US Consul General to Jerusalem Daniel Rubinstein made a tour of Bethlehem organizations and institutions on Thursday, visiting Ma'an Network's headquarters and Bethlehem University, among others.Ma'an was somewhat objective before the Hamas coup in Gaza, but it has shown itself to be very afraid to criticize Hamas since Hamas threatened them two years ago.
Several Ma'an TV Network projects, including talk shows and Ramadan cooking programs, receive funding from various bodies of the US State Department.
"Frankly, we were afraid America would try to control Ma'an through its financial support," editor-in-chief Nasser Lahham told the consul. "But now I can say with confidence that you did not try to intervene in Ma'an's objectivity and I say that Ma'an News will always be professional and keep the same strategy."
So what is the State Department doing funding slanted Palestinian Arab media? Ma'an still routinely refers to Palestinian Arabs killed as "martyrs" in Arabic.
And more importantly, the point of the State Department is to try to influence other countries and people towards opinions that are more pro-American. What good is sending money towards Palestinian Arab media if there is no benefit to the US? I can think of other causes that might need the money a bit more.