updated 9/15/2003 9:07:10 AM ET 2003-09-15T13:07:10

Al Jazeera repeatedly played a propaganda tape apparently made by one of the 9/11 killers months before the attacks. It talks about forcing all the infidels to convert to Islam, other threatening nonsense. Earlier in the week a different tape of bin Laden mysteriously ended up on Al-Jazeera.

Al Qaeda has clearly found a media home at Al-Jazeera. Any time they want to put out propaganda, threats, video, they know they can safely turn to their boys at Al-J. No questions asked, no moral judgments made. Now, Jazeera tries to compare themselves to Western media operations calling themselves “independent, unbiased and unafraid,” they say, to criticize American policy. The problem? It is biased to suggest the U.S. and al Qaeda are two equal warring parties. Al Qaeda is a self-admitted criminal enterprise. They proudly sponsor murder and mayhem.

They’re nothing more than a ragtag group with few goals beyond destroying the world as we know it. By refusing to treat them as such, by suggesting they’re just one side of an issue, Al-Jazeera is falsely portraying al Qaeda as some sort of legitimate organization. It would be akin to a U.S. media organization regularly providing airtime to supporters of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and saying “Well you know, they have one view of killing innocents, but others view it differently.” I must say I wasn’t surprised when an Al-Jazeera reporter was charged this week in Spain accused of being a member of al Qaeda.

Al-Jazeera has claimed the prosecution is politically motivated. I wonder whether the reporter’s job with Al-Jazeera was politically motivated, whether his job simply facilitated his ability to help the terror effort. Al-Jazeera claims this sort of arrest threatens the free press everywhere. I would say at least as dangerous to a free press would be a terrorist hiding behind the cloak of journalism. If people fear that journalists may not be what they seem, that puts all of us at grave risk. I hope that Al-Jazeera will finally recognize that terror is not just a political point of view, but I won’t hold my breath.

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