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Al Jazeera America Launches With Focus on News, Not Opinions.

Image: Al Jazeera America Launches With Focus on News, Not Opinions

By Michael Mullins

Al Jazeera America launches Tuesday. With bureaus located in 12 major U.S. cities, and supported by an international network of news correspondents, Al Jazeera America will have 900 employees, of which 400 are newsroom employees, The New York Times reported.

The type of news coverage that will be offered by Al Jazeera America, which hopes to compete with the likes of cable news heavyweights like Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC, is being compared to a PBS-style of news reporting, heavy on content and light on opinion.

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“Viewers will see a news channel unlike the others, as our programming proves Al Jazeera America will air fact-based, unbiased and in-depth news,” said Ehab Al Shihabi, the channel’s acting chief executive, on a news conference call last week, The New York Times reported.

“There will be less opinion, less yelling, and fewer celebrity sightings,” Al Shihabi added in the call.

Headquartered in New York City, Al Jazeera America will broadcast its news from the first floor of the New Yorker Hotel near midtown Manhattan.

The American offshoot of the Persian Gulf-based television news network Al Jazeera will be available in approximately 48 million U.S. households, and is in talks with Time Warner Cable to expand its reach further.

Shortly after acquiring Al Gore’s Current TV for the purchase price of $500 million in January, Time Warner Cable very publicly dropped Current TV in order to avoid broadcasting Al Jazeera America.

Al Jazeera has long been considered anti-American by some for having aired messages from deceased al-Qaida terror leaded Osama Bin Laden and its critical coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As part of its attempt to win over American audiences, Al Jazeera America recently altered its broadcast news model, which was originally going to have an international bent, to a more domestic view of the news, The Times reported.

Bob Meyers, president of the National Press Foundation, wrote in his blog last week that Al Jazeera America “could be fun, and even beneficial, to watch.”

“I am reminded of three other news organization launches in the U.S. that were transformative,” Myers added in the blog post. “One was the launch of CNN on June 1, 1980; the second was the launch of Bloomberg News in 1990; and the third was the launch of Politico in 2007.”

As for how much the venture will cost, Al Jazeera English Executive Paul Eedle, who is reportedly assisting with the launch, would not discuss figures with The Times, saying only, “We’re here because we think our journalistic mission has something to offer America.”

The network has a substantial amount of money behind it, being owned by members of the royal family of House of Thani, which has a net worth of $60 billion, primarily from oil generated revenue.

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Despite being owned by the government of Qatar, the personalities who will be relaying the news from Al Jazeera America will be familiar to U.S. audiences.

The well-known news personalities will include: former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, who signed up to be a special correspondent for Al Jazeera America in July; NBC news veteran John Seigenthaler, who will be a news anchor during the network’s prime-time hour; and Emmy Award-winning journalist Sheila MacVicar, among others.
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Al-Jazeera Propaganda Machine Invades America.


Fourteen hours of straight news every day. Hard-hitting documentaries. Correspondents in oft-overlooked corners of the country. And fewer commercials than any other news channel.

It sounds like something a journalism professor would imagine. In actuality, it is Al Jazeera America, the culmination of a long-held dream among the leaders of Qatar, the Middle Eastern emirate that already reaches most of the rest of the world with its Arabic- and English-language news channels. The new channel, created specifically for consumers in the United States, will join cable and satellite lineups on Tuesday afternoons.

Al Jazeera America is the most ambitious American television news venture since Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes started the Fox News Channel in 1996. It faces some of the same obstacles that Fox eventually glided over — including blanket skepticism about whether distributors, advertisers and viewers will give it a chance. But that is where the parallels to other channels end, because Al Jazeera America is going against the grain of seemingly every trend in television news.

“Viewers will see a news channel unlike the others, as our programming proves Al Jazeera America will air fact-based, unbiased and in-depth news,” said Ehab Al Shihabi, the channel’s acting chief executive, on a news conference call last week. He was explicit about what will be different, saying, “There will be less opinion, less yelling and fewer celebrity sightings.”

Mr. Al Shihabi and other Al Jazeera representatives say proprietary research supports their assertions that American viewers want a PBS-like news channel 24 hours a day. Originally the new channel was going to have an international bent; now its overseers emphasize how much American news it will cover and how many domestic bureaus it will have, which some see as an effort to appease skeptics.

Would-be competitors at big broadcast news divisions like NBC and established cable news channels like CNN have mostly shrugged at the start-up. A senior television news executive predicted that Al Jazeera America would, at the outset, receive even lower ratings than the channel it is replacing, Current TV.

Last month the lame-duck Current had about 24,000 viewers in prime time, according to Nielsen data; Fox News had 1.3 million.

Al Jazeera acquired Current TV for $500 million in January to start an American channel, after trying unsuccessfully for years to win cable and satellite carriage for its English-language international news channel.

But with carriage comes concessions. Since distributors discourage their partners from giving programming away on the Internet, Al Jazeera will have to block American users from the live streams of its programming that tend to be popular in periods of tumult overseas.

Al Jazeera will start in about 48 million of the country’s roughly 100 million homes that subscribe to television.

It is in talks with Time Warner Cable, which publicly dropped Current TV upon Al Jazeera’s acquisition. Meanwhile, one of Al Jazeera’s overseas rivals, the British Broadcasting Corporation, continues to press for wider carriage of BBC World News in America.

What is unique about Al Jazeera — its seemingly limitless financing from an oil- and gas-rich government — may be its biggest advantage and its most-remarked-upon weakness.

With a staff of 900, including 400 newsroom employees, it is one of the most significant investments in television journalism in modern times.

Paul Eedle, an Al Jazeera English executive who is helping to start the channel, would not comment on the total budget, but said hundreds of millions of dollars were being spent. “We’re here because we think our journalistic mission has something to offer America,” he said.

Many contend Qatar’s geopolitical aims are a motivator, too. The Al Jazeera name still arouses deep suspicion in some Americans, mostly because of the period immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when Al Jazeera broadcast messages from Osama bin Laden and was demonized by Bush administration officials as anti-American. source – NYT.

by NTEB News Desk

Al Jazeera Loves Hateful Islamic Extremists.

So, it hasn’t been the best week for Al Jazeera, the television network owned by Qatar’s despotic ruling family, for the same reason that it hasn’t been a great week for the despotic ruling family itself: the ouster of Egypt’s president, Mohamed Morsi, the bumpkin fundamentalist.

Qatar pumped a lot of money into Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government, and for what? The Qatari royal family should sue the Brotherhood for malfeasance. So much hope was riding on Morsi’s experiment in political Islam. Although Qatar spreads the risk around a bit — it has provided millions of dollars to Islamists in Syria and to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas (now there’s an investment in the future) — Morsi represented its main chance to advance the cause of Islamic fundamentalism.

And now, to add insult to financial injury, Saudi Arabia just promised post-Morsi Egypt $5 billion, and the United Arab Emirates, another of Qatar’s main rivals, has kicked in $3 billion.

As for Al Jazeera, which is scheduled to introduce its American network next month in place of Al Gore’s hapless Current TV, well, let’s put it this way: It will certainly be more popular among Americans than it is among Egyptians. Which isn’t saying much.

The millions of Egyptians who rose up against Morsi’s rule also aired their feelings about Al Jazeera’s breathless pro- Muslim Brotherhood coverage. The harsh criticism directed at the network prompted Egyptian reporters to expel Al Jazeera reporters from a recent news conference, and led several journalists to quit Al Jazeera’s Egypt operation, apparently to protest its obvious bias.

One of the correspondents who quit, Haggag Salama, accused his ex-bosses of “airing lies and misleading viewers.” The journalist Abdel Latif el-Menawy is reported to have called Al Jazeera a “propaganda channel” for the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s possible that some of the journalists who quit did so as a matter of self-preservation; the Egyptian military is behaving in predictably heavy-handed ways toward journalists it doesn’t like. But it’s also entirely plausible that they quit because they couldn’t abide Qatari government interference in their reporting.

If it’s been a bad week for Qatar and Al Jazeera, it’s been a very bad week for the network’s star broadcaster, the televangelist Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Sunni cleric who is a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qaradawi has been Al Jazeera’s most important star for many years. His show, “Shariah and Life,” is seen by millions across the Middle East.

As I reported this week, Qaradawi is an extremist’s extremist: He endorses female genital mutilation (he doesn’t refer to it that way, of course); he has called for the punishment of gay people; he has provided theological justification to insurgents who targeted American troops for death in Iraq (though he’s hypocritically silent on the decision of his Qatari patrons to allow the U.S. to locate a Central Command headquarters on their soil); he has defended the idea that the penalty for some Muslims who leave Islam should be death; and also, by the way, he believes that Hitler’s Final Solution was a nifty idea.

‘Real Revolution’

Over the past week, Qaradawi has seen his dream of Muslim Brotherhood rule in the Arab world’s most important country dissolve, and he has had to endure a special sort of humiliation — his own son, a prominent Egyptian reformer, accused him, in essence, of being a stooge for the power-mad Morsi. Shortly after Qaradawi issued a religious ruling calling the Egyptian army coup that unseated Morsi illegitimate, and demanding that all good Muslims work to reinstate the Muslim Brotherhood-led government, his son, Abdul Rahman Yusuf al Qaradawi, accused his father in a letter of not knowing what he’s talking about.

Referring to Morsi, the younger Qaradawi wrote: “We agreed with him that he would install a participatory government but he didn’t keep his word. We agreed with him that he would clean up the police force but he didn’t do that. We agreed with him that he would be president of all Egyptians but he disappointed us.” He went on to scold his father: “You haven’t seen a real revolution like the one that is happening in Egypt now. The views and ideas that the present generation of the Egyptians have are totally different from the ones that people of your generation had.”

This letter is the most encouraging thing I’ve read all week. I certainly hope the younger Qaradawi is correct: The world would be a better place if young Arabs across the Middle East saw the Muslim Brotherhood for what it is: a totalitarian, fundamentalist, misogynistic cult.

The world would also be a better place if Al Jazeera understood this. The network says that its American branch will be focused on fearless and serious reporting, and Al Jazeera is hiring some very fine journalists to staff the new channel. My advice to them, if they’re interested in maintaining their integrity while in the employ of the Brotherhood-supporting despots who rule Qatar, is to pursue a story that asks the following questions: Who, exactly, is our colleague Yusuf al- Qaradawi? What does he believe? And why do our owners provide him with a global platform for the advancement of his hatred?

Jeffrey Goldberg is a Bloomberg View columnist. Read more reports from Jeffrey Goldberg — Click Here Now.


© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


Egyptian Forces Order 300 Arrests; Raid Al Jazeera TV.

Security forces raided the Cairo offices of Al Jazeera‘s Egyptian television channel on Wednesday and detained at least five staff, hours after the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, a journalist at the station said.

Also, the Egyptian police has orders to arrest 300 leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood after the army deposed the Islamist president on Wednesday, the website of the official Al-Ahram newspaper reported early Thursday.

Karim El-Assiuti told Reuters his colleagues at the Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr channel were arrested while working in the studio. The station was prevented from broadcasting from a pro-Morsi rally and its crew there was also detained, he said.

The Egyptian arm of the Qatari-owned media company began broadcasting after the 2011 uprising that topped President Hosni Mubarak and has been accused by critics of being sympathetic to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

A senior interior ministry official confirmed to AFP that arrest warrants have been issued for “Muslim Brotherhood members,” but provided no further details.

Earlier officials said that security forces had arrested on Wednesday two senior Brotherhood leaders close to Morsi.

Saad al-Katatni, who heads the Freedom and Justice Party — the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood — and Rashad Bayoumi, the deputy head of the Islamist movement were detained, the officials said.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Egypt Army Overthrows President Morsi – Al Jazeera.

The Egyptian army has overthrown President Mohamed Morsi, announcing a roadmap for the country’s political future that will be implemented by a National Reconciliation Committee.

The head of Egypt’s armed forces issued a declaration on Wednesday evening suspending the constitution and appointing the head of the constitutional court as interim head of state.

In a televised broadcast, flanked by military leaders, religious authorities and political figures, General Abdel
Fattah al-Sisi effectively declared the removal of elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

Sisi called for presidential and parliamentary elections, a panel to review the constitution and a national reconciliation committee that would include youth movements. He said the roadmap had been agreed by a range of political groups.

Nigerians Flee Government Offensive In Borno: Thousands From Boko Haram’s Home State Now Live In Wretched Conditions In Neighbouring Niger-Al Jazeera.

We travelled by road through the harsh desert plains of Niger, to its frontier with Nigeria, to meet the thousands of refugees who had arrived from Nigeria. More than 6,000 of them had fled intense fighting in their towns and villages between the Nigerian military and Boko Haram.

The fighting started after Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian president, declared a state of emergency and ordered a military offensive against Boko Haram on May 14. Boko Haram, an armed radical group, has been behind the killings of thousands of civilians across Nigeria over three years of attacks in the region.

Most of the refugees we met were women and children from Borno state in Nigeria, the birth place of Boko Haram.  Borno has seen the most violence caused by the group, and it is the epicentre of the military campaign t crush the group.

Many of the refugees fled when they heard gunfire and saw Nigerian fighter jets passing overhead. They were so frightened, they fled with just the clothes they were wearing.

The refugees are experiencing severe suffering in Bosso, they told Al Jazeera. They do not have food to eat or water to drink. Locals in Bosso have done what they can to help the Nigerians who have arrived. Bosso is a small and poor town, however, with major food and security issues of its own.

There is no accommodation or shelter for people. The streets are littered with Nigerian refugees – just sitting there, looking lost, looking hopeless. One of them was Yabawa, a mother of nine. An educated civil servant back home for Abadam local government in Borno state, she arrived on Tuesday after Boko Haram launched an attack on Nigerian soldiers in the area, she said. She told us her village was deserted: everyone fled across the border.

Yabawa was lucky enough to be given shelter on the compound of one of the local leaders. That ‘shelter’, though, is just a space for her and her family on the floor, outside, under the trees. She wants to see an end to Boko Haram, and supports the military offensive, but she also says it has devastated her life.

The UN’s refugee agency says that there are more than 6,000 Nigerian refugees and more are arriving everyday. Due to the terrain in Niger, they’ve not been able to give the refugees any humanitarian assistance. The UN says it’s putting together an emergency humanitarian aid effort to help the refugees. But that could take weeks.

The Nigerian refugees, then, will continue suffering until then. They are calling on the Nigerian government to help them urgently, so they can return home.


Nigeria Denies Al Jazeera Report Saying Military Kills Civilians.

ABUJA, NigeriaNigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s office denied an Al Jazeera report that civilians had been killed in the military’s offensive against Islamist militants.

A video, which Al Jazeera said was taken by a unidentified Nigerian soldier of the current military operation, was actually of another incident on May 7 in the northeastern town of Bama, Reuben Abati, a presidential spokesman, said today in an e-mailed statement.

On May 7, Boko Haram militants wearing army uniforms attacked a barracks, a prison and a police station in the town of Bama, killing at least 42 people and freeing 105 inmates, officials said at the time. Thirteen militants died in the attack.

The military of Africa’s largest oil producer began an air and ground offensive against Boko Haram on May 16, after Jonathan imposed emergency rule on May 14 in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to step up the fight against Islamist militants. The insurgents were taking over parts of Borno state, according to Jonathan.

The network’s claim that the man in uniform, who didn’t show his face, is a soldier “cannot be sustained” as Boko Haram members are known to wear military uniforms, said Abati. “No soldier has left the frontiers since the beginning of the operations.”

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is a sin” in the local Hausa language, has carried out attacks across Nigeria’s north and in Abuja, the capital, since police killed its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, while in custody for his role in clashes with the security forces in 2009. The group says it wants Islamic rule in Africa’s most populous country, which is almost evenly split between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.

Jonathan’s emergency rule declaration followed violence in Baga, a fishing town on the shores of Lake Chad, in which as many as 228 people were killed after security forces responded to an attack by militants on April 16, according to local officials.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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