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Al Jazeera Comes To America

Today marks the launch of Al Jazeera’s American-based television network – Al Jazeera America – which will be made available to an estimated 40 million viewers over Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, AT&T, Verizon and other subscriber networks. (It is not available on Time Warner Cable, however). The Qatar-based media outlet was…

Today marks the launch of Al Jazeera’s American-based television network – Al Jazeera America – which will be made available to an estimated 40 million viewers over Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, AT&T, Verizon and other subscriber networks.

(It is not available on Time Warner Cable, however).

The Qatar-based media outlet was founded in 1996. Three years later it became a 24-hour news service, and in 2003 it launched an English-language website. In 2006 Al Jazeera International – an English-language network – was launched.

For years the network was directly subsidized by the oil-rich government of Qatar, and as recently as last year was embroiled in controversy regarding the extent to which Qatar dictates its editorial policy.

The network has few U.S. advertisers. In fact it will run just six minutes of advertising each hour initially – less than half of what most cable channels run. How come? Easy: American advertisers remain leery of the network given the popular perception that it is a mouthpiece for terrorist organizations.

Al Jazeera is hoping to overcome that stereotype by providing hard news.

“There will be less opinion, less yelling and fewer celebrity sightings,” its acting CEO told reporters last week.

In fact the network will employ a 16-person investigative team, a major investment at a time when other networks are moving away from investigative reporting (CNN recently scuttled its investigative unit).

All told, Al Jazeera has hired nearly 1,000 employees for its American network – making its launch the biggest thing to hit television media since Fox News and MSNBC were launched in the 1990s.

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15 comments

Smirks August 20, 2013 at 8:24 am

Can’t be worse than cable “news” already is. Younger generations are getting less of their news off of TV and more of it online, so TV may end up being a dying medium like newspapers.

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Frank Pytel August 20, 2013 at 8:31 am

I did like that they were covering the Fukishima issue long before anyone else did. Hours before. Of course I don’t have cable so…

If they start pumping the Praise Allah and Where’s my virgins I can just move on.

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shifty henry August 20, 2013 at 9:26 am

Frank, what if they start pumping the virgins?

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Frank Pytel August 20, 2013 at 9:34 am

Let Mace gather her rope first, then we’ll talk

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Sir Gawain August 20, 2013 at 8:32 am

LOWER THE PORTCULLIS !
—– RAISE THE DRAWBRIDGE !
——— MORE ARCHERS TO THE TOWERS !
————– HIDE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN !

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Halfvast Conspirator August 20, 2013 at 9:25 am

The Algorezeera network

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SamAdams2010 August 20, 2013 at 9:26 am

more accurate and less politically loaded than USA news forums

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The Colonel August 20, 2013 at 10:00 am

We watch Al Jazeera over here all the time – different perspective on stories that CNN and Fox also report on. Generally no more or less factual, just a different editorial bias. They don’t have the love for the Muslim Brotherhood that our media seems to hold. They’re also a little more pragmatic about about the rest of the Middle East. Do I buy all their BS? Most definitely not but still an interesting viewpoint.

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Manray9 August 20, 2013 at 10:48 am

No more or no less BS than Fox or MSNBC. Just different.

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The Colonel August 20, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Definitely less than NBC but then that little kid across the street who lies every time he opens his mouth shovels less BS than NBC… FOX and CNN – moral equivalents, just a different perspective. I’m pretty sure I won’t watch it when I get home, if I never hear another word about or from this region I’ll be good…

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Manray9 August 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I spent way too much time in the Persian Gulf. If the earth opened and the entire Middle East fell into the abyss, it would be no great loss!

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Soft Sigh from Hell August 20, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Unfortunately, that is just how much of the rest of the US looks at South Carolina.

The Colonel August 21, 2013 at 10:32 am

Manray – I’m here (there?) for the last time – concur wholeheartedly.
Soft Sigh – who cares what they think?

Jesus H. Christ! August 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm

“Al Jazeera is hoping to overcome that stereotype by providing hard news.

‘There will be less opinion, less yelling and fewer celebrity sightings,’ its acting CEO told reporters last week.”
That will be AWESOME, if true. CNN sucks. Fox is a joke. MSNBC is just a bunch of shouty pundits. I would love to see a real NEWS network.

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Cleveland Steamer August 21, 2013 at 12:58 am

They are kind of like the BBC, actual news that has no interests in what an american thinks. Could that truly be fair and balanced. From what I have seen they are pretty news oriented.

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