And Now The News, Brought to You by Al Jazeera.

Via Michelle Marchildon
on Aug 22, 2013
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Good Evening.
Good Evening.

It seems that I am not the only one who is conflicted about the American debut of Al Jazeera network this week.

According to Ad Age, the Qatar-based news channel will have less than six minutes of commercials per hour, compared to nearly three times that amount on other news channels.

Then there is the question of who will carry Al Jazeera.

In the eleventh hour, AT&T dropped Al Jazeera from its lineup, which prompted Al Jazeera to sue. My bet is that the other cable providers are going to wait and see how this turns out before making their own decisions.

Is this a tempest in a teapot, or a pebble in a desert sandstorm?

For those of you who do not remember, Al Jazeera, is the leading voice of the Arab world.  It was also the broadcaster of choice for Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists.

Osama Speaks
Osama Speaks

I remember this, and I’m pretty sure so does the rest of corporate America.

To change things up, Al Jazeera has launched a substantial publicity campaign with ads that feature typical looking Americans saying it’s time we hear the other side of the story. They are not featuring individuals that may look Arabic or Middle Eastern. One is blonde. I just find this interesting and perhaps a little insulting to the Arabic world. Why don’t they feature a businessman from Qatar, or a woman in a burka? Who is hiding what?

Of course I am all for freedom of speech. I believe in the First Amendment. But I also do not support terrorism or extremism, and I’m wondering where the line is drawn. Because if (and only if) Al Jazeera has ties to extremists that it is able to locate them and receive videos and conduct interviews, then I think this becomes confusing, this line between reporting and protecting.

I am sure that Al Jazeera offers comprehensive journalism—but there is also this confusing history with terrorists.

If there is a question here, then I don’t have the answer. The answers are overrated. I’m just feeling discomfort, along with a good portion of America, and we know that discomfort is the teacher. I am hoping to understand more in the future about the Middle East and America. But I also want to understand the role of Al Jazeera and terrorists in the past.

I want news that gives me the big picture, but if it is going to be the mouthpiece for extremism, it’s going to make me extremely uncomfortable rather than well-informed.

My bet is that AT&T and all those missing corporate advertisers are thinking the same thing.



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Ed: Bryonie Wise


About Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at And you can take her classes on


12 Responses to “And Now The News, Brought to You by Al Jazeera.”

  1. Erica says:

    I saw the commercial for this and I thought it was a joke. I could NOT believe what I was seeing. I was like, wait, is there some OTHER Aljazeera that I am unaware of? Evidently not. Thank you for writing this and bringing attention to it.

  2. Padma Kadag says:

    No reason to fear Al Jazeera. Your reasoning is a tad bit naïve if you consider our corporate filtered news here in America as being more objective. What is wrong with the "Arab World"? Your sentence more or less equates being Arab with terrorism…go back and read what you have written. In regard to your ideas on "extremism"…Our Christian view of the world and it's corporate sponsors is not extremism? At&T is the shining example of freedom and objectivity? Would I trade my American citizenship for one in Saudi Arabia or Israel…emphatically no.

  3. Trevor Walsh says:

    Have you even READ Al Jazeera? This article reads as if you have not. They have a news app. I downloaded a couple of months ago. What I discovered was NEWS, just news. If you start from the premise that all news contains bias, intentional or not, Al Jazeera is just another voice with another bias . I never read any article that I would construe as supporting of terrorism. In fact, many articles I looked at showed some real depth. North Americans can really benefit from a non-western voice and a non-Americentric viewpoint for a change.

  4. Michelle Marchildon says:

    I am all for news. I am uncomfortable with extremism, and supporting terrorist's views. That's all.

  5. Eileen says:

    My experience is that the news is much more fair and balanced than anything else we get to see. I'm all for getting rid of extremism and anything that provokes it. So, I say, pull the FCCmlicense for Fox News, which spews hate in every other sentence.

  6. Michelle Marchildon says:

    I am not a fan of Fox news. I actually think that Al Jazeera is doing a service by providing a forum — but up to a point. This is a quote from the American Journalism Review:

    "For years, critics have assailed what they see as anti-Semitic, anti-American bias in the channel's news content. In the wake of 9/11, Al Jazeera broadcast statements by Osama bin Laden and reported from within the ranks of the Taliban, earning a reputation as a mouthpiece for terrorists."

  7. Michelle Marchildon says:

    In fact, the only real and true voice for accurate journalism is probably the Elephant Journal. The truth is probably hiding in all our opinions.

  8. lovewithdrugs says:

    Al Jazeera has been an amazing news source up until the last two years or so, now I'd call them the Fox of the Arab world. They do definitely show the other side of the story not sensationalized by the USA, and as a Canadian, I respect that.

  9. Rachael says:

    Kind of unhappy that my dissenting opinion was censored. This article is not good and shouldn't have been published.

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