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Al Jazeera America opens for business on Tuesday and many may be wondering if we really need another cable news network. But Al Jazeera promises to be different from CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, networks that are dominated by commentary and few hours of just straight news. Al Jazeera hopes to fill that void with less commercials and more hours of straight news.
The international news organization has been searching for a way into America and found it in January when it purchased Al Gore’s beleaguered Current TV. That network leaned to the left and could not compete with the other news networks.
Since buying Current, Al Jazeera has bolstered its American effort with acclaimed journalists like Soledad O’Brien and will cover the country with 12 bureaus. And it even brought Time Warner Cable back to the negotiating table, since TWC decided to drop Current the moment Al Jazeera bought it.
Still, the biggest problem is to overcome the perception that al Jazeera is anti-American. Because of that, the network has had trouble drawing in advertisers, notes the New York Post. The network is trying to turn that into a positive, though, since it will only have six minutes of ads per hour, half as much as the other networks.
“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,” Ehab Al Shihabi, the channel’s acting chief executive, told reporters last week, notes The New York Times. “There will be less opinion, less yelling and fewer celebrity sightings.”
Al Jazeera says that it has done research that shows Americans do want more straight news. Starting on Tuesday, the network will get to see if that’s true.
image: Wikimedia Commons