is anything but respectable.

Rightly is a right-wing subsidiary of Al Jazeera, an outlet funded by the Qatari government that has a troubling past of anti-Americanism and antisemitism and has regularly promoted Islamic terrorist propaganda.

In 2008, Al Jazeera threw an on-air birthday party — with cake, music, and fireworks — for a terrorist. The terrorist was recently released from prison for kidnapping an Israeli father and daughter, before fatally shooting the father and killing the child by smashing the four-year-old’s skull with the butt of his rifle.

Al Jazeera continues to allow extremists and members of the U.S. designated terrorist group, Hamas, on its platform. Hamas adores Al Jazeera so much that they honored the platform last month with a certificate for their “highly professional” coverage of the latest Israel-Gaza conflict. There are also credible accusations of Al Jazeera working with the Muslim Brotherhood on top of airing a show for a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s important to note that Qatar helps fund Hamas and allegedly helps fund Hezbollah.

In 2015 after a terrorist attack in Libya, a leaked email surfaced from an Al Jazeera executive who warned his employees to no longer use terms such as “terrorist,” “militants,” or “extremist.” “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter,” he wrote to his staff.

On the other hand, Al Jazeera routinely calls terrorists “martyrs” and even broadcasts their funerals, which they call “spectacular.”

Al Jazeera has marooned itself as, perhaps, the only publication funded by an Islamic nation that regularly publishes articles friendly to transgenderism, LGBTQ+ causes, and “racial justice.” But let’s not forget that in Qatar, homosexuality can be punishable by prison time or even death for Muslims.

In 2018, Al Jazeera was credibly accused of spying on Jewish Americans, causing Congress to launch an investigation. According to the Washington Free Beacon, Al Jazeera “conducted a months-long spy operation on a slew of American and pro-Israel officials” for a documentary “on supposed Jewish influence in the U.S. government.” And in 2019, Al Jazeera’s AJ+ published a Holocaust-denying video that claimed the “Zionist movement” blew it “out of proportion.”

To make matters even worse, Al Jazeera’s subsidiary, AJ+, was ordered by the Department of Justice to register as a foreign agent last year for “acting at the direction and control” of the Qatari government.

The DOJ cited the Foreign Agents Registration Act, claiming that AJ+ “has engaged and is still engaged in political activities within the United States and has acted and continues to act as a publicity agent within the United States, on behalf of the Government of Qatar and Al Jazeera Media Network.” As of March, Al Jazeera has continued to ignore the DOJ and has not registered as a foreign agent.

Al Jazeera is not only funded by the Qatari government but has several ruling family members in senior positions. The influence of the Qatari government on the outlet has been rightfully questioned many times over the years.

Rightly itself is still fairly small, but it appears to be attempting to buy its way into the right-wing audience. Their Youtube channel has under 3,000 subscribers yet boasts tens of thousands of views on their videos — a potential sign of significant advertising spending. According to a source, they pay guests who already have larger online followings, to come on their podcast, and are actively recruiting conservatives for new podcasts.

The outlet has hosted several reputable and admirable conservatives on their programs. However, I question if those guests have reflected on the platform they are helping to build by doing so.

This is not as simple as going on an outlet you disagree with — such as CNN to debate — even though there are a few similar foreign-run outlets that conservatives avoid like the plague. By going on Rightly’s podcast, these conservatives lend their credibility and audience to an outlet that does not deserve it.

I understand that many young conservatives are looking for a platform to express views they’re passionate about. This ambition is respectable and important. However, aiding Al Jazeera and the Qatari government in their effort to gain influence within the conservative movement is antithetical to what the movement should stand for and believe in. While Al Jazeera may give Rightly “creative control” now, there’s no telling what material they’ll ask hosts to promote when they actually have their heels dug into a larger and loyal conservative audience.

We should continue growing conservative media by lifting each other up, not by accepting dirty money from nefarious sources.

Kassy Dillon is the digital director for Stand for America and founder of Lone Conservative. She has a master’s degree in public policy with a focus on international relations and American politics.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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