For One Texas High School, Al Jazeera Isn’t Welcome

By Alex Weprin Comment

An interesting story from Al Jazeera reporter Gabriel Elizondo. Elizondo is crossing the U.S., collecting thoughts on people from all over on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. He had planned to stop at a high school football game in Texas, but ended up receiving an exceptionally cold welcome:

So I tried my best: “So, I guess Mrs Yauck told you who I am. I am a journalist crossing the country doing random stories about the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 and I was hoping to talk to some people here about it at the game, and get some opinions.”

He then said something I could not entirely make out, because his voice sort of quivered from a combination of being obviously furious and nervous at the same time.

But I am pretty sure he said:

“I think it was damn rotten what they did.”

“I am sorry, what who did?” I say, not sure exactly if he was calling me rotten, the terrorists rotten, Al Jazeera rotten, or all of the above.

“The people that did this to us,” he says back to me with a smirk, still glaring uncomfortably straight at my eyes.

“Well, I think it was bad too,” I say. “Well, do you think, sir, we can film a bit of the game and talk to some people here about just that?”

“No. You can’t film, you can’t take pictures, or interview people.”

“OK, can I ask why? And if you allow me can I explain…”

Cut off.

“No, I just expect that you will respect it.”

Clearly he didn’t want to hear anything from me.

Al Jazeera is not welcome here.