News and Commentary

A Terrible News Outlet Just Shut Down

Al Jazeera America, we hardly knew ye. Just three years after launching amid much fanfare, what proved to be one of America’s least favorite outlets shuttered its doors Tuesday.

After buying the High Priest of Global Warming Al Gore’s worthless Current TV for $500 million (a deal that resulted in a lawsuit from Gore, by the way), Al Jazeera launched its first America-based outlet in 2012.

What followed was a series of terrible management decisions, troubling allegations about discrimination against non-Arabs and women, and overtly biased reporting (particularly against Israel). The result was an abrupt but unsurprising end to an unpopular network.

In a staff memo released in January, chief executive Al Ansey blamed the business model rather than the outlet’s content on its failure, writing, “[The] decision by Al Jazeera America’s board is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace.”

Here is the retrospective AJA released Tuesday:

As @ajam signs off for good, here’s a message from our newsroom

— Al Jazeera America (@ajam) April 13, 2016

For a taste of the Al Jazeera network’s biased reporting, here’s a description of its approach to covering the Gaza war, which essentially followed the guidelines provided in a video produced by terrorist organization Hamas:

Many of the directives in Hamas’ video called for framing Gaza reporting in terms of Palestinian “martyrs” or “victims” of “Israeli aggression”. Any Palestinian killed was to be described as “a citizen of Gaza and Palestine before speaking of his jihadi position or military rank”. The video even suggested that all Palestinian casualties be labeled “innocent citizens,” regardless of whether they were fighters or civilians.

And that is exactly what AJA did.

To take but one example, on July 24, the channel reported that the number of “victims” of “Israeli aggression” had reached 788 “martyrs,” making no distinction between civilians and known combatants. United Nations figures released that same day confirmed a virtually identical death toll but estimated that between 15 and 27 percent of these individuals were terrorist operatives. As best we can tell, AJA mislabeled known combatants as “victims” and “martyrs” on many other days as well.

In other words, good riddance.