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May 10, 2011

Comcast Decides Not to Carry Al Jazeera

Back in late February and early March, several articles appeared (AP, Philadelphia Inquirer) reporting on meetings between Al Jazeera representatives and executives from several Cable providers. Comcast was mentioned in both stories as a potential entrypoint for Al Jazeera into the American television market.

According to a piece published by Accuracy in Media, Comcast has decided not to carry Al Jazeera. The piece quotes David A. Jensen, Vice President for Content Acquisition at Comcast

We do not have an agreement with this service that would permit us to carry Al Jazeera English on our cable systems and Comcast is not currently in active talks to complete such an agreement

The article cites the efforts of Jeffrey Smith.

In contrast to the Comcast decision, the Accuracy in Media article reveals that the Columbia School of Journalism has decided to team up with Al Jazeera. Nicholas Lemann, Dean of the Columbia Journalism School, has worked out a deal where Columbia fellows will work in the Al Jazeera English newsroom for 12 weeks and will apparently be paid by the Qatar government that finances Al Jazeera itself.

CAMERA published a piece about Al Jazeera in March. While Al Jazeera does in-depth coverage of the Middle East, its reporting tends to reflect sympathy for the positions of the Muslim Brotherhood, and is almost uniformly negative towards Israel and American involvement in the region. Its English language opinion pieces present the monotonal viewpoint of veteran anti-Israel radicals.

Its Arabic language news service is worse, featuring Muslim Brotherhood icon Yusuf Qaradawi, who exhorts his audience to "Kill the Jewish Zionists, every last one of them." MEMRI exposed a birthday party for released terrorist and child murderer, Samir Kuntar, thrown by Al Jazeera's Lebanon affiliate. Apparently this hasn't dissuaded Dean Lemann and others at the Columbia School of Journalism.

Posted by SS at May 10, 2011 04:06 PM


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