You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

breaking news

Waffle House co-founder dies a month after his partner

Ad citing Al Jazeera payments to Ossoff uses selective information


Jon Ossoff is a Democratic candidate to replace Republican Tom Price in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, a seat no Democrat has held since 1979.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, posted a web video that ties Ossoff to Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news organization.

The focus of this fact-check is the ad’s statement that Al Jazeera, “a mouthpiece for terrorists, has been paying Jon Ossoff thousands of dollars.”

The ad cites an article from the American Journalism Review, “The Al Jazeera Effect,” about the news organization’s strategy of getting on-the-ground camera footage and reporting in the early days of the Arab Spring protests. The article relays a variety of opinions that have been offered about Al Jazeera.

The ad chose this passage from that article: “For years, critics have assailed what they see as anti-Semitic, anti-American bias in the channel’s news content. In the wake of 9/11, Al Jazeera broadcast statements by Osama bin Laden and reported from within the ranks of the Taliban, earning a reputation as a mouthpiece for terrorists.”

But the article also quotes David Marash, a former Nightline correspondent who joined and then left Al Jazeera over concerns about anti-American bias. The article said Marash described Al Jazeera “as ‘the best news channel on earth … Al Jazeera has become the model all around the world. Video reporting from the field sets them apart and makes them the best.’ “

Congressional Leadership Fund spokeswoman Courtney Alexander pointed to reports that the network is backed by the Qatari government, and Qatar has been linked to financing terrorist groups.

On the other hand, in 2011, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said, “I’m very proud of the role that Al Jazeera has played” during the Arab Spring popular uprisings. “I congratulate you and I mourn for those who have sacrificed in the service of providing the information, which is knowledge, which is power.”

The point is, some people have a bad opinion of Al Jazeera and others think it’s done good work. The ad cherry-picked images and a quote that cast Al Jazeera in the most dubious light possible. That characterization was the basis for the rest of the ad.

The video said Al Jazeera has been paying Ossoff thousands of dollars. Its source is an article from the conservative website the Washington Free Beacon, based on Ossoff’s congressional financial disclosure form for 2016 and nearly three months in 2017. The Washington Free Beacon asked Ossoff to go beyond the federal requirements and say how much he received from Al Jazeera. He didn’t respond.

Technically, the Al Jazeera payments went to the firm, not Ossoff as the video said. He was CEO and shared in the proceeds, but assigning a specific dollar amount to that would be difficult under any circumstances.

According to the Insight TWI website, the company produced 10 film projects since Ossoff took the helm, nine for Al Jazeera. During the time period covered by Ossoff’s financial disclosure, 2016 and 2017, there is only one film project reported for Al Jazeera. The other was for the BBC.

Alexander of the Congressional Leadership Fund noted that Ossoff mentions the BBC but not Al Jazeera on his website.

Our ruling

The Congressional Leadership Fund video says Al Jazeera, “a mouthpiece for terrorists, has been paying Jon Ossoff thousands of dollars and asks “what is he hiding?”

Some Americans have called Al Jazeera a mouthpiece of terrorists. Others, including a U.S. senator, have praised it as a beacon of reporting in the Middle East and Africa.

Al Jazeera did pay Ossoff’s company.

The ad suggests Ossoff is hiding something. Given the evidence at hand, it appears he is unwilling to open the books of his business beyond what the law requires.

The ad’s description of Al Jazeera strikes us as particularly selective and central to the suspicions the ad raises. We rate this claim Mostly False.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Georgia Politics

Donald Trump returning to Atlanta as president
Donald Trump returning to Atlanta as president

President Donald Trump returns to Georgia on Friday for the first time since his election with a whirlwind visit that includes a speech to the National Rifle Association’s convention in downtown Atlanta and a fundraiser for Republican Karen Handel’s campaign for Congress. Scores of protesters are ready to welcome the president with demonstrations...
AJC Watchdog: DC lawyers, liberal groups push 6th District lawsuit
AJC Watchdog: DC lawyers, liberal groups push 6th District lawsuit

With the nation’s most closely watched congressional race headed to a runoff in June, a D.C.-based voting rights advocacy group is pressing in federal court to reopen voter registration. It is the latest legal maneuver for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law. The non-profit law firm dates back to the Kennedy administration...
Karen Handel embraces Donald Trump ahead of 6th District runoff
Karen Handel embraces Donald Trump ahead of 6th District runoff

Republican Karen Handel has wholeheartedly embraced President Donald Trump ahead of a June matchup against a surging Democrat, securing financial help for her costly campaign but also embarking on potentially treacherous political ground in a district that was skeptical of him. But after landing a spot in the June 20 runoff against Democrat Jon Ossoff...
From Georgia power broker to prison; ex-Sen. Charles Walker’s comeback
From Georgia power broker to prison; ex-Sen. Charles Walker’s comeback

Nicknamed “The Hammer,” Charles Walker was a share-cropper’s son turned millionaire Augusta businessman who rose to become the Georgia Senate’s only African-American majority leader. But the feds came after him hard in the mid-2000s, and he was convicted on mail fraud and other charges and sentenced to a decade in...
Early voting for Senate District 32 race begins May 6 in Sandy Springs
Early voting for Senate District 32 race begins May 6 in Sandy Springs

Voters in north Fulton County will be able to cast ballots as early as May 6 for the runoff election to fill Judson Hill’s state Senate seat. The North Fulton Service Center at 7741 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs will be home to the lone early voting polling place for the District 32 election. Early voting will be available Saturday, May 6 through...
More Stories