Al-Jazeera American Style
A New Voice
On January 2nd, Current TV, the cable channel that Al Gore had created was sold to Al_Jazeera. The goal is to create an American version of the independent and controversial news channel. The channel already has a Sports Channel in America. Later it was revealed that there was a bigger offer from Glen Beck that Gore and Joel Hyatt refused.
Al-Jazerra's efforts to add their news to the landscape had resistance, and purchasing Current TV gives them a way to expand. I think there will be an audience for thier reporting, especially on the Middle East. Much as people in America turn to the BBC for a different view of news, people may turn to this new network for much the same reason. Also, just as Hispanics tune to Univison for news from and about Latin America, Muslims will likely be interested in news from their perspective.
There will be grumblings from the right, especially since an offer from Glen Beck to buy Current was refused. He likley wished to use Current to expand his web-based network of fear and conspiracy theories. Al Gore and Joel Hyatt wisely refused this offer. Others on the right will say that much like Air America, that this is yet another example of a failed attempt to create a progressive media. Never mind that MSNBC seems to have set itself as the news channel for the National Public Radio and Nation set.
There is still one potential obstacle to Al-Jazeera expansion into the United States. Will cable and satellite providers follow the lead of Time-Warner and pull the channel? I could see the right and pro-Zionist or pro-Israel forces putting a tremendous amount of pressure on providers to keep the channel off services, or at least off the free tier.
But if this can be overcome, I think the channel can take off. I just wonder if somewhere down the line they may need some internal tech support.