Yesterday, I wrote on next month's launch of Al Jazeera America and questions about whether the U.S.-based network will stand out from the cable news pack.
Al Jazeera America executives and hosts tout the network's global resources and heavy emphasis on original reporting, rather than partisan punditry, as a way to differentiate itself. But some within Al Jazeera are concerned that the American version, filled with former CNN producers, hosts and executives, won't offer a real alternative to cable news.
Dave Marash, a TV news veteran who left Al Jazeera English in 2008 amid concerns about the network's mission, said Sunday on CNN's "Reliable Sources" that he expects Al Jazeera America "to put on the air a product that is much more traditional television news than any of their competitors, which is that it's going to be filled with reports from the scenes from news is happening."
Marash added that he thinks Al Jazeera America "going to try to compete for an American audience by giving them more traditional news per hour than any of the other news channels, including CNN."
Reliable Sources guest-host Frank Sesno later asked Marash if there is any danger in Al Jazeera, perhaps, toning down its point-of-view when it comes to the American network in order to "curry favor here." Marash responded:
"I don't know that danger is the right word. But will they play to their market? Of course they will. Al Jazeera Arabic has a slightly different editorial stance from Al Jazeera English, which has a slightly different editorial stance from Al Jazeera Balkans. And Al Jazeera America will have its own slightly unique editorial stance. In fact, one of the things that I'm curious about is, once America no longer watches Al Jazeera English, once their market is the whole English speaking world minus the U.S., is that going to be reflected in editorial judgments? But I think that the American channel is going to be mostly run by Americans specifically for an American audience, and you'll see that reflected in their editorial content."