At Comcast, make room for Diddy ... but what about Al Jazeera?

Posted: February 22, 2012

THE ARAB-based TV giant Al Jazeera has a decade-long love-hate relationship with the U.S. government, but the network - which includes the English-language Al Jazeera English, or AJE - proved its worth in 2011 with intrepid wall-to-wall coverage of the "Arab Spring" uprising.

And it did this without cutting away every five minutes to remind us that Whitney Houston is still dead.

This week, Al Jazeera English won one of America's top two journalism prizes, a George Polk Award, for a documentary about the revolt against Bahrain's monarchy. Judges hailed "a film that gives a voice to the protesters for democratic rights and presents a harrowing, on-the-ground view of their brutal suppression."

It's good that you can see this award-winning journalism online, because it's blacklisted on Comcast and on cable networks in most other major American cities. Some groups - including Occupy Philly - have protested, but Comcast hasn't listened. Company officials said this month that they've talked with Al Jazeera in the past but that there are no current discussions.

Hey, it's not like there's an infinite number of channels. ... OK, so there are like 999, and a bunch of them are empty. But still.

Yesterday, it was announced that Comcast - fulfilling a diversity promise to federal regulators - would be airing four new minority-owned channels, including a music-themed Revolt network backed by Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. That's great, really, but Comcast's commitment to diversity is still a joke if it's afraid to also offer American viewers the different perspective from Al Jazeera English. To make room for P. Diddy's Revolt while continuing to censor the revolt against dictatorial rule in the Arab world is an insult to our intelligence.


For more, visit Attytood.com on the web, or follow Will Bunch on Twitter: @Will_Bunch

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