Leave it to "terror babies" wingnut Rep. Louie Gohmert to take what should be a very serious hearing over whether or not any more mergers of these already too big media and communications companies ought to be allowed, and turn it into a clown show.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Thursday accused Comcast of trying to keep conservative pundit Glenn Beck’s network, The Blaze, off of television.
During a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on the Comcast-Time Warner merger, Gohmert floated the theory that Comcast while Comcast launched Al Jazeera America, the company refused to let The Blaze purchase a network it owned.
"Al Gore was pushing the sale of Current TV, and Glenn Beck, the Blaze were trying to buy it. And it was reported that Al Jazeera wanted to get their Sharia law push into the United States, and they were willing to pay big bucks, regardless of whether they had oil and carbon all over the money," Gohmert began.
On Friday: Keith uses his Special Comment to make a strong and clear case — morally and politically — for same-sex marriage in New York and beyond.
I know this clip is 2+ years old, but Olbermann’s words still reign true.
The combination of Al Jazeera and America doesn’t exactly sound like a match made in Heaven, or Jannah for that matter.
But that’s not stopping the deep-pocketed media giant, funded by the government of Qatar, from spending hundreds of millions of dollars to once again try to build a presence in the United States.
On Tuesday, Al Jazeera launches Al Jazeera America, an ambitious news network that hopes to challenge CNN, Fox News and MSNBC on their own turf. It has opened 12 bureaus around the country and is hiring almost 1,000 people, including several big-name journalists, with promises of covering serious national news here and a goal of becoming part of the American landscape.
Persuading pay-TV distributors to carry Al Jazeera America and getting people to watch it may be another story. There is still bitterness toward Al Jazeera for providing an outlet forOsama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks, a move which led some to derisively label the network “Jihad TV.”
"For many Americans, the perception is these are the folks who brought you Osama bin Laden," said Allen Adamson, a managing partner of marketing firm Landor Associates. "Even though they were providing a news function, there was a case of don’t confuse me with the facts."
Since then, Al Jazeera has won much praise here for its in-depth coverage of the Middle East and is considered a valuable source of information on the region.
"Al Jazeera can cover the Arab world better than any U.S. network by far," said Chris Harper, a professor at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication and a former foreign correspondent for ABC News.
That doesn’t mean Harper and others still don’t see a slant to its coverage.
"Al Jazeera has its point of view and that includes a pro-Palestinian bias and to a certain extent an anti-American bias," Harper said, adding that this does not bother him because, "I rather like that I don’t have to figure out where they stand."
About 48 million people, or less than half of the nation’s 103 million pay-TV subscribers, will be able to watch Al Jazeera America when it goes live on Tuesday.
Al Jazeera was only able to get that much penetration for its new channel by shelling out $500 million last year to buyCurrent TV, the news-talk network that was co-founded by Al Gore, and use it as a platform for Al Jazeera America. With the purchase, Al Jazeera inherited Current TV’s existing distribution deals.
Not everyone is on board, though. Time Warner Cable, which is the biggest pay-TV provider in Los Angeles, opted to drop the channel after the sale was announced rather than carry Al Jazeera America. The cable operator and Al Jazeera America say they are in active discussions regarding a distribution agreement.
Ehab Al Shihabi, a senior Al Jazeera executive and acting chief executive of Al Jazeera America, said in a recent interview that there is a “bucket of resistance” among some distributors to carrying the network, but overall preconceived notions are changing for the better.
"We’re going to demonstrate a demand," he said.
Wooing prominent American journalists to work for Al Jazeera has not been a problem. Familiar faces that have signed up for duty include former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, ex-CBS News reporters Sheila MacVicar and Joie Chen and former NBC News anchor John Seigenthaler.
Behind the scenes, several well-regarded broadcast and cable news executives have been tapped for significant roles as well. Kate O’Brian, who spent three decades in senior production roles at ABC News, will serve as Al Jazeera America’s first president. Also on board are David Doss and Marcy McGinniss, who have held senior positions at CNN and CBS, respectively.
"They are putting together a strong team," said David Westin, a media advisor and former president of ABC News.
This is Al Jazeera’s second attempt at trying to crack the U.S. market. In 2006, it launched Al Jazeera English, an English-language version of its flagship channel.
However, the network struggled to get distribution outside of New York and Washington, D.C., and ended up primarily as a Web service, which has a small but loyal audience. Al Jazeera is expected to take down the live stream of Al Jazeera English after Al Jazeera America launches, although the network declined officially to comment on its fate.
Rather than focus on the Middle East, which is its wheelhouse, Al Jazeera America made the decision to provide in-depth coverage of America that it says other news channels have abandoned. It has opened bureaus not only in media hot spots New York, Washington and Los Angeles, but also Detroit, New Orleans and Nashville. Headquarters will be in New York City with studios near Penn Station, although its flagship show “America Tonight,” anchored by Chen, will be done out of Washington, D.C., where Al Jazeera America has leased space at the Newseum, a museum devoted to journalism.
Harper questioned that strategy.
"Al Jazeera is a go-to place when things happen in the Middle East," he said. "I’m not sure Al Jazeera America will be a go-to place to find things out about the United States."
Even some former Al Jazeera staffers are doubtful about emphasizing America in its coverage. Tony Burman, a former head of Al Jazeera English and currently a professor at Ryerson University, said in a recent Toronto Star opinion piece that such an approach has “the odour of disaster.”
Al Shihabi defended the American-centric focus in a recent interview, saying the channel would “elevate the mainstream voice” while steering clear of the tabloid stories, murder trials and partisan bickering that have become synonymous with cable news.
Al Jazeera America plans to launch on Aug. 20, the Al Jazeera Media Network announced Tuesday.
The new network, born from Al Jazeera’s acquisition earlier this year of the old Current TV, has hired ABC News’ Kate O’Brian, who will lead the editorial staff as president of Al Jazeera America. O’Brian “will have full responsibility for defining and implementing the editorial strategy and operations across the network, including news, documentary and all other programming,” according to a statement released Monday.
Interim CEO Ehab al-Shihabi said at the end of June that Al Jazeera had hired 650 employees, according to the announcement. Former MSNBC and Fox News host David Shuster is reportedly one of those joining the network as an anchor.
RIP Current TV.
On a recent abortion debate on CurrentTV, Tea Party News Network (TPNN) news director and chief journalist Scottie Hughes argued that in a Roe-free America, any woman who willingly aborts a pregnancy caused by rape should face punishments just as severe as the man who raped her. In the video below the reluctant answer to the question (posed by John Fugelsang) demonstrates much of what’s wrong with the conservative movement’s view of a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body.
Scottie Hughes is yet another reason why being a Teabagger is like being a whiny toddler.
Keith Olbermann has resolved the $50 million legal dispute with Current TV over his firing from the network, a well-placed source tells The Hollywood Reporter.
A settlement is said to have been reached during a private mediation session in San Francisco on Tuesday. Terms of the deal will not be disclosed. Olbermann and Current, who sued each other in April 2012 over his dismissal from the liberal-leaning network, are expected to file court documents soon dismissing the case.
On Wednesday, Olbermann and Current TV released a joint statement to THR: “The parties are pleased to announce that a settlement has occurred, and that the terms are confidential. Nothing more will be disclosed regarding the settlement.”
Current has called the allegations “false and malicious,” arguing that Olbermann breached his contract by, among other things, failing to show up for work on several occasions and revealing his salary to THR and the Wall Street Journal. Gore and Hyatt sold Current for $500 million in January to the owners of the Al Jazeera news organization, and it is unclear what role that sale played in the mediation with Olbermann. Al Jazeera executives have said they hope to launch a U.S.-based news outlet this summer on the former Current network.
Bring Back KO!
I was on Viewpoint with John Fugelsang last night. Here’s the clip for those of you suffering under the yoke of Time Warner which dropped Current from its line-up after Al-Jazeera bought it because MUSLIMS, I guess.
It was my first time being on real live TV, like with a make-up person and a green room and what-not. So that happened. Good times.
Martin Ssempa “Eat Da Poo Poo”: Vanguard Scenes (by Current)
He is a sick homophobic man.
The View is losing Joy Behar.
"Joy Behar has been instrumental in the success ofThe View from the very beginning,” read a statement from ABC. “We wish her all the best in this next chapter, and are thrilled that we have her for the remainder of the season.”The actress and comedian’s contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of the current season, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. A panelist alongside creator Barbara Walters from the very beginning, Behar leaves the ABC News vet as the last original member of the daytime show.
The View is losing Joy Behar.OUR EDITOR RECOMMENDS
The actress and comedian’s contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of the current season, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. A panelist alongside creator Barbara Walters from the very beginning, Behar leaves the ABC News vet as the last original member of the daytime show.
"Joy Behar has been instrumental in the success ofThe View from the very beginning,” read a statement from ABC. “We wish her all the best in this next chapter, and are thrilled that we have her for the remainder of the season.”
Keith Olbermann was in Los Angeles on Friday being deposed for a reported $70 million lawsuit he filed against his most recent employer,Current TV, with the trial expected to begin in May. Whether the court rules in favor of Olbermann or the network, the verdict will put an official end to a one-year stint at Current that was supposed to last at least five.
But as one door closes, another has been quietly approached. At various times over the last year, Olbermann and his representatives have expressed interest in his return to the employer that made him famous: ESPN.
Olbermann worked at ESPN from 1992 to 1997. A pivotal force in starting ESPN Radio, he became best known as one of the most prominent and popular anchors in the network’s history, co-hosting “SportsCenter” with Dan Patrick. Olbermann briefly left Patrick’s side to help start ESPN2 but soon returned to ESPN. There, he and Patrick reunited and continued hosting the 11 p.m. “SportsCenter” until his contract expired in 1997. Olbermann opted to leave sports altogether and signed on for a politically themed talk show on MSNBC.
Some at ESPN were glad to see him go; he was considered the network’s most controversial personality. Olbermann’s encyclopedic knowledge of sports was not disputed, nor were his writing skills or on-air talent. But over time, he managed to alienate a sizable group in the company, who found him exasperating to work with.
Patrick said he would not be surprised if Olbermann returned to ESPN.
H/T: New York Times
How awesome would it be if actress Ashley Judd ran for Senate and beat Mitch McConnell? (by Current)
Cenk and the TYT gang tell it like it is as usual.
Cenk Uygur talks to state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Ill., about the marriage equality bill she has co-sponsored and seems poised to pass in Illinois.
“We passed civil unions here two years ago, and the nature of the conversations I’m having with my colleagues just two years later is really different. I think there’s really been a sea change of public opinion on this. Every day we see more people supporting what’s fair under our laws and treating everyone the same.”
Cenk Uygur talks with Current correspondent Jacki Schechner about two fast-food franchise owners that are cutting workers’ hours to part time so that they won’t have to offer them health insurance. Though the Affordable Care Act’s provisions don’t kick in until 2014, many are trying to blame Obamacare now for the cutbacks.
“It’s total baloney,” Schechner says. “There’s a larger influence here that doesn’t have anything to do with the Affordable Care Act — but it’s been demonized, and so it’s a good scapegoat.”
- h/t: Current.com
The hosts of Fox & Friends on Friday slammed former Democratic Vice President Al Gore for being a “great American businessman” and selling his Current TV network to the “clearly anti-American” Al Jazeera network instead of former Fox News host Glenn Beck. On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal…