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Ari & I: August 3, 2001

Russell Mokhiber questions White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

Russell Mokhiber questions White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer gestures as he speaks to reporters at the White House briefing room April 2, 2003 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Mokhiber: Ari, excuse me, in July 1996, then [Israeli] Prime Minister Netanyahu told a joint session of Congress that he wanted to begin to wean Israel off of what he called generous American assistance -- $1.2 billion in economic aid at that time.

Since then, we continue to send military equipment and economic aid to Israel.

Yesterday, you said that the administration is being proactive in the Middle East. Is part of the proactive strategy to consider cutting off aid to Israel to pressure them to stop the war on the Palestinians?

Ari Fleischer: The President supports a package of aid to the nations in the region -- that includes Israel, that includes Egypt. It has been a longstanding part of American foreign policy to help try to achieve stability in the region by providing assistance to our friends there.

Mokhiber: Ari, the Federal Communication Commission requires that if you're going to have a broadcast license you have to be of sound moral character. So when you make the application, you have to answer whether you've ever been convicted of a felony.

They are now going after a gentleman in Missouri who's been convicted of a felony --

Ari Fleischer: Be careful, there are many broadcasters in this room.

Mokhiber: I understand, that's why I'm raising the question. This gentleman was convicted of a felony, child molestation, and they're trying to strip him of five radio licenses. On the other hand, General Electric, which owns NBC, has been convicted of felonies, and they're not being stripped of their license. Why the double standard?

Ari Fleischer: I think you need to talk to the FCC about their standards. That's their jurisdiction to deal with licensing. Ron?

Mokhiber: I understand, but generally, does the President have a position on -- .

Fleischer moves on...

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