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:

    Lady, you have no idea what you're talking about. May I suggest next time you take the time to actually research what you intend to write an article about, BEFORE writing it! Al Jazeera does not support fundamentalism, and actually has some of the best international news coverage out there. If you had done the research you would know this.
    There are a few good reasons why I think Al Qaeda were using Al Jazeera, not least because it was an Arabic and English speaking news organisation with an international reach. The fact that it is based in the Arab world probably meant that Al Qaeda felt better that they were "supporting" an Arab news organisation rather than providing Faux news or some other "infidel" outlet with an exclusive. I think you need to think about what is your definition of supporting terrorists views and then go and see if they actually did that. I think you'll find they didn't.
    This kind of article and sentiment is indicative of the worst kind of American ignorance and I am really surprised that it was allowed on here, not to mention it is really badly constructed. You can't just wade into this kind of discussion without due care for your responsibility in perpetuating ignorance, fear and racial tension.

  10. Rachael says:

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

  11. elephantjournal says:

    It wasn't actually censored, Rachael. It hadn't been approved yet. Should you care to be constructive in your response, we're all ears. Any personal attacks on our authors will not be tolerated. If you have a strong position on this, we urge you to write a piece for us. ~ ed.

  12. Rachael says:

    Ok, cool. However, it was misleading that initially the page said that my comment was awaiting moderation, and then after a while it didn't say anything, it was as if my comment had never existed. So, maybe you could look at that part of the system.

    I hope you are not implying by the way that what I wrote was not constructive or that it was a personal attack. Yes, my anger and disbelief probably came through, but I was actually consciously using language that would be clear on that front, I believe this is constructive at times. I do believe Ms Marchildon has no idea what she is talking about and that she should be made aware of that fact and consider whether it is appropriate to be writing an article for publication, especially when the subject is as serious as this.

    I really think you should have moderated this article before hand and asked Ms Marchildon to rewrite it or if you do not have appropriate editors here for this subject, well then don't publish it. Her point of view would be more constructive if she had actually done the pertinent research, namely reading and watching Al Jazeera which is freely available online (well, was until 20th Aug for the US as now you can get it on cable, but still I am sure she could have found a way, or just not written the article). Research would have also brought up the fact that Al Jazeera does not carry much in the way of advertising anywhere, it is privately funded. This is actually quite nice not to be beset by advertising every 10 minutes. It also means it is a lot easier to figure out the vested interests and any effects that may have on any possible bias, which are present in ALL media outlets especially those that rely heavily on corporate sponsors.

    Anyway, I think it is worth bearing in mind that your audience is global and that you should include that in the professional guideline for all your writers. For the record, I am Irish (we know a little about domestic terrorism here) and I am white, and I am an atheist, although I was Christened.