Monday, August 19, 2013

al-Jazeera America

Sorry Ms. Beale, I'm skeptical of the new al-Jazeera America channel. Not because it's al-Jazeera. The company has it's problems (especially recently), but it's not the terrorism-loving news outlets that American conservatives assume it to be. I actually think that al-Jazeera English is a solid news channel, better than all three of the American 24 hour news channels.1 Americans speak English, there already is an English language al-Jazeera channel serving the entire English speaking world, why do we need an American-specific channel?

What I suspect is that they will dumb it down for the American audience. That's what CNN does. CNN International is much better than American CNN. But the only time I can watch CNN International is when I'm outside the country because CNN America is what is offered here. It's not just CNN that sells a dumbed down version of their international news operation to the American public. Other news outlets do the same thing. That seems to be the point to having an American edition as opposed to a global English language edition.

If al-Jazeera was really intent to bring the same level of quality as al-Jazeera English to the U.S., it would just bring al-Jazeera English to the U.S. instead of creating a new U.S.-only channel.

I realize that al-J English has not been very successful in getting picked up by American cable companies. But I don't see why al-J America is going to have any better luck. Which is why I suspect, like all the international news companies, al-Jazeera's marketing department has come to the conclusion that Americans need a dumber more sensationalist version of the channel, even if they are trying to market themselves as the opposite. If they really meant it, they wouldn't need to create a new channel. Just stick with a-Jazeera English.

1- Okay longtime Rubber Hose readers (yes, both of you) will recall that I originally predicted that al-Jazeera English would fail. What can I say, I was totally wrong. But you two will also recall that I already copped to that a couple of years ago. And none of that changes my point that having an al-Jazeera America is dumb when it already has an al-Jazeera English.