Mitz-Vote

Will Your 501st Channel Be Al Jazeera English?

By Laura Goldman

  • Print
  • Share Share

Officials from Comcast, which provides cable service to one-fifth of the homes in the United States, met today with representatives of Al Jazeera English (AJE) to discuss the possibility of adding the channel to the Comcast cable lineup. Currently, the 24-hour AJE is not available in most U.S. cable television markets. It is only offered in the United States through MHz Networks multicast channels on Comcast, Verizon Fios, and Cox to 2.4 million subscribers in Washington, D.C., Toledo, Ohio, and Burlington, Vermont.

Al Jazeera came to the meeting with momentum: The channel’s strong reporting on the protests in Egypt and Tunisia has resulted in more than 10 million people, including 3.5 million Americans, viewing the live feed on the AJE website in recent weeks. To boost support, the network is running ads in major newspapers including the New York Times and New York Post encouraging readers to “call your local cable operator to request AJE.”

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, who is Jewish, is a practical, no-nonsense chief executive who might see a business opportunity in adding Al Jazeera to his company’s lineup. Members of the Roberts family are philanthropic but are not considered major leaders of the Jewish community in Philadelphia.

Al Anstey, the managing director of AJE, is vocal about wanting more cable operators in America to carry the station. He told CNN that “over 40,000 people have emailed the American [cable] operators in recent weeks demanding access to our coverage. “ AJE also has a window on its website to facilitate these e-mails.

While Al Jazeera has earned widespread admiration for its coverage of the demonstrations in the Middle East, and past news events, much of the rest of its coverage still remains a campaign of disinformation about the Arab world and Israel. Unlike the rest of the foreign media, Al Jazeera did not report on the brutal attack and rape of CBS correspondent Lara Logan. Its typical coverage is anti–Israel; the website advertises a DVD entitled, “Israel: The Truth from Within,” which is packed with falsehoods. AJE did not respond to requests for comment.

Comcast would not give an indication of its future plans regarding adding Al Jazeera to the lineup. Alana Davis from Comcast e-mailed: “We do not have a carriage agreement with Al Jazeera English on our video service. We do regularly examine our channel lineups and talk with a wide range of programmers to ensure that we are bringing the content that our customers want the most.”

Brian Roberts was awarded the Simon Weisenthal Center’s Humanitarian Award in 2004. An accomplished squash player, Roberts also competed in the Maccabiah Games in Israel, earning a gold medal in 2005 and silver medals in 1981, 1985 and 1997.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Brian Roberts, Al Jazeera, Al Anstey, Comcast

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.