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Al Jazeera’s global headquarters fill a sandy patch of land on the outskirts of Doha. Only the security is impressive; the campus itself is just a series of flat, unadorned buildings, each host to one of the dozens of separate stations dedicated to news, sports (seven of them), documentaries, and children’s programs. There is electronic gear everywhere and a disconcerting number of stray cats. The scene has the feel of a Benetton advertisement: An Italian cameramen and dark-haired Jordanian women wait for an Egyptian colleague outside the home of Al Jazeera English, the made-for-the-West channel. Once inside the lobby, awards typical for any major media institution are displayed: Peabody, Foreign Press, Amnesty International. For many Americans, the 15-year-old network began to hit its stride two years ago, as the Arab Spring began in Tunisia. Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a ringing endorsement to the network, which is funded by the Qatari royal family, for its comprehensive coverage. Then, AJE, as the channel is known, had high hopes for penetrating the highly competitive American market for cable news, as the world’s attention turned towards the Middle East. In the end, at least in terms of broadcast exposure, there was little movement. AJE has only a minimal number of cable contracts in the United States. It has always been unclear whether the cable operators’ decisions to skip the channel are based on economic viability or concerns over its editorial content.


Kayyem, Juliette. "As It Grows, Al Jazeera Risks Losing Touch." Boston Globe, December 13, 2012.