Al Jazeera America correspondent Randall Pinkston shared the column on Twitter. So did AJAM anchors Ali Velshi and John Siegenthaler, and correspondent John Henry Smith. The column, by Morgan State University j-school dean DeWayne Wickham, accuses Fox News host Bill O’Reilly of taking a “cheap shot” at Pinkston and other Al Jazeera America journalists:
The Fox News talking head derided Pinkston along with three other American journalists — the others are Soledad O’Brien, Joie Chen and John Seigenthaler — in a Jan. 30 commentary for working for the Middle East news network owned by the government of Qatar.
“I consider it a lobbying group for the Islamic jihad,” O’Reilly said of the worldwide broadcast company. And, by inference, he branded Pinkston and the others unpatriotic sellouts. “There’s not enough money on earth for me to work” for Al Jazeera, he said after rattling off the names some of the American journalists who do. “I just don’t get it.”
O’Reilly, who has called Pinkston a friend–they worked at the same stations in New Haven and New York City–drew criticism for using Pinkston’s name in his commentary:
“Linking Mr. Pinkston to ‘jihadist terrorists’ by virtue of working as a journalist for Al Jazeera TV is a misplaced assault upon the reputation of a solid professional and a good man you dared call ‘a friend,'” Les Payne, a Pulitzer Prize winner and real friend of Pinkston, said in an e-mail he fired off to O’Reilly last week.