Who could have predicted that Al Jazeera America might not make it? In Muslim loving pluralistic America, really? Really. Literally everyone knew that the struggling 2 year old cable news channel whose ambition was to match CNN within a year (missed it by that much), was never gonna even get the ratings of its predecessor Al Gore’s Current TV. Apparently the board in Qatar never really got the U.S. media market.
Sure it’s a shame because AJA did have very high quality coverage, some very good people like Ali Velshi, and was going in depth on important issues. But nobody saw it because of the name and the lack of opinion spouting screaming heads. The futility of the entire exercise takes some of the joy out of all that wasted oil money.
But the bigger shame was that Current really was developing an authentic progressive alternative cable news and opinion channel with no schizophrenic programming like Fox News’ Morning Joe, on MSNBC.
Keith Olbermann, Jennifer Granholm, The Young Turks, John Fugelsang, Joy Behar and morning simulcasts of Bill Press and Stephanie Miller were building a real alternative that, at the very least, was pushing MSNBC leftward. But it all got blowed up real good because Gore and his partners couldn’t turn down that oil money. Despite not being in as many households and not having high definition capacity, Current still got better ratings than AJA.
This great and predictable failure just makes the loss of whatever Current TV could have been even more acute. And by the way, MSNBC has become even less clueless than 2 years ago for more of the day. Other than 3 hours in prime time it can’t even be called a progressive alternative to Fox. They say they want to be a cable news alternative, but they’re still mostly prison porn on weekends and holidays. UP was the best 4 hours on TV every week as of 2-3 years ago and now it’s a missable, toothless, 3 hours (they gave Al Sharpton 1 hour to spectacularly mangle words on his TelePrompTer).
Maybe Universal will sell MSNBC to Saudi Arabia. Showing beheadings would have great synergy with the Lockup franchise. Jeez!