Al Jazeera America, Day One

I thought I posted this yesterday afternoon, but apparently something went wrong because this morning it was still on my dashboard … Sorree….

Here’s an update of this post, for those who have asked:

I’ve been watching AJAM since they went live yesterday afternoon. And yes, let me say from the get-go: it’s a hugely refreshing change. So far, no prognostications on the 2016 presidential election, and only one anchor has said, “we’ll have to leave it there….” And it’s incredibly refreshing to see stories on things like Obamacare and climate change without any of the political BS. It’s, “here’s the economic impact of climate change on x, y, z.” Not, “is it real, is it Biblical, a Republican said this, Al Gore said that,” etc. etc. I mean fer goshsakes, it’s like the other networks are afraid to even utter the words “climate change,” so to see a news story which mentions the words like it’s no big deal was really … different.

Ditto with Obamacare. It’s just not a controversial topic at AJAM. It’s a new law, and this is what it means on the ground. Last night Ali Velshi’s economic report included a piece about what Obamacare is and isn’t doing for poor, rural areas — namely, the perpetual problem of there being “healthcare deserts” in places like Mississippi. None of the political BS about Obamacare being a “government takeover of healthcare” and Republicans trying to defund it, nor the liberal “President Obama’s signature healthcare act” stuff, in fact, politics wasn’t mentioned at all — right or left. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a policy story approached in this way that it was a little strange.

My criticisms are small and mostly petty. I am used to HD so on my TV, AJAM looks a little low-rent. It’s also unnerving to see so many CNN alumni on the screen. Some folks might find these familiar faces comforting, but I’ve had issues with Tony Harris since forever so, YMMV

The one thing I think AJAM could do better is not be quite so dang serious all the time. I’m getting that super-earnest vibe I get from Link TV and Democracy Now! and I’m not sure that’s going to sell with mainstream viewers. AJAM needs to offer us a little good news, or just lighten up a bit from time to time. We’re so used to the trivial celebrity crap on CNN and the rest, hell Fox News is one part celebrity news, one part squirrel-on-waterskis, and the rest right-wing ideology. I’m not saying give us Kim Kardashian news or the latest Hollywood box office reports, but Americans are not used to so much heavy stuff in such big portions. We’re really not. So how about a light human interest story every now and then? It won’t kill you. That’s my advice.

Looking forward to seeing more, though.

Anyway, those are my early, initial impressions.

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3 responses to “Al Jazeera America, Day One

  1. Jim in Memphis

    I am probably on the NSA watch list now that I searched for Al Jazeera America to look at the webpage…

    • On our morning walk today I found a teeny tiny Quran which someone left on a park bench near our house (I’m assuming that’s what it was, it was written in Arabic but it wasn’t the Bible, I could tell from how it was set up….). This prompted Mr. Beale to crack a joke about creeping Sharia….

  2. democommie

    “This prompted Mr. Beale to crack a joke about creeping Sharia….”

    You know what’s coming? They’re gonna cross “Creeping Sharia” with Kudzu; the horror, the HORROR!!*

    * I know this story is true, ‘cuz I read it on the intertoobz. In fact I TYPED it on the intertoobz.