I really don’t like the idea of an extremist propaganda outlet that seeks the destruction of America airing on U.S. cable. Fortunately, sounds like Al Jazeera’s about to get rid of it.
John Podhoretz looks on the bright side and says this means the channel will become marginally more pro-Israel.
If the deal is completed, Current will provide the pan-Arab news giant with something it has sought for years: a pathway into American living rooms. Current is available in about 60 million of the 100 million homes in the United States with cable or satellite service.
Rather than simply use Current to distribute its existing English-language channel, called Al Jazeera English and based in Doha, Qatar, Al Jazeera will create a new channel based in New York, according to people with knowledge of the deal negotiations. Potentially called Al Jazeera America, roughly 60 percent of the programming will be produced in the United States while the remaining 40 percent will come from Al Jazeera English.
Al Jazeera may absorb some Current TV staff members, according to the people, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. But Current’s schedule of shows will most likely be dissolved in the spring.
I appreciate the irony of one of the high priests of global-warming awareness cashing out to a government built on oil wealth. I’m also sincerely curious to see what AJ does with the platform. They could pitch it squarely at the left as some sort of foreign-policy-heavy adjunct to MSNBC or they could emphasize kinda sorta straight news reporting on the Arab Spring and Middle East as an alternative to CNN. (Or a mix.) I remember fondly their on-the-scene coverage of the Egyptian uprising two years ago, when young liberals in Tahrir Square promised the end of fascism and oppression. Two years later, look how far they’ve come. Hopefully AJ America will be up and running by the time Assad is liquidated so we can get the good news about the Islamist democracy that’s coming to Syria. Beats endless reruns of “Bowling for Columbine,” which, judging from my cable program guide, has been roughly 80% of Current’s programming since the shootings in Newtown a few weeks ago.