With No Viewers, Al Jazeera America Begins Firing Staff

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Al Jazeera America, the Qatar dictatorship’s pro-terrorist propaganda branch in the US, has a problem, it has more staff than viewers. So it’s dumping some of the staff.

Cable channel Al Jazeera America, which launched less than a year ago, is slashing expenses and laying off staff as it struggles to gain a foothold in the US.

“They’re not making their numbers or the revenue they thought,” said a source. “They have a really convoluted background of people in from Qatar [headquarters]. They really don’t get the US market.”

Al Jazeera America is averaging just 15,000 total viewers, roughly half those who tuned in to its predecessor, Current TV, according to Nielsen figures.

The channel draws fewer than 6,000 viewers in the 25-to-54-year-old target audience for news.

Thanks to the deep pockets of the owners, Al Jazeera America spent freely in a bid to challenge its all-news TV competition.

It hired 800 journalists, including former ABC news-gathering chief Kate O’Brian, and blanketed the US with a dozen bureaus.

Qatar can always try getting its money back from Al Gore. That and cutting its sports coverage. (Yes, apparently there was sports coverage. Taliban soccer played with human heads perhaps.)

The cuts were across the entire network. Among the areas hardest hit were the new network’s sports department and the staff of the television show “The Stream,” a program about social media that is being cut from five days a week to one day.

The sports group was pretty much eliminated as Al Jazeera America executives realized few viewers were coming to the network for scores and highlights.

The message for a while has been that ratings don’t matter to Al Jazeera and while the oil tyranny does have deep pockets, it apparently doesn’t intend to indefinitely pour money down a hole.

The C.E.O. of Al Jazeera America, Ehab Al-Shihabi, reassured staff that the company was invested in the long-term for the channel, and argued that the U.S. was moving towards “a golden age of global news.”

In a memo sent to staff of the channel this week, obtained by Capital, Al-Shihabi compared the launch of AJAM to “build[ing] an airplane in mid-flight” and thanked the staff. He also emphasized that the company was focused on the long-game.

“I want you to know that this organization is on very firm financial footing. The support is there. The investment is for the long-term. All of which means you should be thinking for the long-term,” Al-Shihabi wrote.

That was back in March. In April it’s a different story.

In January, Al Jazeera America president Kate O’Brian assured staffers that the network was on it way to being the “envy of the industry.

Sure. Get paid without having to get viewers. The rest of the industry is envious.

  • Veracious_one

    What??? no Democrat viewers…

    • Doobee

      Oh, there’s a few: Muslim-Americans are about 80 % Democrats. That’s at least the beginning of a viewer base. And besides, Obama has been bringing as many Muslims as fast as he can sign executive orders granting them citizenship, temporary and permanent asylum.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

    Expect a merger with MSNBC … with Rachel Maddow in a Burka.

    • Habbgun

      Maddow in a burkha? That could only help ratings. She’d look better and sound like Kenny which means more people could stand to listen. Now if only they could get Chris Matthews into AA and off the air they’d cut their losses.

      • Doobee

        Matthews is a 12-Step reject. Maddow should be declared an honorary Muslim since she too has declared jihad on America.

    • Doobee

      A merger with MSNBC? Why not? They both hate America.

  • adamjo

    I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less from a pro Zionist propagandist who pathetically spends all his time trashing anything remotely related do Islam or Arabs in general to write trash like this. After all, he preaches to the choir on websites like frontpage mag, who all share the same racist hate for a certain people and a certain religious belief, regardless of what the topic is.

    • Libslayer

      Yes, we believe that people who shout “death to Israel, death to America” might not have good intentions for non Muslims.
      Move to Palestine, I’m sure you’d fit right in.
      Bigot.

    • wileyvet

      As opposed to every cleric in every mosque around the world preaching “Death to America” and “Death to the Zionist Entity”. Islam is a sick religion, and denying its foundational tenets and history, is to ignore the dysfunctional culture it produces. It is not above criticism and is not deserving of special protection. Muhammad exhorted death to critics of him and Allah and ordered assassinations of same said critics. This has been the problem with Islam from the beginning, and continues to be so today. A religion or ideology that is so sensitive to such examination, is not worth much if it cannot stand such scrutiny without resorting to violence from rampaging mobs.

    • Judahlevi

      What people like you don’t get is that conservatives believe in freedom of speech, religion, and thought – Islam doesn’t.

      If Muslims want to be respected, they first need to respect others. When Muslims shout their intolerance for others, especially Jews, it is not be surprising (but expected) that they will meet strong resistance for their own hate and intolerance.

      You can’ t have it both ways where Arabs and Muslims can hate, but others cannot hate back. You sow the seeds of your own destruction.

    • TheOrdinaryMan

      Shouldn’t you say “anything more?” Your feeble attempt at using the race card notwithstanding, you don’t even know how to say nothing.

    • Doobee

      If what that “pro-Zionist propagandist” writes is so “pathetic,” why do you have your panties in a bunch about it?

  • Libslayer

    Americans don’t want to watch Islamic propaganda?
    I’m shocked.

  • Douglas J. Bender

    Surely Al-Jazeera: America is too liberal to fail. Where’s Obama with some free stimulus money?

  • butpygmies

    I guess Ray Suarez can always go back to PBS and peddle his bullshit there again…

  • Fritz Kohlhaas

    LOL!!!

  • JohnfromToronto

    I can’t wait for Gore to comment. In his delusional world, he would probably say, “I am not that big a failure. We had twice as many viewers as the new guys.”

  • notme123

    Good! I’ve seen a lot of ads for this station lately, even at the movies. Doesn’t Al Gore own station?

    • shutupandknit

      Al Gore and his investors in January 2013 sold Current TV to the Qatari owners of Al Jazeera network, which owns two other networks in addition to Al Jazeera America.

  • Zanjabeel

    This article is absolutely BuII$HlT,it is actually gaining viewers

  • shutupandknit

    I actually paid the monthly $5 a month to get it. While changing my package to remove Glenn Beck. One delivers straight news without opinion commentary, Beck and the other 24 hour stations do not.

    Since y’all aren’t bright or my guess is actually even bothered to sample the US Al Jazeera network, it focuses on US issues and content.

  • Getplanted

    I don’t have a TV so I can’t watch the channel. I do have Internet and Al Jazeera’s English website is one of my prime sources for news.