Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Turning On and Tuning In to Al Jazeera

I'm going to put down the Globe after another pathetic day of posts and give the new news channel a try. It will be the first cable newscast I've watched in years.

"Al Jazeera America prepares for debut, going against trends" by Brian Stelter |  New York Times, August 19, 2013

NEW YORK — Fourteen hours of straight news every day. Hard-hitting documentaries. Correspondents in oft-overlooked corners of the country. And fewer commercials than any other news channel.

I'm liking it already.

It sounds like something a journalism professor would imagine. It is Al Jazeera America, the culmination of a long-held dream among the leaders of Qatar, the Middle Eastern emirate that already reaches most of the rest of the world with its Arabic and English-language news channels. The new channel, created specifically for consumers in the United States, will join cable and satellite lineups Tuesday afternoon.

Al Jazeera America is the most ambitious American television news venture since Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes started the Fox News Channel in 1996. It faces some of the same obstacles that Fox eventually glided over — including blanket skepticism about whether distributors, advertisers, and viewers will give it a chance. 

I am.

But that is where the parallels to other channels end, because Al Jazeera America is going against the grain of seemingly every trend in television news.... 

Probably a good idea seeing as corporate television news is in the Al Qaeda. 

So what are they going to do, tell the truth?

Would-be competitors at big broadcast news divisions like NBC and established cable news channels like CNN have mostly shrugged at the start-up. A senior television news executive predicted Al Jazeera America would, at the outset, receive even lower ratings than the channel it is replacing, Current TV. Last month, the lame-duck Current had about 24,000 viewers in prime time, according to Nielsen data; Fox News had 1.3 million.

I rarely watched Current.

Al Jazeera acquired Current TV for $500 million in January to start an American channel, after trying unsuccessfully for years to win cable and satellite carriage for its English-language international news channel.

But with carriage comes concessions. Since distributors discourage their partners from giving programming away on the Internet, Al Jazeera will have to block American users from accessing the live streams of its programming that tend to be popular in periods of tumult overseas.

In other words, it's going to be the same old shit I get from the AmeriKan networks.

Al Jazeera will start in about 48 million of the country’s roughly 100 million homes that subscribe to television. It is in talks with Time Warner Cable, which publicly dropped Current TV upon Al Jazeera’s acquisition.

Meanwhile, one of Al Jazeera’s overseas rivals, the British Broadcasting Corp., continues to press for wider carriage of BBC World News in America.

Yeah, we have that, too, but I don't watch that much.

What is unique about Al Jazeera — its seemingly limitless financing from an oil-and gas-rich government — may be its biggest advantage and its most-remarked-upon weakness. With a staff of 900, including 400 editorial employees, it is one of the most significant investments in television journalism in modern times....

Yeah, I recognize what i$ behind the network, and while it's not perfect it is a different perspective from the corporate AmeriKan media.

Many contend Qatar’s geopolitical aims are a motivator, too. The Al Jazeera name still arouses suspicion in some Americans, mostly because immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Al Jazeera broadcast messages from Osama bin Laden and was demonized by Bush administration officials as being anti-American.


Operation Mockingbird
Why Am I No Longer Reading the Newspaper?

I was wondering how AmeriKan media organizations were staying in business.

Al Jazeera America officials rebut questions about whether its brand name will hurt its chances on cable by invoking other foreign brands, like Honda, that are now viewed favorably in the United States.

For now, some big sponsors appear to be skittish; Al Jazeera declined to name any major advertisers. It has cast its lower commercial load — about six minutes an hour, compared with more than 15 minutes an hour on another news channels — as a perk for viewers.

“Not cluttering the news with commercials,” Al Shihabi said after a studio tour in New York on Thursday.

He was swarmed by reporters, evincing widespread interest — at least among journalists — in the debut of the channel.


Praise Allah and pass the anthrax!

Related: Al Gore Sold TV Station to Arabs

Also seeSeigenthaler to host Al-Jazeera America’s top news 

I see there will be a lot of familiar faces from the corporate channels.

Well, the initial newscast is due to start at the top of the hour and I need to run a few errands first. 


Honestly, maybe it was the US news vets, but I found it to basically be the same corporate swill we get from the regular networks. About an hour-and-a-half in they turned the program into a human-caused global-warming fart fest with the fake hockey stick creator Michael Mann.

Maybe the oil-funded news network didn't want to take on the issue for fear of looking self-serving, and is bending over backwards on this issue to show its impartiality; however, I'm looking for truth for a change. They did do a later segment on the hunger strike in the California prisons which is something I haven't seen much about in the Globe. I've seen more about the hunger strike at Gitmo.  

Anyhow, the newscast just had that same old feel to me and it looks like I'm back here again. 

"Al-Jazeera America makes its debut; Network hired US news vets" by Frazier Moore |  Associated Press, August 21, 2013

NEW YORK — Al-Jazeera America signed on with a brisk hello from anchor Tony Harris before he got down to business with his network’s first stories: continued turmoil in Egypt, shots fired at an Atlanta elementary school, and more wildfires in the West.

Yeah, I felt like it was a Saturday morning on CNN.

With that, the network entered the cable-news fray long dominated by CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News Channel.

The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera Media Network launched its US outlet only eight months after announcing the new venture, which on Tuesday replaced Al Gore’s Current TV in more than 45 million TV homes....

Headquartered in New York, Al-Jazeera America has vowed to provide unbiased, in-depth domestic and global news. The network hired a number of veterans of US television, including Harris, an alumnus of CNN, and Mora, previously at ABC News. Other familiar faces include Soledad O’Brien, Joie Chen, and John Seigenthaler.

Scheduled programs include a nightly newscast anchored by Seigenthaler; ‘‘America Tonight,’’ a news magazine anchored by Chen; and ‘‘Real Money’’ with Ali Velshi.

Besides New York, domestic bureaus are located in Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, Denver, Miami, Seattle, Nashville, and New Orleans.

The new network will also draw from the 70 bureaus parent Al-Jazeera operates globally.

Al-Jazeera Media claimed an instant US foothold with its $500 million purchase of Current TV and the cable distribution of that little-watched network.

Al-Jazeera America is also available from satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network.

Thanks to the deep pockets of its parent, the new network commands considerable resources with no urgent need to turn a profit, as evidenced by a stated policy to air just six minutes of commercials each hour, less than half the usual time devoted to advertising by most commercial networks.

I'll bet AmeriKan news networks are jealous.


You know, the fact that my corporate pre$$ has spent so much time covering the launch tells you a little something, too. 

Of course, if forced to tune in to cable news for breaking news events (like the Marathon false flag), I guess I'll be turning to Al Jazeera now.