January 14, 2016

Al Jazeera America Cable News Pulling the Plug. No Surprise to Me.

The New York Times reported in today's national print edition that Qatar-owned cable news channel
Al Jazeera America is pulling the plug (no pun intended) and will shut down by April.

My immediate thought?  No surprise to me.  Al Jazeera America was doomed to fail from the start.

Al Jazeera America never "got"
the national cable news audience in the United States.

As reported in the Times' article, when Al Jazeera America started broadcasting in August 2013, "[i]t promised be thoughtful and smart, free of the shouting arguments that have defined cable news in the United States over the last decade."

Ok, sounds like a laudatory goal.  Just a couple itty bitty problems.  Did Al Jazeera executives (and the country of Qatar that bankrolled the project) give even a minute of meaningful thought to the possibility probability that United States cable news viewers generally would not trust an Arab controlled cable news channel?  Or give any thought to why cable news channels such as Fox News  and MSNBC are successful?  That perhaps their success is because viewers actually enjoy the mudslinging, arguing, and vitriol present on the programs?

Just look at the popularity of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.  The more Trump escalates his vulgar vitriol, the higher his poll numbers rise.  While society in the United States is supposedly fostering and supporting an anti-bullying environment, truth is some people thrive on just that:  bullying and mud-slinging vitriol.  (Disclosure:  I very much dislike Donald Trump and his vulgar, nearly undefinable narcissistic behavior.  Practically makes me throw up in my mouth.)

If it bleeds it leads.  And loud mouth vitriol gets attention, just as some say no publicity is bad publicity.  Looks like Al Jazeera America learned the hard way.
Mary Rae Fouts

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