Liberals who believe both Fox News and CNN have become cheerleaders for the war in Iraq may have another alternative: Al Jazeera International.
The Rocky Mountain News reports that the nascent English-language channel has finally found at least one carrier in the U.S. who is willing to put the channel in its lineup.
EchoStar's Dish Network is the only cable or satellite operator in the U.S. publicly willing to consider carrying controversial Arab news channel Al Jazeera's planned English-language spinoff.Dish Network wants to stick the channel in as part of an Arabic package. The satellite company already carries the Arabic-language parent channel Al Jazeera, but that channel wants the English version to have wider distribution. It cannot compete with American cable news networks if it's only available for Arab viewers.
Even on Dish, Al Jazeera's attempt to provide an alternative to Western news outlets like BBC World and CNN International isn't likely to appear on any of the satellite-TV operator's popular programming tiers. "We have several offers and options under consideration, including with EchoStar, but have not yet signed anything," said Rana Jazayerli, a Washington-based spokeswoman for the news channel. "We will make our plans public after we have finalized."
They promise AJI won't be as offensive as the original AJ to Western viewers, and pledge not to run hostage tapes.
Al Jazeera gained the attention - and sometimes the ire - of America following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The Qatar-based network is often the first recipient of Osama bin Laden's videotaped tirades, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has accused it of promoting terrorism and spreading "vicious lies."
The international spinoff will reportedly be more mainstream, avoiding tapes showing hostages.