The Philadelphia Business Journal and Wired both report the Qatar based satellite news provider is talking with US cable provider, Comcast, about U.S. carriage of its English language channel. Americans can only get it via Direct TV, online or mobile. (If you're in Washington D.C., Toledo or Burlington, Vermont, it's on your digital lineup.) Its popularity has soared as people search for information on protests and civil unrest in the Middle East and Africa.
KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images
Al-Jazeera's English's newsroom in November, 2006.
Al-Jazeera's English's newsroom in November, 2006. KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images
Al-Jazeera has started an online campaign lobbying for the chance and they're getting some support; media professor Jeff Jarvis says
It is downright un-American to still refuse to carry it. Vital, world-changing news is occurring in the Middle East and no one–not the xenophobic or celebrity-obsessed or cut-to-the-bone American media–can bring the perspective, insight, and on-the-scene reporting Al Jazeera English can.
Jarvis wrote on January 30, as the Egypt protests took off. On February 1, the channel took heat from Fox host Bill O'Reilly, who criticized al-Jazeera as "an anti-Semitic, anti-American network." A transcript of his remarks is here.
Al-Jazeera Arabic's Washington bureau chief, Abderrahim Foukara makes his plea in a Time magazine interview, here.