Link TV, a satellite channel describing itself as the
first national network
presenting viewpoints seldom covered in the U.S.
media, is currently trying to expand its distribution on campuses and in
communities throughout the United States by promoting its programming to cable
and satellite television consumers. Its flagship program is Mosaic: World
News from the Middle East, a daily compendium of selected clips from
Middle East news broadcasts, including Hezbollahs Al Manar TV, state-run
Arabic networks such as United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi TV, Egyptian Nile
TV, Syrian satellite TV, and, occasionally, Israel Broadcasting Authority TV.
In addition, Mosaic airs specials on issues like the
road map, the Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal sponsored by the
United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.
Mosaic is described by its producers as a
raw material show without editorial input. Viewers tune in to hear
suicide bombings within Israel described as martydom operations
carried out by Palestinian resistance groups meant to avenge
aggression and massacres committed by the occupation forces. The
producers maintain that the news broadcasts represent the stories and
programming that millions of Middle East viewers see on their television sets
While such exposure offers a window to the region for
Americans, Mosaic fails to contribute to greater understanding of
the Arab world because it presents news clips without context and without full
disclosure of whose perspectives the broadcasters are presenting. For example,
someone consulting the Mosaic Web site to find out who is behind
Lebanons Al Manar TV would learn that it is controlled by the
Shiite fundamentalist movement Hezbollah...which holds a number of elected
positions in the Lebanese government and that its mission is to
preserve the Islamic values and to enhance the civilized role of the Arab and
Islamic community. What is not mentioned is that Hezbollah is on the U.S.
State Departments list of designated foreign terrorist organizations and
that, until Sept. 11, 2001, it held the record for murdering more Americans
than any other terror group.
Sponsored by Iran and Syria, Hezbollah is responsible for
numerous deadly assaults against Americans, Israelis and other Westerners,
including a series of kidnappings in the 1980s, the 1983 bombing of U.S. Marine
barracks in Lebanon which killed 241, the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, and
attacks on Jewish targets in Argentina in the 1990s resulting in 124 deaths.
More recently, Hezbollah has been implicated in the kidnapping and murder of
Israelis and in funding and assisting Palestinian terrorist groups.
Neither does Mosaic disclose that Al Manar TV is
Hezbollahs main propaganda engine, whose admitted mission is to
wage psychological warfare against the Zionist enemy. Al Manar
producers boast of creating programming to recruit Palestinian suicide bombers.
Recently, its rhetoric has expanded to include anti-Americanism and blatant
anti-Semitism. Shiite scholar Amal Saad-Ghorayeb contends that anti-Judaism, in
addition to anti-Zionism, is integral to Hezbollah ideology. And, in an
interview with the New Yorkers Jeffrey Goldberg, Ibrahim
Mussawi, director of English-language news for Al Manar, labeled Jews a
lesion on the forehead of history. The question is why Mosaic
producers are obscuring Al Manars extremist agenda.
In contrast, Washington, D.C.-based MEMRI, Middle East Media
Research Institute (www.memri.org), introduces its translations of the Arabic
press with objective background information and produces analyses of political,
ideological, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East. Unlike
MEMRIs news consumer, Mosaic viewers may well have difficulty
distinguishing truth from propaganda.
Mosaic is similarly deceptive in its special
about the Quartets road map, which purports to provide
a current snapshot of the ongoing process...through a mixture of balanced
discussion, perspective, and unfiltered videotaped segments from the leading
broadcasters in the Middle East. The co-producers of Mosaic,
Palestinian Jamal Dajani and Israeli David Michaelis, are joined as panelists
in the special by Diana Buttu, legal advisor to the Palestinian Liberation
Organization, and Hebrew University professor Moshe Maoz, signatory to a
controversial petition sponsored by the far-left Gush Shalom organization.
Contrary to the promotional claims, the videotape footage is
hardly unfiltered, nor are the self-appointed arbiters of
road map progress balanced. The video segments reflect
a primarily Palestinian perspective and the panel discussion is dominated by
Buttu, who remains unchallenged as she builds arguments upon outright
falsehoods. For example, she supports her claim that Palestinian suicide
bombings are a direct result of Israeli military measures by emphatically
declaring that "if you look at the period of 1996 until the year 2000,
during the period of the Oslo peace process, from the year 1997 until the year
2000, not a single Israeli died of a suicide bombing inside Israel, not a
In fact, 59 Israelis were killed by Palestinian suicide
bombers in 1996 alone. And 24 more were killed within Israel in six separate
Palestinian suicide bombings in the period of time Buttu describes. It is
striking that neither the moderator nor the other panelists challenge Buttu.
Elsewhere, Buttu asserts that 6000 Palestinian prisoners are
jailed in Israel not because theyve committed crimes but simply
because they are Palestinian. She ignores the thousands of members of
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups incarcerated in Israeli prisons
for involvement in violent attacks against Israelis. Again, no one challenges
Buttus outright lie.
Absent from this program are any mainstream Israeli
perspectives. Instead Mosaic co-producer Michaelis suggests that
building the security barrier is a lose-lose situation and that
Israeli settlers are a powerful extremist group whose opponents risk being
murdered. Likewise, Maoz frequently agrees with Buttu. Rather than
balancing her dubious charges against Israel with factual
rebuttals, he repeatedly expresses shame at Israels alleged wrongdoing.
Palestinian Mosaic co-producer Jamal Dajani professes support for a
bi-national state with an unlimited right of return for Palestinians; that is,
for the dismantling of Israel as a Jewish state.
With all the panelists unified in their condemnation of
Israel, one can hardly consider this a balanced presentation of facts or views.
Mosaic is a project of Internews, an
international non-profit organization and co-founder of World Link TV. The
organizations other Middle East activities include a program for training
journalists as stringers for Arab media, and AMIN (Arab Media Internet
Network), described as a watchdog for harassment of the press. A quick glance
at AMINs Web site (www.amin.org) reveals one-sided, distorted articles
with such partisan titles as Israels Security Wall: Another Land
Grab (December 2003), Israels Mass Robbery of Palestine
(Feb. 17, 2004), and 13 Innocent Palestinian Civilians and 6 Children
Killed in a Series of War Crimes Committed by Israeli Forces in Nablus
(Jan. 13, 2004). It is difficult to see how this site protects against
harassment of the press. Its articles can more accurately be construed as
incitement against Israel. Yet Internews claims to reduce conflict within
and between countries.
Internews, Mosaic, and Link TV are
interconnected, sharing some of the same directors and producers professing
similar lofty goals. As long as they continue to misrepresent the nature of the
materials they disseminate and to offer a distorted picture of the Middle East,
they raise serious questions about their use of the media and their true