A welcome relief for fatigued viewers, or stealthy propaganda outlet? Al-Jazeera America arrives on the airwaves at 3 p.m. Tuesday with promises of credible news and weighty content, powered by funds from the Qatar government. It’ll have a dozen national bureaus, 70 international bureaus, big-name talent and 900 new employees pulled from multiple news organizations.
“This is an interesting venture. It’s not easy to start up a cable network from scratch, particularly when there are potential questions from viewers or advertisers who refuse to tune in because they don’t like the name Al-Jazeera, or they think it’s going to be an outlet for Middle Eastern propaganda,” Rick Edmonds — media business analyst for the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism center — tells Inside the Beltway
“On the other hand, it’s like billionaire Jeff Bezos taking over The Washington Post. The government of Qatar is putting up the funds. So that is helpful. From the consumer point of view, Al-Jazeera America has made some explicit promises that they will present serious news and long-form, real journalism that we’re not used to seeing on the other three cable news networks. The audience will have to wait and see about that,” Mr. Edmonds continues.
“They’ve made a lot of hires from a lot of different networks, which is a positive factor to me. The critical question is whether they can break news stories that are distinctive to them, to their own brand. That will get people to take a long look.”
THE IRS HAS A SCANDAL?
Numbers speak the loudest when it comes to media bias. How long has it been since ABC, NBC and CBS even mentioned the Internal Revenue Service scandal? Keep in mind that Tax Analysts, a nonprofit news group, has filed both a Freedom of Information Act request and a federal lawsuit in the past week, seeking to have a look at the federal agency’s employee training materials that ultimately led to the targeted scrutiny of conservative and tea party groups.
And the broadcast coverage? Here’s how many days have elapsed since the “big three” last paid attention the IRS matter, according to Geoffrey Dickens, an analyst with the watchdog site NewsBusters.
ABC: June 26 (54 days); NBC: June 27 (53 days); CBS: July 24 (25 days).
“ABC, CBS and NBC have colluded with the Obama administration to censor the latest IRS scandal news,” Mr. Dickens concludes.
OBAMACARE HAS A DEADLINE?
Oh, the scourge of those pesky memos.
“In recent months, President Obama and his subordinates have waived or delayed a number of Obamacare’s notable features, such as the law’s employer mandate, and its procedures for protecting taxpayers from fraud and identity theft,” says Forbes.com contributor Avik Roy, who managed to get ahold of an unpublished memo from the Congressional Research Service that explains all.
“The nonpartisan in-house think tank compiled 82 deadlines that the Affordable Care Act mandates upon the first three years of its own implementation,” Mr. Roy notes. “Remarkably, it turns out that the White House has missed half of the deadlines legally required by the ACA. And some of those deadlines remain unmet to this day.”
He did all the math to discover that the Obama administration ultimately missed 56 percent of those deadlines.