Qatar's Al Jazeera Launches Right-Wing News Platform For Americans "Who Feel Left Out" Of MSM
Upon the announcement this week that Qatar-based Al Jazeera plans to opena US conservative news platform it seemed the near universal reaction on social media was to say simply, weird.
"Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news network that has previously sought to become a liberal media force in the US, is launching a platform to target conservatives, it was revealed on Tuesday," The Guardian reports.
The Al Jazeera outlet will be called Rightly, and apparently aims to imitate and partake of Fox News' longtime success as leading the US mainstream. Rightly plans to cater to center-right Americans and is headed by Fox News’ Scott Norvell. Its target audience has been further described as Republicans who "feel left out of mainstream media," Politico noted, in perhaps a hint it also seeks to tap into pro-Trump support.
Much of the stir on social media after Tuesday's announcement was focused around Liberals being outraged over the move, questioning why America would need another 'center-right' publication. But the more interesting angle is the fact that Al Jazeera is backed by the Qatari government.
The outlet with its headquarters in Doha often escapes scrutiny as a state-funded news source, despite decades ago the Bush administration essentially going to battle with the foreign outlet over its critical Iraq War coverage. We can only imagine the fierce reaction and pushback if this were instead Russia attempting to establish a 'conservative news outlet' on US soil.
Recall too that Al Jazeera was key in pushing the early 'Arab Spring' narrative which rapidly turned into regime change wars the West-Gulf military alliance pushed in places like Libya and Syria. At every step of the way the outlet reflected the perspective of Qatar's Sunni monarchy (namely, the House of Al Thani).
'Like a bad joke': Al Jazeera staff bemused at rightwing US venture https://t.co/gkbMMmzXdF— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) February 24, 2021
The Hill notes in a review of Al Jazeera's struggles to find a niche in the US political landscape:
Al Jazeera, which is financially backed by the Qatari government, has had mixed success in its past U.S.-focused efforts. In 2013, the company launched an American-focused media brand by acquiring Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million and rebranding it as Al Jazeera America. The effort was shuttered in January 2016 after struggling with poor ratings and staff discord.
A "soft launch" of an initial show will begin Thursday according to a press release:
Rightly will soft launch with its first show, "Right Now with Stephen Kent," on February 25th. The show, hosted by one of the rising stars in Millennial political circles in the United States, will stream on Rightly social media and podcast platforms. Additional Rightly programming will be announced in the coming months.
"Right Now with Stephen Kent" will be an in-studio interview program in which the show’s host, Stephen Kent, will get beyond talking points and retweets to engage current newsmakers, opinion leaders and incisive commentators from across the political spectrum in a discussion about the issues animating right-of-center Americans today.
Al Jazeera English - which is its flagship international channel - has remained popular in the US (also online via AJPlus videos) even after the prior US-focused TV channel 'Al Jazeera America' shut down in 2016.