At “Stop Al-Jazeera” Conference, Associated Press Links with “Terror TV” Channel are Highlighted; AP State Department Reporter Matthew Lee Says He Accepted Dinner Seat at Al-Jazeera Table “Cause they invited me.”
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On the eve of a National Press Club news conference opposing Al-Jazeera’s expansion in the U.S., writer and researcher Cliff Kincaid disclosed the contents of a telephone interview with Matthew Lee of Associated Press, described as the “Dean of the State Department Press Corps,” in which the AP reporter defended his acceptance of a dinner ticket from Al-Jazeera for the March 30 Radio and TV Congressional Correspondents Dinner.
Kincaid asked, “Can you explain why you sat at a table for Al-Jazeera?” Lee replied, “Cause I was invited.”
“I was invited and I accepted,” Lee told Kincaid. He quickly added, “There wasn’t actually anyone from Al-Jazeera at my table, though. But it was their table.”
When Kincaid asked why a journalist would associate with a channel known for being a mouthpiece for terrorist organizations ranging from Al-Qaeda to Hamas to Hezbollah, Lee responded, “That’s what you might think.”
The AP reporter then turned defensive, saying, “Are you asking similar questions to other people who were listed?” Asked if he had been were aware that Al-Jazeera has been sued for $1.2 billion for facilitating rocket attacks on Israel during the Lebanon war, Lee answered, “I was not.”
Kincaid’s public policy organization, America’s Survival, Inc. (ASI) is hosting an April 1 news conference in the First Amendment Lounge of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to expose Al-Jazeera’s terrorist connections and oppose its expansion in the U.S. The conference begins at Noon and runs to 4:00 p.m. It is open to the press and the public and features Pamela Geller as the keynote speaker. Geller is a famous blogger and opponent of the Ground Zero Mosque who wrote the book on Obama, The Post-American Presidency.
The Congressional correspondents dinner attended by Matthew Lee on behalf of Al-Jazeera also featured Obama officials from the CIA, the National Security Council and the State Department. Using big names from the press and the government gives Al-Jazeera a sense of public acceptance, which the channel desperately craves as the Jihad TV channel battles to get more carriage in U.S. media markets.
When Kincaid, who also works for Accuracy in Media, pressed Lee about Al-Jazeera’s promotion of the terrorist group Hamas at its Al-Jazeera Forums, the AP reporter suddenly announced that he wanted everything he had said to be off-the record and that he needed to talk to his editors. However, normal and ethical journalistic operating procedures do not permit a subject of a news story to change the ground rules governing specific quotations after the fact. “The quotes were on the record,” Kincaid said of Lee’s comments.