Al Jazeera is putting the final touches on a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore and his business partners seven years ago.
If the deal is completed, Current will provide the pan-Arab news giant with something it has sought for years: a pathway into American living rooms. Current is available in about 60 million of the 100 million homes in the United States with cable or satellite service.
Rather than simply use Current to distribute its English-language channel, called Al Jazeera English and based in Doha, Qatar, Al Jazeera will create a new channel based in New York, according to people with knowledge of the deal negotiations. The channel may be called Al Jazeera America. Roughly 60 percent of the programming will be produced in the United States, while the remaining 40 percent will come from Al Jazeera English.
Although I suspect most conservatives will be outraged by the prospect, I predict that the new channel will be slightly less leftist and slightly less anti-American than CurrentTV or MSNBC. Perhaps that’s like being “tall for a dwarf,” but it’s still an improvement. Further, I think it will be fun to see how my progressive friends react when they see an Al Jazeera channel being more pro-American than MSNBC.
[Disclosure: Although I don’t believe it affects my opinion on this, I should probably reveal that my wife’s cousin, Veronica Pedrosa, is an anchor for Al Jazeera English.]