CNN has had a tough time since they launched in Israel. They’ve been frequently accused of anti-Israeli bias by critics who don’t understand that Ted Turner is neither left-wing nor right-wing, but rather out of his damn mind. Now it’s looking likely that CNN will be off the air in Israel. The network has been negotiating a new contract with HOT, whose subscribers make up two-thirds of Israel’s cable and satellite audience… and negotiations are at a standstill. In fact, all indications make it look as if CNN will disappear from Israeli television screens at the end of the month.
But who’s going to replace CNN? Why… None other than Al-Jazeera in English. You know the Israeli public is going to love that one!
“It’s an economic issue,” Yossi Lubaton said. “Most of the internationally famous news channels – Sky News, the BBC and Fox – for all of them the cost is significantly lower than CNN. [The move] to introduce Al-Jazeera in English comes at a much lower cost than CNN.” [...] “We believe that the other news channels are sufficient to satisfy subscribers’ news demand.” That position is debatable, however, at least as it relates to the arrival of Al-Jazeera’s English version, said Prof. Tamar Liebes, head of the Hebrew University’s Communications Department. “Even to think of it as a replacement is a joke,” Liebes said, adding that few Israeli viewers would be inclined to “trust” the channel’s coverage of international affairs. Al-Jazeera’s Arabic network, which broadcast videotapes featuring Osama bin Laden soon after the September 11, 2001, attacks, has been criticized for what some call its anti-American and anti-Israel news coverage. “It’s incomprehensible,” Liebes said. “Whatever functions CNN performed, none of them will be performed by Al-Jazeera. It’s a whole different kind of person who will watch.”
CNN’s Israeli spokesperson, Hagit Mendes, notes that the only countries that do not currently carry the cable network are Iran, North Korea and Myanmar.
(Image via Jerusalem Post)