Daily 49er

Birth of Al Jazeera America should bring fairness to cable news


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It’s not often that a new player comes into the realm of cable news.

For years, networks like CNN, FOX and MSNBC have dominated the cable news world with each network pandering to a specific audience.

On Tuesday, Al Jazeera America will launch to an audience that has not yet been defined.

Although the chances of Al Jazeera America eclipsing a network like CNN is highly improbable, it’s clear that the balance and fairness associated with Al Jazeera in the Middle East will likely carry over to its sister network.

According to Reuters, Al Jazeera is a network that is watched by more than 260 million households around the world.

Although the scope and reach of Al Jazeera has increased since its first broadcast in the late 1990s, it has failed to catch on to the average American.

One of the reasons why Al Jazeera has failed to catch on within the United States has been its perceived anti-American coverage during the Iraq war.

Known for its brutally visual yet honest coverage of the war, Al Jazeera came under criticism from Americans for its apparent negative coverage of the U.S. military.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld referred to the network as a “Johnny-on-the-spot” in 2004, according to Al Jazeera.

Rumsfeld accused journalists working for Al Jazeera for supposedly getting tip-offs from “terrorists” about future attacks in Iraq. Al Jazeera denied Rumsfeld’s accusations.

Ignoring the network’s past tensions with American government figureheads, it’s clear that Al Jazeera is one of the world’s most fair and balanced news networks.

Famous and trustworthy journalists like former CNN anchors Soledad O’Brien and Ali Velshi should bring familiarity to Al Jazeera America.

Although it is impossible to predict exactly how Al Jazeera America will do, it’s clear that fairness is key if the network wants to succeed.

Over the years, networks like FOX and MSNBC have been criticized for pandering to a certain type of political audience.

Partisanship has moved from the halls of Congress to television screens across the country.

The time is now for a fair and balanced cable news network.

According to Reuters, Al Jazeera America will be available to approximately 40 million homes in the U.S.

If the network is anything like what it is in the Middle East, American should expect a fair, well-informed broadcast.

Americans who have preconceived notions of what Al Jazeera is like should tune in on Tuesday and witness this historical event.

Shane Newell is a junior journalism major and the opinions editor of the Daily 49er.

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