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Al Jazeera America Debuts Today [Video]

Al Jazeera America [AJAM] debuts today.

Al Jazeera America [AJAM] debuts today.

HAVING WATCHED Al Jazeera English since we arrived in the Beltway, also having been a guest talking head many times with Al Jazeera, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for what could be an important addition to American news, which has been caught in the hyper partisan vortex since Fox News channel debuted.

Led by Kate O’Brian, a 30-year ABC News veteran who will take over as president of the network, she will oversee the editorial team and attempt to convince more outlets to carry Al Jazeera America. AJAM as its called is headquartered in New York City and has 12 bureaus across the U.S.

AJAM’s “There’s more to it” slogan is a good place to start.

John Seigenthaler, the former NBC anchor, will take top news duty for AJAM. CNN’s Ali Velshi and Soledad O’Brien, former NBC News’ Mike Viqueira, will also be on board, as will David Shuster.

About AJAM:

O’Brian, a former senior vice-president at ABC News who began her career there as an intern, will be based at the network’s headquarters in New York City, and “will have full responsibility for defining and implementing the editorial strategy and operations across the network, including news, documentary and all other programming”, according to the statement.

In an interview, O’Brian told Al Jazeera English, AJAM’s sister network, that there was “a gap” in the US news media landscape that her channel would be seeking to fill.

The Qatar-based Al Jazeera network acquired Current TV and hopes this is a bridge to a wider audience. We shall see.

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9 Responses to Al Jazeera America Debuts Today [Video]

  1. mjsmith August 20, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    I am unable to get passed the wahabi bias. Qatar, along with Saudi Arabia, is ativley supporting al nusra the al qaeda affiliate in Syria that is closely related to al qaeda in Iraq or AQI. I do like watching al jazeera, they do have a quality production and they do fill in a void. I am not rtoo excited about a state run media outlet though. If you think the people who run Fox News are too conservative? Take a look at the people who run al Jazeera.

    Current TV used to be great. Then it went from viewer contributed/produced content to total crap content.

  2. Taylor Marsh August 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    I am unable to get passed the wahabi bias…

    That’s an opinion that has absolutely no basis in fact where the network is concerned.

    I’ve had personal interaction with the people of Al Jazeera, including AJ Arabic, and have found absolutely none, zero bias or attempt at manipulation of the news, including opinions that differ.

    • mjsmith August 20, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      Every News outlet claims to be objective.

      • Taylor Marsh August 21, 2013 at 10:39 am #

        Non sequitar aside, reporting can fail to be fully fair, but Al Jazeera America is stating openly “there’s more to it” and more voices and opinions out there.

        They will falter, fail sometimes, but at the core is not what you claim a “wahabi bias.” That is utter bullshit, an opinion based on your own biases.

        • mjsmith August 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

          You can read the stories and check the references and make up your own mind.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Jazeera

          Egypt and Syria 2013

          22 members of staff of Al Jazeera’s Egyptian bureau announced their resignation on July 8, 2013, citing bias coverage of the ongoing Egyptian power redistribution in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood.[23][24][25] In January 2013 a former New Editor at Al Jazeera, who was from Syria, and had been at Al Jazeera for “nearly a decade” was fired without cause given, but in an interview stated their belief that it was linked to his/her resistance of ongoing strong pressure to conform to biased coverage of the Syrian civil war. The former Editor stated that the Muslim Brotherhood was “controlling the Syrian file at Al-Jazeera” with both organizations biasing news coverage in favour of the Brotherhood ousting the Syrian government of Assad by force and warning the then-editor “the majority [in Syria] is with the Muslim Brotherhood and [taking power] is within our grasp” so “thank your god if you get a pardon when we become the government.” The source named the names of several other former employees who resigned in protest, including director of the Berlin bureau Aktham Sleiman, a Syrian, “who was, at the beginning, with the [Syrian] opposition” but resisted what the interviewee terms the “lies and despicable [political and ethnic] sectarianism” and concluded that “Al-Jazeera has lied and is still lying” about Syria and in favour of armed overthrow and of the Muslim Brotherhood.[26][27]

          In August, 2013, Memri translated an August, 17, 2013 clip from Al Jazeera, in which Gamal Nasser, a former Muslim Brotherhood official and Al Jazeera commentator, said that General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is “of Jewish origin” and “implementing a Zionist plan to divide Egypt”.[28][29]

    • secularhumanizinevoluter August 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

      “That’s an opinion that has absolutely no basis in fact where the network is concerned.”
      I would say that is putting it mildly.

  3. PeggySue August 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    I think you need to look at the content of the programming and judge from there. Al Jazeera has done some fine reporting, long quality pieces that make you think: where the hell are the US outlets? Why am I not seeing coverage like this?

    For instance, they did a remarkable and very effective piece on economic inequality, the American poor. And what that looks like for far too many US families. This should be covered by US outlets. But with the exception of 60 minutes, I haven’t seen a lot of airtime devoted to the plight of our own citizenry. It’s way to easy to talk about moochers and deadbeats instead. During the “spring’ uprisings, I relied on Al Jazeera English for coverage because US reporting was patchy and not terribly insightful.

    I’ll be watching with interest. I just flipped the station up. Where I’m at the debut starts at 3 pm. It’s about time we had an alternative.

    • Taylor Marsh August 21, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      Their investigation on Walmart was eviscerating, and they took on vacation time of middle class versus the Congress, which was damning.

      I watched their debut day & it was very, very good.

  4. secularhumanizinevoluter August 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    I find it amazing that in the 1st Amendment obcessed United States corporate media only lets the people see the version of news the corporations want seen. I appluad AlJazeera and wish them well. Might actually rethink cable after all.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong