Only the Best for Our Arab Viewers

On Lehrer the other night they had a piece on “Alhurra”:, the Springfield-based, U.S.-funded, Arabic language, 24-hour satellite TV channel broadcasting in the Middle East. Depending on who you ask, Alhurra is either an attempt to provide an objective alternate to Al Jazeera, or a bit o’ the ol’ propaganda.

But either way, can somebody explain this? Italics are mine:

There are hourlong news broadcasts twice a day, news updates on the hour, and a daily discussion show along with a magazine show, and features on fashion and cuisine. The network’s rundown also includes Arabic subtitled versions of Frontline _and Inside the Actors’ Studio_.

Whose cockamamie idea was it to export “James Lipton”:! I can’t really see why Arab viewers would need or want to see American actors get their egos massaged by a stuffy guy spewing sycophantic drivel. As propaganda it’s just confusing, and as an honest attempt to expose new audiences to our culture, it’s just a really dumb choice. Maybe the producers could buy it for cheap. Maybe all those blue notecards can deliver subliminal messages through the camera. Otherwise, I’m stumped.