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The Media Television News

Al Jazeera Gets a US Voice 444

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that Al Jazeera plans to start an English-language channel available in more than 40 million U.S. homes, with newscasts emanating from both New York and Doha, Qatar. They announced a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore seven years ago. But the challenge will be persuading Americans to watch the award winning network with 71 bureaus around the world — an extremely tough proposition given the crowded television marketplace and the stereotypes about the channel that persist to this day. 'There are still people who will not watch it, who will say that it's a "terrorist network,"' says Philip Seib. 'Al Jazeera has to override that by providing quality news.' With a handful of exceptions, American cable and satellite distributors have mostly refused to carry Al Jazeera English since its inception in 2006. While the television sets of White House officials and lawmakers were tuned to the channel during the Arab Spring in 2011, ordinary Americans who wanted to watch had to find a live stream on the Internet. Al Jazeera's Robert Wheelock said, We offer an alternative. It's a broader coverage of news. It's a broader spectrum into countries that aren't traditionally covered.'"
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Al Jazeera Gets a US Voice

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  • by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @08:07PM (#42491239)
    Well actually I do, it's great to have an alternative voice and hopefully this will bring more understanding and humanity to the news.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 05, 2013 @08:20PM (#42491325)

    You should look up their web page and read their coverage before you make such stupid ignorant statements

  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @08:21PM (#42491327) Homepage

    Al Jazeera is more like CNN or BBC than Fox or Russia Today. It's an actual news organization rather than a propaganda outlet.

  • by theedgeofoblivious ( 2474916 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @08:26PM (#42491367)

    As someone who's actually watched Al Jazeera English, I'd just recommend that people watch it before they judge it, rather than just assuming it's the "Al Qaeda network". It's not.

  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @08:42PM (#42491497) Homepage

    How cute that you think CNN and BBC are in the same category as Fox News. How jaded do you have to be before you start making absurd false equivalencies like that?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 05, 2013 @08:57PM (#42491635)

    It's hard to have a pro-Israel spin if you are trying to be objective. How would you put a positive spin to constant war crimes, settlements, price tagging (i.e. kristallnacht type of terrorism), apartheid, checkpoints, destruction of EU financed projects, sieges and starvation of 1.8 million people? How do you put a positive spin to a cruel and unhuman occupation of a people?

    I don't know with what biased eyes you are looking, but I doubt anyone reporting on a cruel occupation has it easy to put a positive spin on it.

    Try googling there are a lot of interesting reports on the perception of Israel and they seem to update them pretty regulary: israel

  • by Dusty101 ( 765661 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @09:31PM (#42491851)

    Agreed. Al Jazeera is already available as one of the free OTA digital channels in many places in Europe - this should not be seen as a big deal.

    It's my understanding that many of its journalists have been trained in the West, and/or with Western news organizations such as the BBC. The BBC produced a fly-on-the-wall documentary about Al Jazeera a few years ago, & the staff definitely came across as modern, professional journalists to a fault. In one instance, the real-time translator stayed at his post even while his family were in an area of heavy fighting and he was unable to determine if they had been injured.

    Having watched it myself, as a white, non-Muslim Westerner with no connections or affiliations at all to the Middle East, I have generally found their news coverage to be more content-rich and less opinion-piece-filled than many of the major US news networks. if nothing else, their service is mercifully free of the obnoxious Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck "talking head" types that are unfortunately so common on the US networks.

  • by mlookaba ( 2802163 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @09:50PM (#42491979)
    Let me understand this... Al Gore, Eco Warrior, founds Current TV, a left leaning political news cable channel. It is (last year) put up for sale. An offer from a conservative group is rebuffed, with the Current spokesperson saying, "the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view.” Instead, they sell it, for $500 million (of which Al Gore gets $100 million), to the Government of Qatar, one of the top producers of fossil fuel in the world, a country were women have no voice, and homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death. As icing on the cake, apparently Mr. Gore tried to push for the sale to be complete before the new year, so he could take advantage of expiring tax laws. "we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view.”
  • Re:Oh the Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whistlingtony ( 691548 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @10:16PM (#42492141)
    " they closed the deal before the end of the year to avoid higher taxes. I thought democrats wanted higher taxes on the wealthy?"

    The deal closed after the new year. Gore will pay higher taxes. You're either wrong, or lying.

    " [] a muslim, foreign nation's state owned media apparatus broadcasting into other nations"

    What's wrong with muslims? We can talk about who's controlling the strings, and if that's good or not, but you busted out Muslim as a bad thing all by itself.

    You should perhaps consider that you're an uninformed racist, at best.

  • by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @10:23PM (#42492195)

    I'll watch the channel, assuming Concast (and no, I didn't accidentally misspell it) will carry it. Al Jazeera can't possibly be any more biased than Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.

  • Al Gore (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @10:24PM (#42492205)

    The funniest part of this whole deal is that Al Gore pushed the sale to get completed prior to the new year to avoid Obamas tax increases. Not that I wouldn't do the same... but it's more of Al Gores "Do as I say, not as I do" nonsense. I wonder if he was the sole passenger on a private jet that took him to sign the deal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 05, 2013 @11:14PM (#42492443)

    Just pointing out a Troll here folks.

    People. Don't be willfully ignorant. Check out Al Jazeera for yourself and decide: [] []

    I will tell you first off a little bit about myself to point out any biases that I may have: I am a white Canadian man who is in his 40's who hates Muslim zealots and Jewish zealots. Yes I can't stand Christian religious fundamentalists either. I'm also a highly analytical person. I hate political correctness, and I hate yellow journalism. I'm finding a lot of ignorant and prejudiced comments here, so I'll start off with this Troll who proclaims to be knowledgable about Al jazeera, and who seems to imply that it is NOT so much a news company but rather a propaganda organ for religious extremists. Think moderators: before you up-moderate Trolls!

    Parent said:

    If you look at their English edition and track the history of reporting on different countries you'll notice that articles about the US are far more likely to have the comment system enabled, while articles about Middle East countries, Russia, or China almost always have the comments disabled.

    OK I admit I don't track the history of comments. Lets be serious though; nobody except for somebody with an agenda would track comment history. Even if the parent's comment is true, it is still a Troll because it implies malfeasance without any proof but the authors own speculations. Also realize that people often see patterns where there are none (this is a psychological phenomena of the mind). Also notice that this person gives no statistics and doesn't back up his claim in any way. Most people who would do this kind of research, even on an amature basis would at least post their details on a public Website: and there are lots of free services to do this.

    For that matter, who cares? Not having comments enabled has NOTHING to do with journalistic standards. This is a red herring argument.

    Also: think of the logic here. Al Jazeera English WANTS to have a Western audience. This is because it is a business that is owned by a businessman. It doesn't make business sense for them to post Islamic religious propaganda because they know that they will be very carefully scrutinized by the Right Wing in the West and especially the Christian Fundamentalists in their largest potential market: the United States.

    Also, look at Al Jazeera's journalists. They have quite a few award winning journalists that have (and had) worked for prominent Western news agencies like the BBC, CBC, etc. These professionals are not going to ruin their careers and reputations by working for a propaganda organ of the Muslim Brotherhood or some other political or religious organization. Of course, and for some perspective, politics will always play a role in journalism, for example Al-Jazeera English journalists protest after being ordered to re-edit UN report to focus on Qatar emir's comments on Syria []. But at least there is transparency here. And lets not lie to ourselves or be hypocrites: Western news agencies, especially the for-profit ones like CNN and Fox News have their own biases and are subject to the editorial control of their commercial sponsors.

    When you see that most of the comments are anti-US and anti-Jewish, you will wonder whether it's an underhanded way of maintaining a veneer of neutrality while still guiding opinion.

    You mean like on Slashdot, and on many Canadian and European news sites?

    And YES I know what you mean by "anti-Jewish": anybody who criticizes Isreal or Zionism is an anti-semite according to Christion Fundamentalists. Using "hate crime" language to try and stifle speech and to censor news is wrong. I've seen Al Jazeera report bad things about Isreal, and I've seen Al Jazeera report bad th

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Saturday January 05, 2013 @11:22PM (#42492471) Journal

    This is what always made me LMAO at these chuckleheads, they can't say what they really want which is "He's a nigger!" so they try to find another reason to get rid of him, even if that reason MAKES NO SENSE. The law could NOT be clearer on the fact, as long as the mother is an American who has not renounced her citizenship then the baby is an American PERIOD. If the father is of another country the baby can be of dual nationality but that does NOT change or remove his American citizenship in the process.

    I mean its so fucking simple and fucking obvious why things are set up this way, otherwise pregnant women would be afraid to get on a boat or a plane because 'ZOMFG the kid wasn't born on American soil!". Now if you wanna argue that the laws need to be fixed, so that so called "anchor babies" don't count? I'd agree with you, no other country lets you just sneak a pregnant woman across their border and suddenly gives the kid of an illegal invader full citizenship and benefits, that would be stupid, but giving the child of an American citizenship isn't stupid, its common fucking sense, especially in a world where you can go across the planet in less than a week.

    As for TFA? They couldn't lie to us any worse than our corporate owned MSM so I'm all for it, as we saw with Wikileaks all that matters to the MSM is US corporate and government interests. I didn't see a single news service say a fucking word about the revelation that Blackwater was selling kids as fuck toys to get better deals in both Kosovo and Afghanistan, all we heard was "Assange is a rapist pervert that should be shot for daring to post the truth!" so honestly they really can't tell us any more bullshit than we are already being fed. To quote the late Bill Hicks "Go back to sleep America, everything is fine, here is more stupid mind numbing television. Your leaders are in control and all is well, go back to sleeep"

  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @11:23PM (#42492481) Homepage

    I've been reading the Arab press off and on regularly for about 20 years and was reading it almost exclusively 2001-05 for world news. There is no "middle eastern mindset" beyond differences in situation and focus. Most of their arguments are sensible from a US perspective. They disagree with US emotional opinions and often weigh the facts differences. The major thing the bring to the table is they aren't on "our side". They don't take it as a given that US goals are more or less the right ones. What you want from Al Jazeera, what they have to add to the conversation are those differences. Otherwise what would be the point?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 05, 2013 @11:26PM (#42492499)

    While I agree with the first part, the criteria for natural born US citizen are

    A) be born in the US,
    B) BOTH parents are US citizens.

    Now, I don't personally know first hand if he was born in Hawaii or Kenya, nor do I care; Hawaii says he was, and that's what legally matters. IF he was born in Kenya, his mother was a US citizen, and his father was not, THEN he would not have been a natural born citizen, which is a requirement to being US President. Again, I don't take a position 1 way or the other, just that the state of Hawaii has certified that he was born in Hawaii, making the above situation moot.

    The question was also raised by people who were ignorant of the rules that John McCain was not born on US land, but on a ship at sea. The question was, does a US ship at sea count as US territory. Really, it was irrelevant since both of his parents were US citizens, so he was a natural born US citizen even if he was born in Antarctica.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 05, 2013 @11:40PM (#42492567)

    You took a long time to spout specious pap. Please, next time, be more concise and proofread.

    Al Jazeera is a steaming mess internally, and is very sympathetic to Islamic regimes. You tip your hand when you claim an equivalency between Israeli and Hamas tactics.

    Thank you for some quality troll work, but I am sure that you can do better.

    All the best,

    Your betters.

  • by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @11:58PM (#42492659)

    Everyone has bias, and if you havent seen it in your favorite news source its simply because
      * You agree with them, and / or
      * You havent been paying attention

  • by SteveFoerster ( 136027 ) <steve AT stevefoerster DOT com> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @01:44AM (#42493133) Homepage

    How stupid he must be to have had, for a long time, the signature "Socialism is slavery".

    Not really. If the state owns everything you need to survive, it's hardly a stretch to say that it effectively owns you.

  • False equivalence. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @03:00AM (#42493389) Journal
    False equivalence [] is the favorite propaganda tool of Fox news and similar organisations.' Sure all sources are biased, but not all sources are equally credible or equally biased. The difference between Fox and AJ is that Fox is first and foremost a political organisation and AJ is a news organisation. AJ aspires to be a credible representative of the free press specializing in it's own region, and they do a pretty good job of it. Fox wants to persuade you to vote against your own self interest and will knowingly lie to it's audience to achieve that, they also do a pretty good job but they're not doing the same job as AJ, BBC and other members of the "forth estate".
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @05:01AM (#42493863) Journal

    Every broadcaster has an agenda, every reporter has someone paying his/her bills. Many people consider news to be unbiased... an impossibility to begin with, if it agrees with their bias. "Look, they are saying what I want to hear, how unbiased of them". Bias is something that happens only to other people apparently.

    Take womens rights, it is a fact that NOT everyone has the same view on this subject so ANY newssource that reports in anything but the most absolute neutral tones, has a bias. Simply put, if a newsource reports the weather with anything else then figures like using comments as "it will be a nice day", they are biased. Nice for who? By whose standards?

    Take snowfall, 1 centimeter falls in Holland, DISASTER! 1 meter falls in Sweden, business as usual. But when in Sweden the snowfall is a disaster, the impact is a WHOLE lot worse then that in Holland where the trains were delayed a whole ten minutes and almost two cars had a fender bender.

    Take the rape case of the Indian student, roughly at the same time, Belgian news had that rape has gone up, less then 4% of rape cases result in a conviction and there are as many as 11 rapes a day in Brussels alone. One story is international news, the other is not. Why? One to close to home perhaps? To many uncomfortable questions would need to be answered so lets just tut-tut the Indians and leave it at that. And who made that decision? Male news-readers (Belgium TV news is very old fashioned in many ways, including it being actually rather good BUT not without bias).

    ALWAYS know the bias of your newssource and if you want to stay informed, WATCH the newssources that make your blood boil. NOT because they tell you the truth but by combining newsources you get a more honest exposure to the various opinions in the world. You may not agree with anything Al Jazeera has to say (it is pro-strict islam supported as said above by a dictator) but it does give you insight into a whole group of people think. Same with the BBC or Fox or for that matter the Financial Times and the Guardian. One will report a story the other will barely touch and it is the WHY of the difference where the facts about power in the world are hidden (sorry for that sentence, hope you got my gist). In between the reports, you can see how the world really is.

    Take the rape news events, rape is therefor clearly bad but not so bad we actually want to stop it, just want to say it is bad when far from home but back home, well boys will be boys. 4% conviction rate in any other crime would see the people responsible fired VERY quickly. No calls for resignation have been made. In fact, reaction seems to be "oh well". In the western news, India is made out to be a place totally unsafe for women... but these attackers will either hand or serve live. In Holland, rapist have been getting away with community service, a father convicted of raping his underage daughter got community service because else he might loose his job, true case.

    Which country takes protection of women more serious? One were rapist hang or one where they have to pick litter for a month?

    Know your bias.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.