In The New York Times, media reporter Brian Stelter described the launch of Al Jazeera America as “something a journalism professor would imagine” due to its “Fourteen hours of straight news every day. Hard-hitting documentaries. Correspondents in oft-overlooked corners of the country. And fewer commercials than any other news channel.”
The conservative media, however, saw the channel’s launch today as an opportunity to spread fact-free Islamophobia.
On Fox News, guest Jim Pinkerton described the network as an “Arab news channel” and went on to claim that “many if not most Arabs probably support what Bin Laden was trying to do in terms of killing Americans” before giving the channel credit for its coverage of the Arab Spring and other global events.
Back in February when it was announced the network had purchased CurrentTV, Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy asked if Al Jazeera America was “a Trojan Horse for terror”:
On his Blaze show, Glenn Beck claimed Al Jazeera “haven’t changed their anti-American views” before criticizing Hillary Clinton and President Obama for praising the network’s coverage of the Arab Spring, claiming that “48 million Americans are having their money taken out of their cable bill every month and sent over to the Middle East” to promote “propaganda.”
The New York Post quoted an unnamed source who refused to advertise with the network:
“I wouldn’t give them a dime, especially since we are in New York,” said one advertiser, who asked not to be named.
“They’re owned by an Arab country and they ran the [Osama] bin Laden tapes. I just wouldn’t trust them,” he said, referring to Al Jazeera’s role in gaining access to the late al Qaeda leader.
News Busters gleefully mirrored the content of the Post.
Far easier than watching the network and judging its content on the merits, the conservative media figures would rather play to their Islamophobic base and demonize the effort.