December 22, 2006
Al Jazeera English on The Daily Show
By now many have seen the Daily Show clip about Al Jazeera English from 13 December, where Samantha Bee visits the Washington DC office of AJE and, finding it utterly boring and just not the right format to captivate Americans, proceeds to "jazz it up a bit".
The piece is brilliantly done, but what I find most interesting is the fact that AJE went along with it. I wonder if other global news channels would've done the same. Did AJE agree to it because they think they need this type of exposure in order to break into the U.S. market - where few operators carry it - or is it an indication of Al Jazeera's oft-proclaimed "openness"?
On a related note: Should AJE adapt its format to US viewer preferences in order to get them to watch? Would retaining the dry BBC-esque format be a sign of intellectual condescension towards a more "parochial" American public?
Posted by MSK at December 22, 2006 02:01 PM
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Hahahaha. Marketing coup.
That was beautiful.
AJE pretty clearly if it's going to get an American audience (at least outside of Arab Americans), ought to be aiming itself at the Daily Show's demographic - young, liberal, news junkies. "Listening Post" is pretty much the Daily Show without the comedy sketches or celebrity interview and with the humor dialed down a couple notches.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at December 22, 2006 03:52 PM
"And I'm Peppermint Gomez" -- a classic.
Posted by: matthew hogan at December 22, 2006 08:09 PM
wow that was beautiful. if only i could watch AJE easily...
Holy crap that was awesome.
Yeah, not sure about the BBC sensibility in the American market. What does the original Al Jazeera feel like?
Posted by: zurn at December 23, 2006 02:44 AM
how many people in the US watch BBC anyway?
Posted by: Klaus at December 23, 2006 04:58 AM
I agree.. the beard was a little too 'muslimy'
Posted by: Iwasawa at December 24, 2006 07:36 PM
I have a question, what was the name of the female newsreader? I loved her voice, but I can't distinguish her name, I'm embarrassed to confess.
Thanks very much.
Posted by: Jeff at December 24, 2006 08:01 PM
what was the name of the female newsreader?
Thanks very much, Shaheen. Much appreciated.
Posted by: Jeff at December 25, 2006 05:39 PM
No. Peppermint Gomez.
Posted by: matthew hogan at December 25, 2006 09:36 PM
I wonder if other global news channels would've done the same. Did AJE agree to it because they think they need this type of exposure in order to break into the U.S. market - where few operators carry it - or is it an indication of Al Jazeera's oft-proclaimed "openness"?
Uhm, she spent the entire time parodying the shallowness of American newscasting. That segment was perfectly respectful of Al J, because her shtick wasn't about AlJ... You really don't understand comedy do you?
Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 27, 2006 11:36 PM
so you mean this whole piece was done in what my Middle School teacher called "the ironic mode"? Oh gosh darn, I KNEW I remembered something! So, does that mean that "The Daily Show" isn't, like, a REAL news program where they always tell the truth, like on Bill O'Reilly?
You don't seem to understand either a news organization like AJE (or CNN, or BBC etc.) nor my post.
Contrary to your "understanding" both AJE and the American TV viewer got lampooned. When Samantha Bee made fun of AJE's BBC-esque stiffness (the office director, Bob Frost, etc.), the viewer is laughing right along.
My question, however, had nothing to do with what you insinuated, and - for your benefit - I shall rephrase it: Given that AJE markets itself as a serious global news organization that aims to establish itself on the same level as the BBC and CNN and similar corporations, and given that the brand "Al Jazeera" has a very negative image in the U.S., I am wondering whether AJE agreed to have this piece done (without any way to control in which direction it might or any influence on the editing process - thus having to risk a serious lampooning of AJE) because the AJE managers hope that it would help them rebrand AJE in the North American market and thus break into it or whether the decision was based on Al Jazeera's often proclaimed "openness".
In case the question still isn't clear, I can elaborate on the theme further.
Just let me know.
BTW, you still haven't answered the question from a few threads ago: what kind of "scholar" are you?
Posted by: MSK at December 28, 2006 04:47 AM
damn josh you dumb.
MSK - I don't think that piece had any negative implications whatsoever for AJ. What's the takeaway? That they take their news seriously, maybe a bit too seriously for a vapid know-nothing like Bee (as she portrays herself).
Posted by: Tom Scudder at December 30, 2006 10:08 AM
I agree with you. But AJE couldn't know that before the piece was aired. I'm trying to follow the development of the piece:
DS has an idea, "we'll do something about AJE." They ask AJE if they can do something in their D.C. office. AJE agrees. Sam Bee and her crew do their thing. AJE's people play along. The DS crew leaves. AJE has no idea what the piece will look like when it's aired. There is absolutely no guarantee that AJE won't be made to look like complete idiots.
Get what I mean?
It kind of reminds me of Musharraf's visit to the Daily Show. AJE seems to be eager to break into the American market. Of course, while the main focus of the piece was the "dumb" U.S. public, AJE did come across as, as you said, "take their news maybe a bit too seriously".
One question remains: SHOULD AJE adapt to U.S. viewership or not? As of right now - since they aren't broadcasting anything that people want to see but only AJE provides ... nobody's watching it.
Posted by: MSK at December 30, 2006 10:22 AM
well...far as I understand no US cable providers will carry their station, it is a terrorist propaganda channel, after all. So al-jazeero is watching al-jazeera. Does anyone know what satellite it's broadcast on?
there you go:
When did Scandinavians get so lazy?
Posted by: MSK at December 30, 2006 11:06 AM
Welfare does that to you. You just sit on your ass all day, expecting others to find out what satellites carry which channels.
Eerie tagged it very well. The Daily Show's audience are younger and/or hipper and/or better educated than the average FOX News watcher. Along with finding the piece amusing, many would still relate to the dry BBC style, because they actually watch it now and then, or listen to it on the radio. The audience would also tend to be a very good target population for Al Jazeera to create demand for their product on cable. Brilliant piece, and Al Jazerra, as well as Stewart should be applauded for it. Al Jazeera certainly deserves a place on cable TV. Their English products are quality, and undeserving of the defamation heaped upon it by America's rank and defiled.
come to think of it, The Daily Show actually has a large audience outside of the young set. my parents and the vast majority of their friends watch it religiously. i know a lot of people in the "younger" group that watch the show with their parents when they're home from uni or what have you.
btw, klaus: how do i get in on that welfare action?
drdougfir, sorry, can't help you, I'm too busy sucking up that welfare. mmmmm.