On Tuesday evening, the television news network Al Jazeera America will enter the homes of nearly half of this country’s 100 million cable subscribers. The network will be supported by regional bureaus across the country and represents the largest investment in journalism since the rise of the Fox News Channel in 1996. “Paul Eedle, an Al Jazeera English executive who is helping to start the channel, would not comment on the total budget, but said hundreds of millions of dollars were being spent. ‘We’re here because we think our journalistic mission has something to offer America,’ he said.”
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What’s the Big Idea?
Al Jazeera America will blend two American journalism models, one more en vogue than the other. Using cable news’ 24-hour programming but doing PBS-style journalism, the new network believes it will fill an empty niche in the television market: real, fact-based journalism. “Viewers will see a news channel unlike the others, as our programming proves Al Jazeera America will air fact-based, unbiased and in-depth news,” said Ehab Al Shihabi, the channel’s acting chief executive. “There will be less opinion, less yelling and fewer celebrity sightings.”