Every time I hear mention of Al Jazeera America, my first thought is something like, “That’s still a thing?”
Well, not for much longer. As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, the American branch of the Qatar-based state-funded broadcaster will shutter its doors for good in April.
The final nail in the coffin comes less than a month after a rare instance of a story putting AJAM in the headlines. The network aired a documentary that claimed that Denver Broncos quarterback and NFL icon Peyton Manning (and a number of other professional athletes) used performance-enhancing drugs. Manning denied the claims, and the story has yet to gather any of the steam that that level of accusations may have on another network. MLB players Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman have filed defamation suits against Al Jazeera.
AJAM’s end comes less than a year after it faced a huge crisis in 2015, when CEO Ehab Al Shihabi left amid accusations of sexism and anti-Semitism — not to mention the network’s crippled ratings. That narrative did not change after his departure. AJAM wrapped the year with a mere 7,000 average primetime viewers in the news demographic of adults 25-54, essentially a scratch.
It always seemed a bit odd that Al Jazeera thought there was a market for their perspective in the United States. Hell, MSNBC has trouble securing viewers, and they’re home grown.