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Is Al Jazeera a legitimate news channel?
The network bought its way into U.S. homes, but the move may not be enough to prove to Americans that the Qatari outlet is producing news and not propaganda
 
Producers in the Doha, Qatar, studio of the Al Jazeera network.
Producers in the Doha, Qatar, studio of the Al Jazeera network. Wolfgang Kumm/dpa/Corbis

Just hours after Qatar-based Al Jazeera revealed that it was buying Al Gore's Current TV, Time Warner Cable announced on Thursday that it was dropping Current from its stable of offerings. Current executives said Time Warner was dropping their channel because it had not signed off on the transaction. Time Warner's move was a clear setback to a deal, reportedly worth $500 million, that marks Al Jazeera's most forceful push yet to get its news programs into American living rooms, and shed its reputation as the media arm of Islamists. So what's the network's story? Does Al Jazeera simply present the news from a different perspective, or is it a mouthpiece for anti-American propaganda?

Al Jazeera is a legitimate news source: Al Jazeera isn't a "terrorist network," says Rory O'Connor at The Huffington Post. During the Arab Spring, it was a go-to source for information. It's not just planning to beam its Al Jazeera English channel to Americans — it's forming a new channel, Al Jazeera America, that will do original reporting across the country. That will be a welcome addition to the nonsense offered by the "braying heads" at Fox News and MSNBC.
"Welcome to America, Al Jazeera"

The channel will give U.S.- and Israel-haters a soapbox: There's a reason Al Jazeera is "the favorite network of Al Qaeda and other Islamists," says Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary. It has a "biased outlook on the Middle East and the United States" that reflects the point of view of folks like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. This new channel could wind up being nothing more than "a bully pulpit" beaming anti-Israel talking points into U.S. homes.
"A perfect match: Al Gore and Al Jazeera"

Al Jazeera's bad reputation is undeserved, but it's still a problem: There's a "wee snag" in Al Jazeera's plan to prove its legitimacy to American viewers, says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. It's (undeserved) reputation as an Islamist propaganda organ makes it "quite controversial," so many cable companies might balk at carrying it. That probably means Al Jazeera America will "never be a major player in the U.S.," because Americans won't give a "suspicious" foreign network a chance.
"Al Jazeera buys Al Gore's Current TV"

 

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