J201 Section 310
October 1, 2013
Changing the way news is perceived to a country isn’t an easy thing to do, but that’s exactly what Al Jazeera America is setting out to do. The article “Al Jazeera America Promises a More Sober Look at the News” emphasizes the fact that Al Jazeera is looking to become a more prominent news source in America. Although Al Jazeera is a well known name in the middle east, they have yet to get much recognition in the United States by virtue of getting unfairly “demonized by Bush administration officials as anti-Americans” due to their reportings from the Osama bin Laden terrorist videos in 2001 (Shelter, 2013, p.3). Despite the inaccurate label, Al Jazeera is committed to bringing more balanced and unbiased news that many American news companies have been lacking. They have already been compared to Fox News through their ambitious style, while still trying to portray the news as balanced as possible. With the assets and strategy they have, it’s no wonder they have gotten their ambitious reputation.
One of Al Jazeera’s unique and most powerful assets is it’s financial stability from Qatar’s highly successful oil and gas exports. This is something that they are planning to use to their advantage, with the prospective idea of cutting down it’s commercial time to increase the time the program is on the air. This would knock their commercial time down to about six minutes an hour compared to the average fifteen minutes an hour for most other news channels (Shelter 2013). President of the National Press Foundation Bob Meyers called Al Jazeera a “transformative” with these unique tactics to gain viewers in the United States.
Even with these tactics, financial stability, and it’s emphasis on unbiased news reporting there are still many legitimate questions about Al Jazeera America, David Sirota from Salon explains. He asks whether or not Al Jazeera America will “focus only on the narrow set of DC/New York-focused stories that most other cable news outlets primarily focus on, or will Al Jazeera branch out by expanding the definition of American news?”(Sirota, 2013). He also questions if Al Jazeera America can provide the serious investigative news that it has been promoting, or divulge into the drama-esque news reporting that viewers see from news sources today. So far, the answers to these questions are looking promising. When asked about any sort of bias, their anchors responded, saying that there didn’t seem to be any tilt towards any certain area for news. The only other certain way to see how these questions are answered is to wait for them to hit the air. The biggest indicator of Al Jazeera America’s success may not have to do with the company at all. With the unfair label of being marked pro-terrorist plus the way Americans view companies from the Middle East, Al Jazeera must get it’s name viewed favorably to ultimately gain the audience it’s looking for in America.
Shelter, B. (2013, August 18). Al Jazeera America Promises a More Sober Look at the News.
The New York Times, pp. B1.
Sirota, D. (2013).The right’s bigoted crusade against Al Jazeera America. Salon. Retrieved from