After a bit over two years, Al-Jazeera America is shutting down and closing up shop. It seems the Qatar-based Arab-language broadcaster was simply unable to find purchase in the American market.
Analysis has been offered regarding the number of households where the network was available, editorial style, and so on, but I find it mysterious that no one is addressing the most obvious point. The company is Al-Jazeera. Not only is it not a household name, but in households where the brand is recognizable, that recognition is largely not favorable.
From allegations of anti-semitism to the promotion of trutherism, the company has faced a slew of controversies and bad public image in the United States. The sort of anti-Israel, anti-American bias that they are fairly or unfairly associated with doesn’t sell to large audiences here, as Air America radio and MSNBC have ably proved.
So yes, the company is pulling the plug on their American network. While this is technically “breaking” news, it should not be in any way confused with “shocking” news.