WSJ Exposes Qatari Info Op on Khashoggi
When it comes to the media’s sacred cows, journalism has become rarer than the teeth of common barnyard fowls. The Wall Street Journal is the only US paper doing any Khashoggi coverage that doesn’t consist of 1⁄3 bile, 1⁄3 Turkish propaganda and 1⁄3 calls for a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Saudi Arabia. This is a balanced piece that takes a casual look at info operations.
It’s a striking contrast to the mainstream media which keeps raving about Saudi bots without ever mentioning the ‘Q’ word.
For nearly three weeks, Qatari national broadcaster Al Jazeera has pushed round-the-clock news coverage of his disappearance. A company with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood—the Islamist political movement close to Qatar and reviled by Saudi Arabia—created an English-language website to shame Western executives from going to an investment conference in Riyadh…
And the tools are exactly those you expect.
Al Jazeera has repeatedly broken stories on the Turkish investigation into the Saudi dissident’s whereabouts. The Qatari network, like Western media, has cited anonymous Turkish sources and was the first to give graphic details on what happened in the consulate, including how Mr. Khashoggi was beaten, drugged and murdered.
Middle East Eye, another online news organization linked to Qatar, has published a number of exclusive reports on the case. In one, it reported that seven of Prince Mohammed’s bodyguards were among the suspects Turkey had identified and suggested their presence linked Saudi Arabia’s crown prince to the crime.
Qatar these days dictates coverage of the Middle East by major American media outlets. WSJ is committing heresy by even identifying Al Jazeera as a Qatari operation that represents that its political agendas. British and European media outlets have no problem doing so. But the American media won’t.
The Turkish allegations, drip-fed to the media, have had a devastating business impact for Saudi Arabia.
Executives, including JPMorgan & Co. CEO James Dimon and Blackstone Inc.’s Stephen Schwarzman, have pulled out of a major investment conference next week in Riyadh, known as the Future Investment Initiative, or FII.
A Washington, D.C.-based communications consultancy, Switch Communications & Media, set up a website called Stopfii.com and listed a “Wall of Shame” of executives government officials who were still planning to attend the event. Omar Soltan, a self-described human-rights activist, set up the agency, according to his LinkedIn profile. His father, Salah, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, The Wall Street Journal has reported.
Mr. Soltan in a message on LinkedIn said his company was commissioned to set up the website but wasn’t “running this campaign.” He didn’t immediately respond to a question about which company or group was responsible.
There will be no questions from the Washington Post and the New York Times echo chamber.