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A View of Al-Jazeera
A New Voice?
- Al Jazeera America Home Page
Al Jazeera America offers unbiased, fact-based, in-depth stories of U.S. and international news, including sports, business, lifestyle and investigative journalism
- Real Money with Ali Velshi--Al Jazeera America
Real Money with Ali Velshi examines economic issues Americans confront every day and delivers actionable solutions.
- Consider This--Al Jazeera America
Consider This is a current affairs program dedicated to challenging the status quo. With host Antonio Mora.
A Month On The Air
On August 30, 2013, a new channel came on to the American cable news scene. Over eight months after purchasing Current TV from Al Gore, Al Jazeera America made it's debut.
As would be expected, there was controversy. The fact that Al Gore and Joel Hyatt had refused a bigger offer from right-wing voice Glen Beck only added fuel. There were fears that the channel may have an anti-American, anti-Israel or anti-Zionist, or pro-Islamic bias. I was surprised that my cable company didn't drop the channel. I didn't even expect to be able to see the programming as Current TV wasn't on my tier,
But while channel surfing, I was surprised to find that I could view the programming. I had watched the channel while I was visiting my family, who have DirectTv. I decided to spend part of the day watching some of the channel's programming.
Information and Documentaries
The day I chose to watch, the channel alternated its news programming with other informational programs. I saw a general talk program that focused on; the Pope's comments on social issues, anti-bullying programs, and rape in America. The segments on the Pope and bullying featured a discussion. I think it would have been nice to have a representative from a more progressive Catholic group like Catholics for Choice, but they may not have been available.
Another informational program I saw was a show on financial issues. Refinancing homes and the Affordable Care Act were the main topics there. For a channel that was supposed to have a "leftist bias", the fact they called the Affordable Care Act "ObamaCare" may counter that.
I also managed to see two documentaries. One on the American-backed and trained, death squads of El Salvador and one on the Aral Sea.
The News That Fits?
Oddly enough, the first and last programs I watched were the news casts. The channel seemed to alternate news with the other programs during the day.
The evening news, which you would think would have made the focus the U.S. House vote to fund the Government, but defund the Affordable Care Act, did not. They seemed to make the shooting in Chicago the focal point. They also did reflect a bit of the foreign ownership by doing a piece on Yemen and a food crisis in India. One interesting piece was on how a Native American tribe in Washington is in the process of trying to remove members from its rolls.
I saw no real bias, and the simple set reminded me a bit of a local news channel.
Does Al-Jazeera America have a niche? I think it may, for those who would a news channel along the lines of the BBC.