Competition for CNN?

An article from suggests that CNN's reign as the predominate international cable news network is in jeopardy.

The world’s hotel rooms, no matter how far-flung, must offer three minimum comforts: a firm mattress, a well-stocked minibar and CNN on the television. But the predominance of the oldest international cable-news channel is under attack. In mid-November the latest rival will emerge in the form of an English-language version of al-Jazeera, the Arabic news channel that celebrates its tenth birthday on Wednesday November 1st.

Imagine, plopping your suitcase down on the busy bedspread of your hotel room, frustrated from tiresome travel or a struggle with the ever-elusive technology of key cards, and scrolling through your hotel's cable selection to find Al-Jazeera International. Our country's lack of international perspective is unarguable. However, will the US be so receptive to the new international news channel as to add it to the menu of local news, outdated Pay-Per-View movies, the Weather Channel, and of course CNN?

According to a article on the subject,

In the United States, she said, at least one major cable provider and one major satellite provider will carry AJI. Comcast, the largest U.S. cable provider, said it is not one of them.

The idea of a foreign international news channel gaining prominence similar to that of CNN is a hopeful one. In a nation where many of it's citizens remain ignorant to the international community's opinion of the their government (or at least any validity of such opinions), either through simple laziness or misguided patriotism, widespread access to a news organization such as Al-Jazeera could shed some much needed light on the issues of the numerous other nations and cultures that so many Americans seem to forget we share the planet with.

Certain Americans already seek out this kind of external criticism. However, the majority of the country is contented by what US based news organizations have to tell us, not only about our country, but about the rest of the world as well. In a country known for its blind patriotism, Al-Jazeera International might be just the wake up call we need. I would like to think that the ignorance of some American's as to the events of the rest of the world, which some Americans sometimes forget is vast, diverse, and critical, is just that, ignorance. That if the American people were better informed of other nations' views of our government, more of us might be called from the comfort of our easy chairs and incited to, if not action, at least a more informed discourse. Ironically, it may now be, from the very comfort of those easy chairs, perched in front of our televisions, that more Americans may finally begin to recognize the events and issues of the rest of the planet, and most importantly not just as they relate to our nation's interests.

However, I have to wonder, if the very lack of international perspective that Al-Jazeera International may serve to remedy may thwart its progress. If cable companies like Comcast are not currently planning to broadcast it, how hopeful can we be that the new international news channel will gain the prominence suggested by the Economist?

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