What the Heck is Al Jazeera America?

al-jazeera-americaTired of “info-tainment?” Tired of pundits screaming at each other between the seemingly endless commercials for Activia, reverse home mortgages and gold investments? Have you had just about enough of watching MSNBC only to watch “defund Obamacare” ads in the middle of the Rachel Maddow Show?

Well, guess what? Al Jazeera America launches on this coming Tuesday, August 20th, and they have stated that there will be no more than 6 minutes of commercials per hour. In addition to that, they have promised to be completely unbiased.

“It will be fact-based, meaty, balanced reporting,” stated Al Jazeera America deputy launch chief Paul Eedle. “We will be absolutely unbiased and impartial.”

There will be some familiar faces like Soledad O’Brien and Ali Velshi formerly with CNN, as well as some former executives from NBC, CBS and others.

Many have speculated that Al Jazeera will face an uphill fight to gain traction in the American media, but there is a niche right now that is just begging to be filled with a straight-forward news channel devoid of spin, regardless of which “side” it comes from. The other problem (which can be easily be disproven by Al Jazeera) is the idea pushed by right-wing media that they’re an anti-American, pro-radical Islam propaganda machine. The people who tend to believe that are those who have never actually watched the channel, from my personal experiences in talking with people who have voiced that concern.

Al Jazeera’s target audience is a younger demographic which tends to be more globally-minded and independent in their world view, versus those who rely on just a couple of sources for their information. They’re hoping to appeal to an audience that doesn’t want their news delivered to them with regurgitated talking points, out of context video clips, and an ever present partisan slant reinforced by hosts who angrily shout down guests brought on to prove they’re “fair and balanced.” As much as I enjoy some of the programs on MSNBC, they are there to make money off the other side of the political spectrum, with an admittedly liberal slant. Nothing wrong with that, but a lot of us prefer to process information and come to our own conclusions.

While our “news” market is already saturated with a myriad of commercial and independent media sources, there is a huge void when it comes to actual news instead of hyped partisan opinion thinly disguised as news – and that is the void Al Jazeera America hopes to fill. I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping that we finally get an actual source of “fair and balanced” news. Only time will tell whether Al Jazeera America lives up to their word and succeeds in bringing that to us.


Facebook comments

  • Erin Hines

    Hope spring eternal…..

  • Ginny B

    Looking forward to watching them!

  • Mike Williams

    What, no bat fights?

    Ok, I’ll watch anyway…but the first time they try to turn me into a gay Muslim loving anti-American Jihadist then I’m going to change the channel back to Fox news, at least when I laugh at them it won’t be considered insensitive.

  • Victoria Chatfield

    Does anyone listen to PBS? There is unbiased news and thoughtful commentary, without hysteria.

    • Morpheos

      I watch PBS and listen to NPR. On television PBS is third after BBC and Al Jazeera. And NPR is for me second only to BBC World Service.

    • daclhill

      I watched PBS more at one time than I do now. PBS is mianly funded and controlled by the Koch brothers now. They have had programing pulled because the Koch brothers did not like it’s content. We cannot have true news and programing that is being dictated by one group especially big corporations. Most media is this way now. They are being dictated to on what news they can put on the airway and how much investigation or what kind of investigation they can present. I try to get more of my news from independent sites.

  • James E Lockwood

    Having had a history of insomnia I have found PBS to be a blessing. Just saying.

    • daclhill

      The only problem with PBS now and their history presentations they are becoming farther and farther in-between those type of presentations. The Koch brothers have censored them so much on what they present.

  • cherylmorgan

    Let’s just hope they don’t commit the sin of omission like the MSM and RW (and CNN) media do. I learn a lot from MSNBC that isn’t covered anywhere else. I have yet to hear Rachel Maddow and others scream or insult a guest on her show or lie. If she misstates she corrects and apologizes. These hosts are people who know what they are talking about and not a bunch of dropouts ramping up hatred. There is a difference. That said, I also plan to give Al Jazeera America a chance, just as I also watched Current TV.

  • gunniesack

    unbiased. lol
    I can tell by
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    • Richard Ervin

      Can you dispute these articles?

      • gunniesack

        I aint disputing them . Im saying that they are not going to put what happens in the left wing, if anything at all is going wrong at all. lol Marium Webster can help you with 2 words. completely and unbiased.

      • AmusedAgain

        First, who’s Marium Webster? Second, because there are two sides to every story doesn’t mean that one side isn’t total bullsh1t. Fox News–when watched overseas–is a completely different animal than the US version. It’s 100% believable that Al Jazeera will also be different here than it is in the Middle East. May I suggest we wait until they turn on their transmitters before deciding that what they haven’t said yet is unreasonable. At the end of the day, I’d vote for credible, as in when you research a law that’s supposed to have death panels or RFID chips in it, you can point to the paragraph and section. Even that is a standard that Fox has serious trouble meeting.

      • gunniesack

        First It is a brand of dictionary. Second, because there are two sides to every story. CNN doesn’t mention anything wrong with the left and Fox doesn’t mention anything wrong with the right.

      • AmusedAgain

        The dictionary that I use is written by Merriam Webster.

        Perhaps you bought yours at WalMart, where Merriam’s idiot cousin markets to the same people that can’t tell facts from Fox..

        You had made up your mind about Al Jazeera before it went on the air. Perhaps I am wrong, but to me this demonstrates that you are not comfortable waiting, observing, thinking, and drawing your own conclusions. You must be happy to let others think for you.

        This would be a description of what certain people “proudly” call “dittoheads”.

        I have watched Fox News, and I have researched what they have said in many news “stories.” There may be two sides to every “story”, but, as I wrote, not every story is told with honesty or with facts. Because there are two stories does not mean that both have the same validity. I can tell from your capitalization that your ideas of America are fixed and immutable.

        That would make them even more limited than people who withhold reaching conclusions prior to observing and thinking.

        Now you have a plethora of new words to look up in your “Marium Webster.”

        Have a nice day.

      • gunniesack

        Yeah, so that makes it a bias opinion about unbias reporting

    • bonniewarford

      Remember that wonderful old saying, “Truth has a liberal bias”?

      Anyway, the site is called “Forward Progressives.” Does that give you a bit of a clue what its slant might be?

      • gunniesack

        Well, guess what? Al Jazeera America launches on this coming Tuesday, August 20th, and they have stated that there will be no more than 6 minutes of commercials per hour. In addition to that, they have promised to be completely unbiased. I was laughing at the phrase completely unbiased.

    • Mark Branstner

      Did you happen to notice what website you are on? Did you expect that “Forward Progressives” would NOT be biased? The difference is that no one on this site is pretending to be something that they are not … You have the choice to agree or disagree.

      • gunniesack

        Yeah, so that makes it a bias opinion about unbias reporting

  • Raspoutine

    Al Jazeera a fair balance of news ??????????? That’s a joke right . This tv channel is the “Fox News” of the middle east !!!

    • zobva

      Best post of the day!

    • Mark Branstner

      Just plain not true. Al Jazeera is certainly biased on occasion, but when they ARE biased, it is obvious … It is not a mouth-breathing bunch of liars pretending to “fair and balanced” and there is a profound difference between the two.

  • Mitchell Davis

    ” The other problem (which can be easily be disproven by Al Jazeera) is the idea pushed by right-wing media that they’re an anti-American, pro-radical Islam propaganda machine. ”

    Just because the name is Arabic?

    That’s even nuttier than saying that NHK doesn’t cover world news from places that have an ‘L’ sound in the name.

  • Shelley

    I’ve been watching Al Jazeera off and on (I don’t have a tv) and I already can say, from the little I’ve seen, I love it. Almost as much as I love NPR. We need to make Al Jazeera popular.

  • Keith Scott

    I regularly watch AlJazeera UK/Europe. It has a very high set of production and reporting values and for international news is possibly only second to the BBC World Service, although I would not want to live on the difference.

    • Andrea Büchter

      I second that!

  • biismillah

    Welcome Al Jazeera ( the Island ) to US. Hope to enjoy it. I may have to change from Time Warner Cable to Dish network if they don’t carry it .

    • arejaye

      Al Jazeera is an island? hmmm Stupid me. I’ve watched it for years(al Jazeera English) and it’s based and broadcast from the city of Doha in the country of Qatar.

  • nadim

    competition is always good for public and customers.

  • Kenneth Kalligher

    We’ll see won’t we. I was dedicated to PBS, but they have fallen to private money (Koch Brothers) and have killed programming not favorable to them. Of course they deny that, but they know the truth, as do we. I’ll give Aljazeera a look and let’s give them a chance to prove…fair and balanced.

  • guitarist0418

    I hope a point to hit both sides won’t be made for no reason though. To paraphrase the Newsroom, balance for the sake of balance is worthless.

  • Texas Star

    I haven’t tuned in to Al Jazeera America, but I do love Richelle Carey and I believe having her on board is definitely a point in her favor. I listen to NPR whenever possible, though if the Koch bros have a hand in that I might just have to bail…

  • arejaye

    I can’t get al Jazeera America, but I can still watch al Jazeera English. If the new show is anything like what I watch and compare US “news” too, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise with the show. In the US, I’d say CNN is probably the best at being unbiased as a whole, but al Jazeera takes no sides at all, they just get the FACTS and tell the story. I give their style of news two thumbs up!