Why do they hate Al Jazeera?
Why Do U.S. Networks Hate (Fear) Al Jazeera?
One of the fascinating things that has happened since the outbreak of popular revolts in Tunisia and Egypt was finding out from The New York Times that White House decision makers were getting their news from the Al Jazeera English channel.
Why? Al Jazeera English, the largest news organization in the world but a pariah among U.S. networks, was the only one keeping up with breaking events in the Middle East and Africa. As CNN, which made a similar impact during the first Gulf War, has cut back its international bureaus, people around the world have turned to Al Jazeera for a different slant on news not beholden to the American left or right.
In a recent article in Truthout, writer Mohamed El Oifi explained this shift in allegiance. "What first of all explains the exceptional audience this channel enjoys in the Arab world - beyond its professionalism - is that it has had the audacity to give voice to Arab oppositions even as they were excluded from national media controlled by governments or their allies," he writes.
"Then, there's the pan-Arab character of the channel's journalist recruitment - which includes the region's different nationalities and sensibilities and confers representativeness and popular legitimacy that other news channels do not enjoy. Finally, because of the dysfunction of political institutions and the lack of parliamentary institutions, of party and union structures likely to organize public debate, Al Jazeera functions as a substitute political arena ... Today, during crises, especially those involving the Middle East, people ascribe to Al Jazeera the ability to formulate and impose its own reading of events.
"If Al Jazeera was stigmatized by its detractors as 'Bin Laden's channel' in 2001, or as the vehicle for anti-Americanism in 2003, or as Hezbollah and/or Hamas' mouthpiece in the struggle against Israel, in 2011, the channel is essentially perceived in the world as the voice of the people, even of the revolution, in the Arab world. Thus, after a phase of regional and international recognition, Al Jazeera is en route to legitimization."
The White House is lucky enough to be able to view Al Jazeera; American viewers not so much. Al Jazeera isn't being offered to any U.S. cable or broadband subscribers. That's why Free Speech TV, which is already broadcasting Al Jazeera Headline News and Riz Khan, will continue to preempt much of our programming to air continuous Al Jazeera news on DIRECTV channel 348, Dish Network channel 9415 and at Freespeech.org.
Free Speech TV will continue to pre-empt its regular programming for 13 ½ hours each day to air Al Jazeera English's live news feeds until further notice. Complementing these feeds will be Free Speech TV's other daily news and analysis programs such as The Thom Hartmann Program, GRITtv with Laura Flanders and Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. All of these programs, including the Al Jazeera English News, are also providing timely coverage of the nuclear crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant in the aftermath of the recent devastating tsunami.
Al Jazeera English's live news feeds are now available during the following broadcast windows: 3 am - 8 am , 9:30 am - 12 pm, and 3:30 pm - 7 pm ET. Upon completion of this special live coverage programming initiative, Free Speech TV will continue to air weekly Al Jazeera English programming:
· Al Jazeera English DC News: 6:00 pm ET - Mon. through Sun.
· Riz Khan: 3:30 pm ET, Mon.-Fri., with repeats at 8:30 pm, 1:30 am, and 9:30 am ET.
· Faultlines: 10 am, 10 pm ET Fridays and 11 pm ET Sundays.
Just last Friday, NBC News failed to report that GE, one of its owners, didn't pay any U.S. income taxes, and it has become normal procedure for U.S. networks to hold back bad news of companies that have a financial interest in them. Free Speech TV, which takes no government or corporate money, is looking forward to a day when Al Jazeera English is welcomed to American cable networks as a legitimate alternative to our established networks. Until that happens, we will proudly do our part to offer Al Jazeera English to our viewers in the United States..