Thursday, August 22, 2013

Is America Too Boring For Al Jazeera America?

As AJA begins, one of the immediate glaring contrasts between the new network and AJE is in the content of the stories.

AJE provides its ongoing drama of Egyptian political turmoil, the extraordinary tragedy of the dismantling of the Syrian nation,  Robert Mugabe's endless electoral hold on Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, AJA brings out the usual American diet of stories on education, on trading.  They ae trying to supplement this with stories-both directly from AJE and using their own resources--on the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the rolling back of the clock in Cairo with the release of Mubarak, but  as the lack of comparative edge becomes more apparent, a question begins to arise:

Is America too boring for Al Jazeera?

In all seriousness, what is lacking is an intensity of focus, a vital central question to the stories thus far on AJA such as that which animates the stories on AJE.  Some of this deficit may indeed be due to the lack of comparative tumult in the US compared to the nations of focus on AJE.

But some may also be due to news habits that have become so deeply ingrained in the US, that even on the new AJA thus far, they have been unable to cull out, define, and portray the vital center at the core of their stories thus far.

It's very, very, early. But, like AJE, there is a tone to be found here, that will be new, American, and is yet to be defined.