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Al Jazeera Gets a US Voice

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the hopefully-it's-not-gilbert-gottfried's-voice dept.

The Media 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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444 comments

frosty piss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491199)

for allah!

Re:frosty piss (0)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491935)

This is why its a good thing that it should require less than a Google search to find Al Jazeera.
Some folks just need the extra help.

I expect Fox News to report on this heavily. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491213)

After all, a non American involved in US broadcasting is clearly beyond the pale.

Why next somebody from Rand McNally will make us wear hats on our feet and reverse the direction the water flows in our toilets.

This would have been news ... (1)

Auroch (1403671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491389)

After all, a non American involved in US broadcasting is clearly beyond the pale.

The only people this will upset are the talking-heads journalists and folks who are too old (or too uninformed) to realize that the internet "does" TV.

Rupert Murdoch is Australian (5, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491447)

Subject: I expect Fox News to report on this heavily.

After all, a non American involved in US broadcasting is clearly beyond the pale.

That was sarcasm, right? K. Rupert Murdoch, head of Fox News Channel's parent company Fox Group (formerly News Corporation), isn't even as American as Barack Obama.

Re:Rupert Murdoch is Australian (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491569)

That's debatable seeing as neither was born here and Barry's mother was too young when she had him for him to be considered a citizen when he was born in Kenya.

Re:Rupert Murdoch is Australian (2)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491733)

So, Honolulu is in Kenya now? It's good to know.

Re:Rupert Murdoch is Australian (5, Informative)

colinrichardday (768814) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491801)

Article. IV.

Section. 1.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

The State of Hawaii says that President Obama was born in Honolulu on August 4, 1961.

Re:Rupert Murdoch is Australian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491691)

Did you miss the last line?

Here, let me repeat it:

"Why next somebody from Rand McNally will make us wear hats on our feet and reverse the direction the water flows in our toilets."

Now if you're not familiar with the context of the quote, I might understand, but you didn't even quote it.

Source of truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491221)

Let the conversion begin ...

Re:Source of truth (3, Interesting)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491529)

Oddly enough, I'm pretty impressed with Al Jezeeras online coverage of the mideast. That should say a lot since I am sympathetic to the Jews in Israel and a complete cynic about the newsclowns domestically and in Europe.
I'd rather read that than most of the crap I run into in the world.

Re:Source of truth (5, Interesting)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491793)

Well, it heavily depends on which Al Jazeera you watched, the English or the Arabic speaking one. The former is pretty objective and neutral, the latter is trying to establish new records in how biased they can be.
Heck, just for an example, after the revolutions that swiped the region, Al Jazeera English covered the elections in a pretty neutral way, they only showed regular people voting and stuff. The Arabic one had images of the leader of the Islamist party in Tunisia, voting and showing off with his friends, running all day long. I guess they keep it this way knowing their "target audiences".

One interesting result of all this, though, is a huge loss of popularity for Al Jazeera in these countries (mainly Tunisia and Egypt). In part because, now that the revolutions ended and a semi-democratic climate is avialable, less biased news sources appeared and Al Jazeera can't claim it's role as the "Sole source of real infos". And also probably because everyone here understood the game Quatar is playing. They financed the winning team and they are reaping the benefits in "Honest opportunities for our benefactors to help us "finance" our economic rebuilding efforts".

Looking forward in a Fox News sort of way... (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491233)

Owned by an Arab Sheik, Iâ(TM)m sure it will be faire and balanced towards womanâ(TM)s rights in the Arab World, Jewish issues, and of course homosexuals.

Re: Looking forward in a Fox News sort of way... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491247)

Of course it will. But then, who cares sbout Fags, Jews and Women ?

Re: Looking forward in a Fox News sort of way... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491585)

Certainly not Algore, but , then , we knew he was after the bucks. Now he can roll it into his Apple investment like a sweaty drunk shooting craps in the alley behind "Louies".
When you say "Fags, Jews and Women" I think of Alice B. Toclas and Gertrude Stein and then subsequently Peter Sellers. Did you have a damn point?

Re:Looking forward in a Fox News sort of way... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491299)

Fox News isn't really that independent 25% of its ownership belongs to Saudi family (yes, as in Saudi Arabia). At least AlJazeera provides quailty coverage..

Re:Looking forward in a Fox News sort of way... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491325)

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

Re:Looking forward in a Fox News sort of way... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491407)

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

No need.

Nothing useful since numbers has come from that part of the world. Unless, of course, you consider ammunition for fear-mongering, violence and intolerance to be useful.

Re:Looking forward in a Fox News sort of way... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491647)

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. 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.

Re:Looking forward in a Fox News sort of way... (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491331)

Owned by an Arab Sheik, IÃ(TM)m sure it will be faire and balanced towards womanÃ(TM)s rights in the Arab World, Jewish issues, and of course homosexuals.

Bah, hahahahahahaa
It will not be any worse than all other major news networks. And the bias will be well known, which is a little better than the status quo

I'll take that over directly sanctioned pieces [informatio...house.info] such as CNNi

CNNi produces those programs in an arrangement it describes as "in association with" the government of a country, and offers regimes the ability to pay for specific programs about their country. ... The disclosure for such arrangements is often barely visible.

Unfair to USA for Arab to cover news about Arabs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491359)

We can't have Arabs covering news about Arabs. Only Americans, Europeans and Jews (like maybe Wolf Blitzer previously of the Jerusalem Post) can cover the Arab world, right?

Re:Unfair to USA for Arab to cover news about Arab (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491385)

It's not their coverage of arab world they are worrying about it's their coverage of the conflict between the State of Israel (without any declared borders) and the since the UN vote State of Palestine.

Searched for "Gay" on their website (5, Informative)

grimJester (890090) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491403)

Found stories like

Are US evangelicals exporting anti-gay views? [aljazeera.com]
"A new report reveals conservative American Christian groups behind efforts to criminalise homosexuality in Africa." and

What is Obama risking by backing gay unions? [aljazeera.com]
"We ask if the US president should go a step further by offering constitutional protection for gay and lesbian couples."

Al Jazeera is far from conservative.

Re:Searched for "Gay" on their website (1)

Jiro (131519) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491567)

It's also got an opinion column titled "Israel's Gaza Bantustan" linked on the front page. Of course conservatives in the US are favorable towards Israel, so that's not "conservative" either.

It's definitely showing a hefty pro-third-world, pro-Muslim, and anti-Israel spin. Notice that even though your first example seems to be in favor of homosexuality, it also serves the purpose of deflecting blame for anti-gay activity away from Muslims.

Re:Searched for "Gay" on their website (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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: site:aljazeera.net israel

Re:Searched for "Gay" on their website (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491641)

Though current networks have distinct pro-America, pro-Christianity, and pro-Israel spins, so I'm not really sure having a different perspective is a bad thing.

Re:Searched for "Gay" on their website (2, Informative)

guises (2423402) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491811)

The article on homosexuality laws says nothing about Muslims. There has been a strong push recently in Uganda to make homosexuality punishable by death, and this has been spearheaded by Christian groups and linked to Christian groups in the US, most prominently the Fellowship Foundation ("The Family"):

http://wthrockmorton.com/2009/11/25/author-links-sponsors-of-anti-homosexuality-bill-to-the-family/ [wthrockmorton.com]

Though it's worth noting that this link has been repudiated.

Yes, it's true that there are many Muslim groups who are also anti-gay, as well as groups from other religions (Mormons). This article does nothing to hide that fact, merely by not discussing it. That was not the topic at hand.

Al Jazeerah is BBC (5, Informative)

mrops (927562) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491813)

It was formed when BBC closed it Arabic division. Those folks went and started Al Jazeerah.

It is criticized as too west in the Arab world.

JFYI.

Re:Searched for "Gay" on their website (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491941)

and this is exactly why no one should watch that crap. If you watch that station, then you agree with religious extremists to the level of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Composition fallacy and ad hominem (1, Troll)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491421)

Just because Fox News was/is used for political propaganda and furthering one person's conservative agenda doesn't mean every news outlet is, even ones owned by people who live in conservative societies.

Furthermore, your comment is also a composition fallacy [wikipedia.org] (or a hasty generalization fallacy, I'm not sure which), like declaring feminists man-haters, or men's rights advocates to be misogynists. Just because SOME are, does not mean ALL are. Just because he's an Sheik doesn't mean he holds certain viewpoints, nor does it mean that he's using his news service to further those beliefs. In fact, many powerful Arabs are using their power to further democracy in their culture and countries.

Just a few examples I found, using site:aljazeera.com in google, all of which seemed pretty straightforward, factual reporting (granted, I read them quickly, but nothing leapt out at me, and none of the topics seemed verboten):

Coverage of anti-gay-conversion-therapy law in California being struck down, which seems pretty balanced in terms of coverage, quoting people on both sides and devoting roughly the same page space (which is a damn sight better than my local city newspaper; they routinely bias a story and then throw 1-2 lines in about the other viewpoint, as a sort of token gesture. I live in a very progressive, liberal city/state): http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2012/12/2012122223728233995.html [aljazeera.com]

Coverage of the gay pride parade in India, with a dozen photos, including of someone identified as being transgender: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2012/11/20121126205837449408.html [aljazeera.com]

Coverage of Church of England lifting ban on gay ministers: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2013/01/2013156028132292.html [aljazeera.com]

Women in the Arab world:

Editorial by Arab woman: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/04/201142412303319807.html [aljazeera.com]

"Although there may be resistance to this process of emancipation, Tahrir Square and Qasaba are now part of the psyche and formative culture of Arab women. Indeed, they are finally given a voice to their long-silenced yearnings for liberation from authoritarianism - both political and patriarchal."

Re:Looking forward in a Fox News sort of way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491595)

I don't know about aljazeera america. I've been following aljazeera-english for a long time now and some days ago I saw a precious documentary about a jewish woman, survivor of the shoa searching for a youth love.
So please, don't try to justify your racism using antisemitism please...

Re:Looking forward in a Fox News sort of way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491665)

Because of Al Jazeera, I discovered that there are Israelis - Jewish Israelis - who are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and who actually want a two state solution.

We mostly hear the right wing-pro settlement-us against the World-Right Wing Nuts here on US based news outlets.

Of course, as far as Fox is concerned,Israel first - even if it contradicts US interests. Fox is actually a traitor network when you think about it: damn the US if something hurts Israel.

Re:Looking forward in a Fox News sort of way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491949)

Owned by an Arab Sheik, IÃ(TM)m sure it will be faire and balanced towards womanÃ(TM)s rights in the Arab World, Jewish issues, and of course homosexuals.

The moderators are just as ignorant and prejudiced as yourself. You could have taken the time to just go to their Web site and watched their live streaming news or read some of their articles.

Most Americans would probably consider Al Jazeera's news to be "progressive", "leftist", "socialist", or some other usual term that over-generalizes. Too bad most Americans won't even bother trying to find out. Most Americans prefer to be ignorant and live with their own prejudices (just like much of the Muslim world). Also, for all you ignorant Americans out there: Al Jazeera has always had a problem with being banned/blocked in many Muslim countries as well. I assure you that it isn't just Americans who are ignorant and intolerant.

In general I find there reporting far, far more objective than American news stations, and their news coverage is far more scholarly and less sensationalistic than CNN or Fox News. I assure you that Hollywood celebrities (or middle eastern celebrities) don't make it to the front page (on their Web site) too often.

I, for one, welcome... (5, Insightful)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:I, for one, welcome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491337)

It'd be better with even more views available. How about a station that represents the views of Mongolia, Madagascar, or Brazil? I bet a station featuring North Korea would become a cult classic.

CBC's AIH has warm, smart women interviewers (5, Informative)

ivi (126837) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491377)

CBC's "As It Happens" & "The Current" news & current events programs are well worth a listen, eg, via podcasts.

Warm - asking difficult questions sensitively (eg, about tragic stories), & providing time both for the whole answer -and- transitions between adjacent stories... sometimes playing fitting music between them.

Smart - asking excellent & concise questions, giving time for interviewees' answers... but also asking excellent follow-up questions, so their probing questions -get- answered.

Ever since the days of the (late) radio journo Barbara Fromm, these & other Canadian programs have kept the hard-hitting interview tradition alive & well. We love em!

Re:I, for one, welcome... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491427)

Bwa Ha Ha Ha haaaaaa! Can't fucking believe you just said that with a straight face! You're good! Real fucking good!!!

Re:I, for one, welcome... (1)

Auroch (1403671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491475)

Well actually I do, it's great to have an alternative voice and hopefully this will bring more understanding and humanity to the news.

Unfortunately, the simple fact of having an "alternative voice" does nothing to further understanding or humanity. To be directly beneficial, you must have something worthwhile to add with that voice, and it should be clear of bias and misdirection. As I understand it, Al-Jazeera is as biased and controversial as both the left- and right- leaning institutions already in place, and I fail to see how an additional news network adds anything beneficial to the conversation. Simply having another viewpoint isn't fundamentally more (or less) useful simply because it is different.

Whether or not Al-Jazeera is going to be beneficial remains to be seen - but more is not always better (or worse), and different is not always good (or bad).

Re:I, for one, welcome... (2)

colinrichardday (768814) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491931)

As I understand it, Al-Jazeera is as biased and controversial as both the left- and right- leaning institutions already in place,

And how do you understand it?

Re:I, for one, welcome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491581)

Anything that isn't from Corporate America or Murdoch seems refreshingly intelligent and clear. BBC and Al Jazz are exceptional news sources.

Re:I, for one, welcome... (1)

poity (465672) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491907)

Let's be careful to not be over-enthusiastic here. People have a tendency to regard new challengers as the bringers of light against the establishment. But history tells us that true change is rare, and more often than not it is just another group of liars for another group of tyrants.

I hope we will regard them as critically as we regard any news outlet.

Their real difficulty... (1)

ZipK (1051658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491253)

... won't be finding viewers, it will be hanging onto their cable allocations.

Re:Their real difficulty... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491425)

... won't be finding viewers, it will be hanging onto their cable allocations.

Dish Network subscribers are rebelling almost as fast as their forum moderators can delete the posts demanding that Current be removed from their channel packages.

Re:Their real difficulty... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491495)

Like most internet protests probably less than 1% will actually "do" anything and it's most likely the same bury their head in the sand and shout out anything that might challenge their world view crowd of fox news watchers. They *might* cancel their contract for a fee after the Superbowl... until the summer pre-season NFL starts. ;)

Re:Their real difficulty... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491499)

What a big suprise, bigoted douchebag rednecks refusing "freedom of speech" if it's not the speech they endorse.

Re:Their real difficulty... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491683)

People actually know Current exists who aren't intentionally trying to watch it? I kind of figured the out-of-the-way channel placement combined with the horrendous production values would scare anyone else away.

AU's gov't radio station (ABC, NewsRadio) carry it (1)

ivi (126837) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491267)

Listed along with BBC & NPR, the Australian ABC broadcasts news & current events from Al Jazeera.

However, what I want is to be able to hear current events & news from CBC, eg:

+ As It Happens
+ The Current
+ Quirks & Quarks (Sci.)
etc.

Until the ABC adds such CBC programs to their list, we can & do auto-fetch them as podcasts (eg, using an XP box + Juice 2.2)

NO FUCKIN US CARRIER WILL CARRY !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491269)

After all, there are no so many uses for towels on those shores !! And used camels ?? Not much in demand !! AK-74 ammo ?? Maaaybe there, but not much else !!

Re: NO FUCKIN US CARRIER WILL CARRY !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491283)

I see, they missed you during iraq war.

Link TV (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491285)

On Dish Network, Link TV has shown the Al Jazeera English World News program as part of its Global News Hour for as long as I've had Dish Network. It's very hard to get me to part with money for a non-profit TV station, but I've actually donated money to Link TV before. Not much, but I did.

Though certainly more liberal, they aren't just Democrats or Republicans, and have aired some great documentaries that none of the big players would have ever touched. And if you think they were all bleeding heart lefties, I have seen speeches where bleeding heart lefties made a good case for supporting Ron Paul.

Al Jazeera English? Clips from it on some of the good documentaries, but I never just sat down and watched it. So yeah, tough market there.

Fox News in Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491301)

Russia Today is news channel that broadcasts in the US/Europe. It is poorly made Russian propaganda news channel sponsored by Russian government, and probably most Unti-US and Unti-Western news channel in the existence (I don't count middle east news channels in countries like in Iran or Palestine).

What is funny, arguably Fox News is one of the most respected US news organizations in Russia !!!!! Hatred is mutual !!!

Al Jazeera is not all that bad, compared to Russia Today. All the youtube clips I have seen were all professionally made new reports.

Re:Fox News in Russia (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491327)

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

Re:Fox News in Russia (-1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491349)

How cute that you think BBC and CNN are news organizations (except in a literal sense) rather than propaganda outlets for their owners, the British government and Ted Turner.

Re:Fox News in Russia (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491497)

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?

Re:Fox News in Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491601)

Oh you used subtle mockery to turn his words back upon him! That must mean that you are correct and also really a really clever person. Slow golf clap to your brilliant witticisms.

Re:Fox News in Russia (5, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491799)

Actually, the BBC is not owned by the british government. For some reasons, some US-Americans have a problem with grasping the difference between "public" and "governmental".

Re:Fox News in Russia (0)

Dusty101 (765661) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491785)

Mod parent up.

Re:Fox News in Russia (1)

anubi (640541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491899)

Russia Today and Al Jazeera are on MHz Networks programming lineup. Some of the more heavily populated US areas are covered on Over-The-Air (OTA).

Here's a link to their coverage areas [mhznetworks.org]

Alternative views of world news is very welcome to me. The more signal I get, the more I can integrate the noise out. There are ways newscasters "spin" the facts that trying to figure out the truth getting it from only one party is next to futile.

Crazy weather (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491335)

Seems that the Western Winter will come after the Arab Spring

Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (5, Insightful)

theedgeofoblivious (2474916) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491429)

That's just what they want you to think.

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491515)

I've not watched the network, but judging by the stories they choose to highlight on their Facebook newsfeed and the status texts accompanying these posts, they may as well be the Al Qaeda network.

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491537)

Could you highlight some of those "may as well be the Al Qaeda network" newsfeeds and texts?

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (2)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491573)

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.

It would be wrong to simply evaluate the merits of Al Jazeera based on the opinions of others. It is equally wrong to assume that because you (or any individual) likes what they have heard, that it has merit. Multiple data points and opinions have value, and proving merit is much more difficult that disproving it.

It takes a lot of time and evidence to prove credibility, and very little evidence to disprove it. Has Al Jazeera spent the time proving credibility? Or have they lost credibility through sloppy (or misleading reporting)? I honestly can't say. But people want to see that their opinions and judgments are widespread and common, and will generally support whichever broadcaster agrees with their views - not the most credible or honest network.

Al Jazeera is probably no better (or worse) than any of the american news networks. Unfortunately, that's not a particularly strong supporting argument ...

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491657)

Al Jazeera is probably no better (or worse) than any of the american news networks. Unfortunately, that's not a particularly strong supporting argument ...

Clearly spoken by someone who hasn't watched Al Jazeera (or, I suppose, American new networks). I generally find that Al Jazeera provides broader news coverage, and has better in depth features on less-covered topics, than American news networks. It also has less "talk shows".

sloppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491659)

Al Jazeera is probably no better (or worse) than any of the american news networks. Unfortunately, that's not a particularly strong supporting argument ...

You assert a couple sentences prior that you can't judge, then do anyway.

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491719)

They are certainly much better than Fox "News" probably most news networks are way better than them. I wonder how Fox "News" is even legal in the U.S.A. considering that it's forbidden to direct propaganda by foreigners against U.S. citizens. Fox "news" is owned by foreigners australians and saudis but I'm guessing they are trying to dumb down the american people and make them self-destruct through ignorance.

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (0)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491951)

They are certainly much better than Fox "News" probably most news networks are way better than them. I wonder how Fox "News" is even legal in the U.S.A. considering that it's forbidden to direct propaganda by foreigners against U.S. citizens. Fox "news" is owned by foreigners australians and saudis but I'm guessing they are trying to dumb down the american people and make them self-destruct through ignorance.

Fox was unable to start up a Canadian subsidiary because their current practices don't allow that sort of journalism to be called "news" [huffingtonpost.com] . Of course, snopes disagrees, but - as the original post says - you shouldn't judge what you havn't experienced.

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491643)

Al Jaz English is modeled after the BBC so that's no surprise. It's no secret that Al Jaz Arabic is much more radical.

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491977)

Because you speak arabic and have examples of their "radical nature"?

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (5, Interesting)

surfdaddy (930829) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491645)

I've watched it a few times and came away impressed. My initial impression that it would be "Arab Propaganda" was changed to a belief that it is in some ways more open-minded than US journalism. It doesn't hurt to listen to multiple perspectives. They appear to be working very hard to do legitimate news in a very serious way.

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (4, Insightful)

Dusty101 (765661) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491671)

AL Jazeera is very very biased. They skipped Baharain protests during the arab spring. They refused to telecast the video clips of rebels crossing into syria which bolsters the position of the present dictator. Even within the middle east they are not professional. So should I watch it to judge it?

They even have a column linking Kashmir conflict to Palestine. They are hell bent on showing India as an out to get all Muslims oppressive state (which is far far from the truth).

Now everyone has their bias. However these guys can't keep it out of their own territory, forget the rest of the world. I stopped watching these jokers after the Baharain protest blackout and the Syrian news blockage. I don't watch channels which promote state or quasi-dictatorial policies with wild abandon. That includes the BBC. I read news a lot more and use google news to find out what the pro-x voice is and what the other side(s).

So yes there is a good reason why Al Jazeera is as dangerous as Al Qaeda network.

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491755)

It's somewhat similar to a lot of other international news networks (see: BBC international, CNN international which is MUCH less crappy than normal CNN, etc) but just with more of a middle east focus. The main "bias" is that they actually consider the opinions and lives of the people actually living in those countries and not just the western paradigms of what those lives must be like. This will, of course, look like somewhat of an "Islamist" or "Jihadist" bias to most westerners, but from the bits I've seen it's mostly just a different perspective that actually looks beyond what the Pentagon and Downing Street (or whatever it would be in the UK) say about what is going on in the region.

Al Jazeera Arabic I have no way of saying anything about since I do not speak a single word of Arabic. It could very well be the same way, or it could suffer from a lot of the biases that our own domestic media sources (major networks, NYT, WaPo, cable, etc. The NYT is probably a quite bit better than the others I listed [infotainment television and, of course, the distilled essence of Inside-the-Beltway that is WaPo], but it still has some of the same problems) tend to suffer from, just from the opposite side.

Re:Actually watched Al Jazeera English? (0)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491857)

AJ-english != AJ arabic.

that, right there, is a big concern to many of us. we have heard that the arabic verison is NOT AT ALL like the english version. the arabic one caters entirely to the middle east mindset and many of us are afraid that the water runs too deep.

now, if they want to be taken seriously, the 2 stations have to be reporting the SAME info, verifyably.

until then, there will be mistrust.

so, they have to decide. are they going to be a Fox news or a real news station?

it would be nice to be a real news station, but I actually don't think its possible for a middle east/arabic based corporation (entirely controlled and owned) to be even a little unbiased. but if they want to be taken seriously, they know what they have to do. I just don't think they'll ever be willing to do it.

Progress? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491373)

I really don't like the idea of a having cable channel dedicated to the destruction of the United States Of America.

Fortunately, now Al Jazeera will now take it over.

Maybe they should buy MSNBC, next. Two for the price of one. Literally.

Queue the ignorant comments... (3, Informative)

caseih (160668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491417)

Yup here they come. Except for issues that have directly to do with the Qatari government and its interests (for example Arab Spring in Qatar), Al Jazeera english is quite fair and balanced. And they go a lot of places other news organizations are unable or unwilling to go. This may be unpleasant to Americans (the inside story of the civil war in Syria, for example), or even uncomfortable when the results of western action are exposed.

In any case, give it a look see yourself. Go to their web site and watch right there online. Or do this:

rtmpdump -v -r rtmp://aljazeeraflashlivefs.fplive.net/aljazeeraflashlive-live/aljazeera_eng_med | mplayer -

Web url for watching (2)

caseih (160668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491511)

Here's the web url for watching if you don't want to use mplayer or vlc:

http://www.aljazeera.com/watch_now/ [aljazeera.com]

Re:Queue the ignorant comments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491639)

I've been following this network for month through youtube, didn't know this trick. Thank you very much!

Competition is a good thing. (3, Funny)

some old guy (674482) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491439)

I'm sure Nickelodeon and The Comedy Channel are already feeling the heat.

Fox "News" Now Has Competition (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491443)

I believe with Al Jazera, and Fox "News"; we get White Noise! XD

Re:Fox "News" Now Has Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491535)

Al Jazera is better then Fox "News."

They actually cover world news and not just stick a bunch of pretty airheads and old rich white guys on 24/7 to fear-monger and spew murdock's propaganda. Watching it during the "arab spring" reminded me a lot of what CNN was in the early 90s when they were an actual news channel.

Re:Fox "News" Now Has Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491591)

All news is warped and has a political slant - CNN, Fox, AJ, NYT, LAT, WashPost, OmahaWH, AJC, HoustonChron.... all of them. Hopefully, we are adult enough to read, watch, listen to multiple source and use all that "critical thinking" that we were supposed to learn to weed out all the opinion and get to the **FACTS** like news should report.

Heck, my local news is always looking for some local angle on any news story. They reported how family members flew through our airport on the way to Conn. after that terrible massive shooting. Seriously. Seriously? I was reading newspaper in Japan and Buenos Aires that day - each also looked for a way to connect the same story back to their local people. They succeeded - a few Japanese nationals had kids in the school and a few former Argentineans (in the USA 15+ yrs) had kids there.

All so-called news has a bias.

Re:Fox "News" Now Has Competition (2)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491843)

It is still news, even if it is biased. Each retelling of a story is an interpretation, and even the selection of a newsworthy story shows bias. Get over it. It's still news even though your strongly opiniated neighbor tells it. For some reasons, a lot of people still believe that news, told by the wrong person, somehow aren't true. It's still news.

irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491457)

I don't even pay for TV. no thanks, keep your fecal matter in your own mouth.

Good. (2)

detritus. (46421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491459)

My local PBS station carries Mhz Worldview which carries Russia Today, Al Jazeera, France 25 and NHK World broadcasts. I welcome this move.

Hopefully we won't bomb their headquarters again like we did in Iraq. I can honestly say I get better, factual news from international sources about my own country than what CNN/MSNBC/Fox/ABC/CBS provides. It's pretty easy to see where the blackouts are when all the US networks won't cover one story but the international networks do.

Yet people are still pissed off because AJZ played Osama Bin Laden videos? I for one wanted to hear what he had to say. I think Americans deserve to hear all perspectives.

Re:Good. (1)

kenh (9056) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491919)

"Yet people are still pissed off because AJZ played Osama Bin Laden videos?"

No, they are pissed because they supressed some of the tapes [guardian.co.uk] , edited or delayed the release of others.

From the linked-to article:

The network even canned an interview with Bin Laden conducted in October 2001, the month after the September 11 terror attacks in the US, because it did not consider it to be in al-Jazeera's style.

I bet many would have liked to have seen that interview one month after the September 11 terror attacks...

"terrorist" of course meaning "i can't handle the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491517)

"terrorist" of course meaning "i can't handle the truth".

Really.

Even if it were completely biased, you'd at THE VERY LEAST know what people are saying.

But, apparently, the wrong sort of speech isn't free, it's terrorism.

Mixed feelings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491557)

I've watched some of it and I have subscribed to their news via RSS for years. It is boring propaganda the same as what comes out of NPR and FOX. It has been bankrolled secretly by the CIA as a kind of "voice of america". Though this connection was made public last year the "quality" has remained the same. If you want real news you are better off with local news and podcasts in America. Small outlets that do not have to be politically correct...

Political Content (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491571)

The US has the problem of high ideals with news and justice, and of course, you get Fox News and whatnot. Other places in the world have no illusion that news from a particular company has a political bias.. but then how do you get to objective news from there? I have no doubt that for those in the Arab world, the bias of Al-J is clear.. I dont think its a huge deal, just know it when you turn it on. Personally? I dont have much interest in the Arab world so I won't be watching.. I support it being available though... haha - I even support Fox and Russia Today! though they are almost self-parody somedays...

Saving the Planet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491587)

So the Supreme Environmentalist sold his TV channel for $100 million in oil money. The planet thanks you Commander Gore!

Re:Saving the Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491827)

Al Gore's hypocrisy in all this will be ignored by some. For all of his bluster and televangelism demonising others (sometimes falsely) for accepting money from "Big Oil" interests, when offered a paycheck from an organisation funded by people in the "Big Oil" business, he happily accepts it.

Al Jazeera is a lap dog (3, Informative)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491655)

Its owner is the state of Qatar, hosts to the U.S. Central Command’s Forward Headquarters and Combined Air Operations Center. There is nothing "radical" about them. All "news" must receive clearance, Clarence...

They're a good news source (3, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491673)

I read Al Jazeera's English website regularly. They provide good news, good video clips, and seem right up there with the BBC or CBC for the quality of their reporting.

But unlike the BBC and CBC, a lot of their news is about Asia and Africa, areas which aren't even *mentioned* on "mainstream" channels unless there is a major disaster or a few dozen people killed.

Oddly enough, they manage to cover the world with only one front page to their website, the same screen real-estate that the other channels have.

In comparison, the BBC and CBC are "local" news channels. And the US news feeds are just a freakin' joke -- they don't cover anything that can't be directly related to US white house policy. Navel-gazing waste of time -- no wonder most Americans are so ignorant about world politics and economic issues.

The big question about Al Jazeera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491829)

How did they get all those OBL videos, but never could tell us the trail the video came from, so we could get OBL?

It is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491863)

Americans deserve to see their version of facts and decide for themselves which spin tickles their fancy best.

Time-Warner Cable (0)

kenh (9056) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491875)

Time-Warner Cable has dropped Current/Al Jazeera's network [huffingtonpost.com] post-haste.

I suspect other providers (cable companies and satellite companies) will soon follow, for the same reasons they choose not to carry Al Jazeera before they bought Current - whatever those reasons were...

It has been reported that Current couldn't garner more than 22,000 viewers during prime time... The sale of current gives these providers a chance to dump this complete waste of spectrum Current/Al Jazeera. (That was 22,000 viewers out of a potential 40 Million - that is one half of one-tenth of one percent of their potential viewers.)

Oh the Irony (1)

AntiBasic (83586) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491915)

The first is that the Goracle accepts $100,000,000 of dirty oil money. The second is they closed the deal before the end of the year to avoid higher taxes. I thought democrats wanted higher taxes on the wealthy?

Again, nothing wrong with a muslim, foreign nation's state owned media apparatus broadcasting into other nations. Could you imagine the outcry if the CBN bought the BBC?

Big Media (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491963)

Big Media will refuse to carry them because they'll have no say so in how or what they report on. As it stands today, every majoelr news source is owned by a larger parent company. The news you and I receive via their networks are tweaked to reflect their own spin on whatever they are reporting. Is why Fox is pro-republican and CNN is pro-democrat.

The biggest nightmare the government can possibly have is news they cannot control, manipulate or sanitize prior to broadcast.

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