Minutemen Say No to Al Jezeera TV

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, an anti-illegal immigration organization that patrols the border in Arizona, has refused another interview request by Al-Jazeera TV, calling it a “terrorist TV station.”
Little Green Footballs had the story.

“The Minutemen volunteers, many of them Vietnam, Korean and World War II veterans, said they would leave camp if the Arab news organization, which some described as “anti-American,” was given access to the site.

Al-Jazeera has attracted millions of viewers throughout the Arab world with its coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and its airing of tapes of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. But Al-Jazeera’s growing popularity also brought it greater scrutiny. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accused the Qatar-based network of encouraging militants by airing hostage executions. And Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly branded it a “propaganda network…bent on encouraging violence and sympathetic to terrorists.”

Local journalism professors defended Al-Jazeera.

“With constant news that Middle Easterners may try to slip through Mexico, it’s no wonder that an Arab news channel would also be interested,” said Alan Weisman, a University of Arizona journalism professor.

“Al-Jazeera is a legitimate news organization. If we have the right to go into Middle Eastern countries to cover issues, why on earth shouldn’t we allow them to come here, particularly since we allege that Middle Easterners might try to cross the border? That’s a story of great journalistic interest,” Weisman told reporters.