Jonathan Cook: the Blog from Nazareth -

Will Al-Jazeera hold its nerve in the US?

The cabal that is the mainstream media in the US was exposed a few years back when Al-Jazeera English launched. There are millions of Arab Americans, as well as many other Americans, desperate for a different take on the Middle East than that offered by their current media. And yet AJE could not find a proper cable deal to get into their homes. It’s been effectively off-limits to Americans for many years now. We can all guess why: the US government and the Washington elite, which includes the US media corporations, have no interest in having US policy revealed as brutal and counter-productive.

But all of that may be about to change: AJ has bought Current TV and therefore has access to a much larger slice of the US market.

I say “may”, because it is not a foregone conclusion. AJE’s coverage of the Middle East has already become much poorer in the run-up to its entry to the US, as the emir of Qatar more clearly uses the channel to promote his agenda in the region, which now in many respects echoes the US one.

Also, Americans will not see AJE but a new channel called Al-Jazeera America, which may be an even weaker version of the Arabic one than the English channel.

And then there is the pressure that is already being exerted on AJ and will probably continue to grow. Mega-media corporation Time-Warner has refused to distribute AJ and others may follow. And Haaretz reports that American Jewish leaders (read: friends of Netanyahu) are up in arms and will also bring pressure to bear through their powerful media lobbies.

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