The story, and the other story.
Pan-Arabic 24-hour news network
based in Qatar. There is an English language version (launched in 2006). The name "Al-Jazeera" means "The (Arabian) Peninsula".note
Al Jazeera has at various times been accused of being anti-American, anti-Jewish, and anti-Islamic (but not all at the same time). About the only "anti-anything" that they can uncontroversially be proved to be is "anti-Israel", and only that in the sense of "disapproving of the continued Israeli presence in the West Bank and blockade of Gaza," which quite literally comes with the territory (being an Arab network, after all, Al-Jazeera criticizing the Israeli occupation is rather like an American network during the Cold War criticizing the Soviet Union
). The network has received complaints for media bias towards the language they are broadcasting in — the English-speaking channel is accused of being more pro-American, while the Arabic versions (especially in Palestine) are accused of glorifying "the resistance
", showing terrorist-produced videos and messages. In the Middle East, it is also controversial for coverage that is critical of local governments, with many countries having tried to ban it and reporters having gotten death threats. Infamously, George W. Bush
is rumored to have wanted to bomb them, until Tony Blair
convinced him that would be really stupid
. That said, the network is not free of bias: it can be relied upon to not
criticize the Qatari royal family, which owns it.
In the United States, the English-language feed is only available online, via satellite, or through a number of very small cable companies along with two stations in New York City
and Washington, DC
. Despite what some have called corporate censorship occurring in the US, the network has posted immense viewership growth since the start of the 2011 Democratic Revolutions in the Middle East, with the website's traffic jumping up 2,000%
over the period (60% of said growth being from the United States).
In early 2013, the company bought out Al Gore's CurrentTV with plans to turn it into an Al Jazeera US service that would share content with, but be distinct from, the main international English service. More recently however, controversies and increasing allegations of politically-motivated biases in its reporting have resulted in a number of staff and reporters quitting, especially in places such as Egypt. Time will tell how all of this would play out for the network.