Save Us, Al Jazeera

Count me among those excited to see what the new 24-hour Al Jazeera America has to offer viewers:

Al Jazeera’s approach — more time for more serious journalism — is an implicit criticism of the other options for news on television.

Mr. Mora said he had sensed far less commercial pressure at Al Jazeera than at local stations where he had worked. “There’s a sense here of the news being a public trust,” he said.

None of the anchors said they had felt any slant in coverage plans, pro-Qatar or otherwise, despite accounts from some former Al Jazeera English employees of interference from above.

In interviews, the anchors made offhand remarks that it is hard to imagine counterparts at other networks making. For instance, Ms. Chen asked: “How big does our audience need to be? I don’t know. Nobody talks about that here.”

She was scheduled to be in South Dakota over the weekend, filing stories from an Indian reservation.

“That’s not even a pitch I would have made in my old newsroom,” she said, because of budget limitations. “Here, we never have any debate about resources,” she said. “It’s like this: ‘Is that a good story?’ ‘Yes, it’s a good story.’ ‘Then go tell it.’

Yes. GOD, yes. Halla-freakin-LOOYA, yes. After suffering through my gazillionth prognostication about whosgonnarunin2016 — this was “The Road to 2016” on MSNBC’s “Up With Steve,” fer crissakes (et tu, Steve Kornacki?) — I was ready to give up watching the news completely. Two more years of this crap? You people serious? So someone’s actually going to put news on the air? Sign me up!

There’s been a lot of local interest in Al Jazeera because unlike CNN or Fox, they’ve actually got a Nashville bureau — and it’s headed by a veteran Nashville journalist, Jonathan Martin:

“They wanted to be in places that the other networks are not,” he explains. “For example, Nashville, New Orleans, Detroit — places that are respected cities, people know about them, there’s stuff going on, but there’s no one on the ground every day.”

God, yes. I am so sick of Honey Boo Boo and Kim Kardashian and whosgonnarunin2016HILLARYorCHRISTIEorRANDorSCOTT, I am sick of Balloon Boy and Sarah Palin and everything that happens in Hollywood, D.C. and New York catapulted to national importance whereas the rest of the nation is ignored unless it’s a mass shooting or natural disaster (and sometimes not even then).

I’m like a person who’s been lost in a cable news desert for years and just spied an oasis ahead. I hope it’s not a mirage.

Also? As the comments on the Scene story indicate, we’re sure to be treated to some comedy gold as the wingnuts freak out over Creeping Sharia and the eeevul lieberal media. Colbert and Jon Stewart will have fun documenting the atrocities.

Don’t disappoint me, AJAM!


Filed under Media, Nashville, Tennessee

22 responses to “Save Us, Al Jazeera

  1. Gee, so al Jazeera is a grown-up news gathering organizations, just like the networks and major dailies used to be.

  2. This is good to know! I love the comment that news is a public trust. This frame is clearly missing in most news outlets. Thanks for writing about this!

  3. This is good to know. I love the quote about news being a public trust. This is a frame that is clearly missing from most media outlets. Thanks for writing about this!

  4. democommie

    Whan the Ayrabz are doin’ the news–then the terrarists have already wun!!

  5. kosh III

    “everything that happens in Hollywood, D.C. and New York catapulted to national importance whereas the rest of the nation is ignored unless it’s a mass shooting or natural disaster (and sometimes not even then).”

    Yeah, while my house was getting flooded, the “news” channels were stressing out over a possiblew bomb in a NYC taxi.

  6. Mark Rogers

    I have had an al Jazeera ap on my Blackberry for some time and I must give them credit for good reporting and extensive coverage. I think it will be good to have a bureau here in Nashville.

    • Mark, curious to hear your thoughts on this primary challenge to Lamar Alexander? Seems like it’s doom to fail in terms of electing a new person to office but might be successful in pushing Lamar further to the right. What do you think?

      • Mark Rogers


        Carr is a tough campaigner and there is a base of alienated conservative voters out there.

        However, and this is my personal view and I won’t bore you with the voting numbers on which I base it, I don’t think that the anti-Lamar vote will top 25%.. And much of that will be protest votes that would go to Alexander if those particular voters thought the race might be closer.

        While the more conservative factions in the Party get lots of media attention, it helps to remember that Bill Haslam, a centrist manangerial Mayor got 50% of the primary vote against one of the most conservative members of Congress and the man who ensured Republicans would be poised to take over the Legislature when he engineered his election as Lt. Governor.

        In other words, Zach Wamp and Ron Ramsey were both authentic and well-known conservatives yet the primary voters lined up solidly with Haslam. Carr is less well known and is facing someone who defines the achievements of the modern Tennessee Republican Party.

        {I realize that many reading along will disagree with this and other aspects of my positions but I am offering them to answer SB’s question so please don’t assume I am looking to argue about the merits of the phrase “… achievements of the modern Tennessee Republican Party.”}

        Alexander is hugely popular in Republican East TN, his home. The large majority of East TN Republicans get their politics genetically rather than from one or more issues. Alexander’s wonkishness and local ties will ensure a huge block of votes rolling west.

        In Middle TN where the core of the Republican vote is people moved her from outside the state, usually for a good job, with a college education and a sense of relief that Tennessee elected Lamar Alexanders instead of Jimmy Naifehs, this group will go solidly for him too. Alexander’s work as Governor on business development and education are still remembered by the older part of this group. They may agree with Carr on various issues but Alexander is the sort of Senator they want to represent them.

        Carr will fare somewhat better in West TN up to the area bordering Shelby County. There the same ‘new voter’ factors will help Alexander.

        I think the race will disappoint those hoping for a bloodbath. Both men are loyal to the party and don’t want a war. Carr will highlight certain votes but it won’t get ugly.

        Call it 73% to 27% for Alexander.

      • Zach Wamp and Ron Ramsey were both authentic and well-known conservatives yet the primary voters lined up solidly with Haslam.

        Well see, that’s what I think. If Tennessee were really as reactionary and conservative as these Tea Party people seem to think, we’d have a different governor.

  7. Mark Rogers


    Exactly. If you look at the Congressional and Senate primaries over the last few years, if Republicans have a choice between more centrist candidates and candidates farther to the right, the centrists are winning hands down.

    For example, Phil Roe defeated conservative incumbent Congressman David Davis in the 1st District in 2010. Also in 2010 Chuck Fleischman defeated conservative leader and former state party chair Robin Smith.

    More and more both parties find themselves farther to the extreme than their voters.

    You also asked about whether Alexander would be pushed to the right. I doubt it. He is not the sort to be pushed to go against his core positions.

    • He is not the sort to be pushed to go against his core positions.

      So when he said he would like to repeal the minimum wage, that’s one of his core principles? Or was that him catering to the Tea Party?

      Call it 73% to 27% for Alexander.

      And again we score another win for the Crazification Factor theory. It’s so amazing how often that 27% figure comes up, even among people who don’t know about it.

      • Mark Rogers

        SB,I don’t follow all Senator Alexander’s positions. To be sure, some of us on the right are in favor of replacing the minimum wage with an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit.

  8. When the Arab Spring revolt was taking place in Egypt I stayed tuned to Al Jazeera on the computer while I worked. Fascinating coverage by people who were able to blend in and get authentic reactions from people on the street, instead of having reporters go out in search of folks who spoke English… There will always be a backlash against the network from the right, but (truth be told, and here it is) Al Jazeera is less ideologically rigid than Faux News, and has done far less damage during its time on the air internationally. Those in Europe who have been exposed to AJ will tell you it often has the best coverage of ongoing events.

    About the Carr and Lamar dog and pony show… I always welcome internecine bitch-slap contests between Republicans, because its usually a win-win from my seat in the progressive section of the gallery. But Carr’s in this for future political name recognition and no other reason. He’ll drag in a lot of out of state teabagger cash from donors willing to shell out in an effort to force moderates like Alexander to mind their manners in the future, but he won’t present a serious challenge to Alexander.
    When the guy can’t raise cash within the state for his aborted run for the 4th congressional district race against a vulnerable incumbent, you know he’s not really planning on unseating Lamar Alexander for the U.S. Senate seat. This is posturing for notoriety and cash only, the most shameless form of publicity whore mongering. He’ll reappear in a year or two as a viable candidate in another, non statewide race, and a lot of people will vote for the guy because they recognize the name and toothy face.
    But he’s no more credible than a Gohmert or Campfield when it comes to the issues. Lamar is probably laughing himself to sleep at night, if this is the best they can come up with in the primary.

  9. Speaking of Stacey Campfield (and god I wish we didn’t have to), here’s his latest blobber posting about the Carr candidacy (spoiler alert: he thinks Carr has some great legislative experience, wonderful values, huge support, and can beat Alexander…):

  10. o, btw: you got linked at C&L today. 🙂

    • Yes I saw that. Came on my blog this morning and saw a huge spike in traffic.

      Mike is too kind!

      • democommie

        And at Ed Brayton’s “Dispatches from the Culture Wars”. Of course anyone who might use the link has to worry about democooties from touching it!

        Wasn’t it Alexander who tried to establish his, “Homespun, man-o-the-people, born on a mountaintop (in a gated community complete with log mansions) in TN” by wearing flannel shirts to some of his appearances. That could work for him next election, as long as he’s got on a blaze orange vest and a cap that says, “I agree with Chief Kessleer, Liberal cocksuckers taste just like fried chicken!”. What might work even better is him getting aholt to his great-granpa’s ol’ “2 Guage” over and under and showing a group of his constituents how it can be made into an IGL* by removing the shot and leaving the charge and wadding in a the shells, loading both barrels with a stick of Gelaprime or Logger’s Lite (TM) and demonstrating how a bad guy with a gun can be stopped, every time, by a good guy with a dynamite gun**.

        * Improvised Grenade Launcher

        ** There is some, slight possibility that the dynamite gun could become an IED but, hey, yuz can’t make no omelettes, lessen you break the eggs!

      • ..was actually Batocchio; since Mike went back to doing music full-time, they have a rotating staff to do the round up a week at a time.

      • Oh wow, thanks for the clarification. I don’t know Batocchio but am grateful.

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