SAUDI influence peddling and why FOX News has gone all soft on Islam

In the following interview, Radical Islam’s National Security Analyst, Ryan Mauro, speaks to Diana West, a nationally syndicated conservative American columnist and author, about the impact of the partial ownership of Fox news by Saudi Prince Alwaleed.


Radical Islam (h/t Rob E)

Ryan Mauro: You have devoted a lot of your time towards covering Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. Can you tell us about him and why he warrants this attention?

Diana West: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is usually described as a billionaire Saudi businessman, but he is also a senior member of the Saudi monarchy. He is the nephew of the Saudi dictator, King Abdullah, and the first cousin of the Saudi interior minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. He is also the largest stakeholder in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. outside the Murdoch family. 

Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, embracing Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah and the world's 22nd richest person.
Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, embracing Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah and the world’s 22nd richest person.

We may not realize it, but most of us first heard about Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in the immediate aftermath 9/11. That was when a “Saudi prince” —  it was Alwaleed — became infamous for having donated $10 million to the Twin Towers Fund only to have then-mayor Rudy Giuliani return the check.

Why did Giuliani return the check? It became clear the prince wasn’t making a donation but rather a political statement. After presenting the money, the prince issued a press release blaming the 9/11 attacks on American support for Israel — while, as Alwaleed’s statement read, “our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of the Israelis.”

GIULIANI: Look up there, Prince, the day I accept a donation of $10 million in blood money from you, you will see pigs flying up there
GIULIANI: Look up there, Prince, the day I accept a donation of $10 million in blood money from you, you will see pigs flying up there

The mayor, who had been told of the press release just moments before his daily briefing but after receiving the check, was visibly annoyed. “I entirely reject that statement,” he said. “That’s totally contrary to what I said at the United Nations,” he added, referring to his address there last Monday.

“There is no moral equivalent for this act,” the mayor said. “There is no justification for it. The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification for it when they slaughtered thousands of innocent people. And to suggest that there’s a justification for it only invites this happening in the future. It is highly irresponsible and very, very dangerous.”

Back then, all the FOX News commentators spoke out in favor of Rudy’s decision and condemned the Saudi Prince’s efforts to buy influence in the media.

Following Giuliani’s rebuff, Alwaleed opened his purse in 2002 to the families of killers instead, donating a whopping $27 million to a Saudi telethon raising money for the Committee for the Support of the al-Quds Intifada, a Saudi “charity” chaired by the then-Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia (now Crown Prince Nayef, another uncle of Alwaleed’s). He gave $500,000 that same year to CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas-linked group.


But soon, the Saudi billionaire was spending his money quite differently. In 2005, Alwaleed purchased a 5.5 percent stake of voting stock in the Murdoch-owned News Corp (he now owns 7 percent). He also spent $40 million to enlarge Islamic studies on leading American campuses, donating $20 million to Harvard to create a university-wide Islamic studies program, which also boosted Islamic law (sharia) studies on campus, and $20 million to Georgetown to set up the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding under Islamic apologist John Esposito.

The News Corp. investment began paying off right away. Also in 2005, with Muslims rioting in Paris in the worst street violence since 1968, Alwaleed telephoned Rupert Murdoch, as Alwaleed himself told an audience in Dubai, and said “these are not Muslim riots, they are riots.” Presto, the Fox News crawl about “Muslim riots in Paris” across the bottom of the screen changed to “civil riots.”

Ryan Mauro:  Is there any evidence of Alwaleed’s influence in the media since 2005? And if his influence is so strong, why does Fox News continue to have people on that are tough on Saudi Arabia, Al-Jazeera and the Muslim Brotherhood, including top foes of CAIR like Zuhdi Jasser?

Diana West: Fox News covers security threats, terrorism, and war. Zuhdi Jasser and others oppose the “extremism” that fuels them all without identifying such “extremism” as the mainstream Islamic doctrine set by Mohammed and the Koran. Meanwhile, the appearance of one or more such guests is no way compensates for the seemingly strategic and certainly gaping holes in Fox’s coverage, also noted below. 

While Alwaleed has not made news for bragging publicly about his influence over Fox News since that incident in 2005, there is no concrete “evidence” of his influence. But that’s not how influence usually works. It is intangible, something no more concrete than a rejected story, something no less natural than the body of stories that develops from such editorial discretion, which, of course, can also includes positive reinforcement.


Such stimuli may reflect active owner-influence. They may also reflect a more passive owner-influence as when an employee — producer, editor, writer, anchor, pundit — anticipates the boss’s desires and writes or reports a certain way. This phenomenon, of course, is by no means unique to Fox, just as it is by no means unique to journalism.

If we examine Fox’s body of work I believe the unspoken guidelines for coverage and discussion become quite clear. As noted above, Fox News covers terrorism, war, national security. It does not cover, let alone chronicle, the introduction of sharia — Islamic law — into the West. It does not cover the massive ongoing Islamic movement by which the Western world is being rapidly Islamized. It does not cover what the Muslim Brotherhood calls “civilization jihad.” It does not cover the disappearance of Western culture in Europe. I think the news vacuum we can see on Fox is at least partly a result of News Corp.’s Saudi influence. Such influence does not serve the American public interest.

Last month Al Gore’ sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera was big news, particularly on Fox.  As Fox personalities repeatedly  revelled in Gore’s obvious hypocrisies for selling out to an Islamic oil-and-greenhouse-gas dictatorship, I was struck by something important that was being left out: The fact that a key Fox stakeholder — the second largest stakeholder outside the Murdoch family — was himself a leading member of an Islamic oil-and-greehouse-gas dictatorship. 

The Fox focus was on Gore himself — much less so on the security-related side of the story, which includes how Al Jazeera is a foreign policy instrument of the Qatari dictatorship, which, in turn, is basically a foreign policy instrument of the Muslim Brotherhood. (Indeed, Al Jazeera’s nickname is Muslim Brotherhood TV.) Similarly, with rare exceptions, News Corp. journalists didn’t enlighten viewers and readers about the noxious Yusef al Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood cleric, and his central role at Al Jazeera and, indeed, in the wider “Arab Spring.”

As I reconsidered the Murdoch-Alwaleed relationship, I was struck anew not only by the 7 percent of News Corp. that Alwaleed owns, but also by the 18.97 percent of Rotana, Alawaleed’s Arabic media group, that Murdoch owns. I discovered that just as Murdoch-Alwaleed holdings include Fox, Alwaleed-Murdoch holdings include Al Risala, a 24/7 religious station run by a Kuwaiti Muslim Brother named Tareq al-Suwaidon. Al-Suwaidan, who doubles as a popular on-air host at Al Risala, is not just any Muslim Brother, either. He is an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism-financing trial in US history, the Holy Land Foundation trial. That means the US government believes Al-Suwaidon, too, was involved in fund-raising for Hamas. That means that Murdoch and Alwaleed’s cable stable includes O’Reilly, Doocey and Al-Suwaidon, aka, Mr. Hamas.   

That’s not the only appalling connection the Saudi association brings to News Corp. On the advisory board of Al Risala is Abdullah Omar Naseef, whose Rabita Trust has been designated by the US Treasury as an Al Qaeda financier. The structural parallels may be somewhat imperfect but they are still illustrative: Just as Alwaleed has a business connection to News Corp. board member Roger Ailes, Murdoch has a business connection to Al Risala board member and al Qaeda financier Naseef.

But the same silence goes for last week’s broad-daylight assassination attempt in Copenhagen on Lars Hedegaard, a Danish newspaper editor and opponent of European Islamization by an Arab or Pakistani gunman. Not newsworthy for a mention on O’Reilly or Greta or The Five. Why not?

In 2010, another Musim man tried to kill a  Danish cartoonist named Kurt Westergaard over a cartoon of Mohammed that Musims worldwide had reacted to with violence (over 100 people were killed on rioting), mayhem and boycotts.  Fox viewers have never even gotten a look at Westergaard’ss cartoon, either — except for maybe long ago when Michelle Malkin appeared on the air holding it.

Similarly, Fox viewers didn’t get to follow the Kafka-esque hate speech trial endured by Geert Wilders, democratically elected leader of a significant political party in Dutch parliament, even though Wilders is someone who has made many appearances in the USA. (Wilders did get on with Sean Hannity last year to promote his Regnery book, Marked for Death.) 

Could the blackout of such news have anything at all to do with the aims of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation — the Islamic bloc of 56 Islamic nations (plus the PA) whose headquarters, by the way, is in Saudi Arabia — and its efforts (lately in conjunction with Hillary Clinton, which is also uncovered on Fox) to introduce international mechanisms to criminalize criticism of Islam everywhere? After all, the OIC has specifically singled out both Geert Wilders and the Danish cartoons for censure, and they are basically non-persons, non-events in the US media, including on Fox News. Is this entirely a coincidence?

If I am correct and Alwaleed bought into News Corp to neutralize the jihad opposition, it’s one of the most brilliant influence operations ever. The Saudis would have managed to silence the one organization whose coverage of the news could have rallied opposition to Islamization.