Friday, August 22, 2008

Denver: No BBQ w/ al Jazeera.

Community uproar. (the Denver Post spins it.)

Golden City Manager Mike Bestor has withdrawn his barbecue invitation to a news channel based in the Middle East after a community uproar that spilled over into the City Council Thursday night.

Bestor said he issued the invitation to Al Jazeera English, which is based in the Middle East, as a private citizen. The network planned to do interviews at the gathering as part of its Democratic National Convention next week.

The city issued a statement Thursday night in which Bestor said he realized his job indirectly linked the event to the city.

The city's statement said Bestor "believed that hosting such a discussion of the issues was an excellent way to illustrate democracy to the rest of the world and to show that neighbors can disagree politically and still work together toward the good of their community."

"The city of Golden doesn't have the right to restrict or prohibit Al Jazeera or any other news agency from broadcasting out of the city, whether we approve of their coverage or not, whether we share their perspectives or not, whether we find their coverage offensive or not," the city's statement concluded.

An more in depth, on scene account of the meeting from Ynet News: (there's a spin, but it's my kind of spin.)

On Thursday night I came to a Golden, Colorado City Council meeting to ask them to consider our request to place a menorah in downtown Golden this coming Hanukkah. But a much larger controversy was boiling.

Only 20 minutes drive from Democratic National Convention host city Denver, al-Jazeera had asked Golden City Manager, Mike Bestor, if he could help them meet and interview Golden residents. With the support of Golden Mayor Jacob Smith, a special barbeque celebration was arranged for al-Jazeera reporters at the home of Golden City Manager Mike Bestor.

This created an outcry from Golden residents who were opposed to the perceived preferential treatment given to al-Jazeera journalists. There was standing room only at the Council Meeting last night. Grown men who had served in the US armed forces choked with emotion as they described how al-Jazeera’s reporting had helped to embolden our enemies and serves as a propaganda machine for the likes of Osama Bin Laden, Hamas and other terrorists who kill American citizens.

United States army and navy veterans and others stood up one after another demanding that al-Jazeera not be given what they termed as “red carpet treatment” by the City of Golden.

Of course there were some who felt that it was a good idea to treat even those who blatantly help the enemy of the United States with more love than is offered to our allies.

After every one had finished talking the Golden City manager, Mike Bestor, had his turn to explain his position, amazingly he told the audience that he had made a mistake and would therefore be withdrawing his barbeque invitation to al-Jazeera. There was loud applause when he finished speaking. The people had spoken and the elected officials were forced to listen and back down.

It gets better.

Those at the meeting who supported the al-Jazeera barbeque invitation insinuated that their opponents were bigoted and intolerant of others different than themselves. One speaker even called the veterans and those who agreed with them xenophobes. But if that was the case one would have assumed that they would have opposed my request to place a menorah in Golden City Center. But instead, after I had finished my speech before the council asking them to consider placing the menorah in Golden, the loudest applause came for the United States army veterans. And after the meeting was over many who had spoken against the al-Jazeera barbeque approached me and voiced support for the menorah proposal.

Kudos to Mayor Bestor. Double Kudos to the patriots of Golden who spoke out against the enemy in our midst. And don't kid yourself - they are the enemy.
related post.