My wife and I were recently traveling through Europe. While resting in our hotel room, we quickly got bored of CNN International, and gingerly switched to the "depraved" channel.
Of course, we had heard about Al Jazeera. We heard that it was anti-American. We heard it was propaganda. From websites like this, we heard it was 'hate' television.
But we were surprised at what we found. We saw an excellent documentary about illegal satellite dishes in Iran. According to the report, citizens are profoundly unsatisfied with the state sponsored television stations, and they crave news from the outside world. A portion of the documentary is available on YouTube:
We saw another report on the challenges faced by gays and lesbians in the Palestinian Territories.
These reports were critical of the government authorities, and were indirectly promoting a more liberal attitude towards both satellite dishes and homosexuality. Their reporting touches a nerve, not only in the West, but in the Middle East as well.
My wife and I agreed that when we got back home to New York, we would watch more Al Jazeera. We were shocked to find out that despite 1000+ channels, it's not available on Time Warner Cable.
American cable news shows cheaply focus on pundits to analyze what others report. They compete to be more and more outrageous while Al Jazeera reminded us what actual television news journalism is all about.
According to "How to watch Al Jazeera English," Al Jazeera is available in Washington DC, Toledo, Ohio and Burlington Vermont. It's also widely available in Israel, Canada, and all over Europe. But not New York City.
Apparently, Al Jazeera is available on Direct TV and the Dish Network. We've never seriously thought about switching away from Time Warner Cable, but we're thinking about it now.