Pacifica radio will carry some Al Jazeera English news stories

12/06/10 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:


You might not be able to watch it on cable television yet, but soon, you could hear it on community radio.

The international news channel Al Jazeera English and Pacifica radio announced a partnership today where news from Al Jazeera reporters will be broadcast on the five Pacifica stations and soon, on Pacifica affiliates like WMNF. Today we spoke with Pacifica Foundation executive director Arlene Engelhardt, who used to be a programmer on the Women’s Show on 88.5 FM.

"Today Pacifica is pleased to announce that we will be carrying Al Jazeera English news broadcasts on three of our Pacifica stations and after the first of the year it will be on all five stations. Beginning today KPFA will carry the very first broadcast of Al Jazeera English on Pacifica and then tomorrow the first broadcast will be carried by New York, WBAI, and Houston, KPFT. We're really pleased to add this line up of thought provoking programming that we think represents information coming from a new source, an independent news media that provides global news from a slightly different perspective. And Pacifica has had a long history of providing that kind of news coverage and we're proud to be a part of this effort, too."

You say a different perspective, what does that mean? I know they're sponsored by a government, so it's not completely independent. Tell us a little bit more about Al Jazeera.

"Well, Al Jazeera English, editorially, is completely independent. The reporters and the news editors have complete freedom to present the news as they see it. But, obviously, as a service that comes with a background in the Middle East, they come at the news from a slightly different perspective than the news that we're hearing on most of the US media which is kind of predigested and pretty much all coming from the same point of view. I've done a lot of listening to Al Jazeera over the last few weeks and what comes through to me is an independence and, to me seemingly, unbiased. Obviously, none of us are totally unbiased, but coming at it at least from a different perspective and trying to present some of the issues that we don't get in the US media."

You say that the five Pacifica stations are going to air this newscast but it will also be available to Pacifica affiliates like WMNF, right?

"Yes it will, and that should be happening sometime in the next few weeks. We're making sure that everything goes smoothly and all the bugs are worked out, but we're going to be making it available to the 140 plus affiliates as well as the five Pacifica stations."

In some circles the name Al Jazeera has a negative connotation. They're known for broadcasting Bin Laden's speeches sometimes, his taped speeches. How do you plan on dealing with the certain attacks that are going to happen from the right regarding airing Al Jazeera in the US?

"What we're going to encourage people to do is to listen to the broadcast. We think that if you listen to the broadcast you'll realize that they are as unbiased as news can be and that they are presenting things from a different perspective. Some people talk about, 'well this is anti-Jewish', or anti- something else, and yet Al Jazeera has one of the largest international bureaus located in Israel, presenting things that include whatever Israeli points of view might be. So, we think that is important, but of course Al Jazeera English is totally developed in English and presented with a little bit more Western point of view than perhaps Al Jazeera Middle East."

Give us a little description then, of what to expect if you tune in to a Pacifica broadcast today and you hear the Al Jazeera newscast, how long is it? What types of stories will you be hearing?

"You'll be hearing stories of international importance which include things that are happening here in the United States. The broadcast is approximately 52 minutes long and the rest of the hour will be filled with a little bit of local news from the local stations. I'm just real proud of this and very happy to see this happening on Pacifica radio. As usual we're a leader in this. We're the first radio network in North America to be covering this and we think it's an important move forward."

The UK newspaper The Guardian is reporting that among the large cache of state department documents released last week by WikiLeaks is one that questions the editorial independence of Al Jazeera. In November 2009, one cable from the U.S. embassy said, “Qatar will continue to use Al Jazeera as a bargaining tool to repair relationships with other countries, particularly those soured by Al Jazeera's broadcasts, including the United States.”

We’ll bring you more on the partnership between Pacifica and Al-Jazeera, including what it means for 88.5 FM, in the coming weeks.

Al Jazeera English


cable on Qatar / Al Jazeera

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No more donations to you

Wow! If I want the latest on justified beheadings, propaganda and the stupid rants of Islamic apologists, I'll know where to turn. In the mean time, you'll never get another dime of my donation money. I can't believe how stupid you guys are, except when I watch you salivating over WikiLeaks or anything else that might weaken this country, in which you also live, meatheads.

In the news today, a local politician...

Good call Pacifica… it sounds as if Al-Jazerra will fit right in with your new organization… or is it the other way around… it’s getting so hard to tell these days. I’m sure that the politicians in the Pacifica areas… as well as the politicians in the areas of those affiliates who choose to air Al-Jazerra… will be kicking the stations doors down… just to give an interview. What federal, state or local politician wouldn’t LOVE to be associated with a pro Al-Jazerra station… in any context???

Is the end near ?

If you do decide to broadcast Al Jazerra propagada you can order the shutters. WMNF will truly demonstrate where it's sympathy lies. Your fundraising campaigns will have to become even more non-stop than now. Tampa doesnt need another shuttered building.


Congratulations to Arlene and Pacifica Radio for taking the bold steps toward communication between our cultures. After all of the wonderful work she's done for WMNF, it's great to see her add another accomplishment to her career. I'm looking forward to hearing more points of view from a non-Western news source, and also to the rapid patter of little feat as they scurry back to Faux News.


Sounds like none of you haters even read or listened to the story. Nor have you ever read/heard an Al Jazeera broadcast before. But of course. It's based in the Middle East so they must be biased and full of propaganda right? I also applaud your arrogant assumption that you think everyone agrees with you and it will mean the END of WMNF. Since you guys obviously think WMNF is biased in the first place, I have to ask. Do you even listen to the station? Or do you just come to the site to spout your hate for it? I'm guessing it's the latter.

Talk about haters

Get a grip Bernard. One need only listen occasionally to this station to hear the undeniable left wing slant. Even the music shows are rampant with anti - conservative, anti - Republican comments, most notably the Sixties show. Talk about haters ? Listen to the disdain and hate spewed on that show directed at anything not in lockstep with their agenda (even at Obama). So much for the peace, love and understanding from the aged stoned out flower children. Hightower? Another hate filled bomb thrower. No bias or leftist slant there is there? Can you deny that Amy Goodman as well as numerous thoughts from the far left are broadcast on a daily basis? I have read, listened and watched enough of Al Jeeraza to determine it contains an agenda driven bias. Anyone who feels different after doing the same would be disingenuous, including you. WMNF, Pacifica or Al Jazeera can air whatever they choose to further their agenda. Just make sure not one cent of taxpayer money goes to funding their operation. If the listeners continue to listen and pay for the content then "go for it". If not, the financial crisis will only deepen as financial support for the agenda here is dropping as rapidly as the cool temperatures this week. It will be interesting to see if WMNF is willing to take such a risk by airing more anti-America viewpoints.

still funny

Hightower's more like a fact filled bomb thrower. He does a good job of it too. I guess nowadays facts are considered leftist and liberal. Because of people like you who enjoy being blissfully ignorant. Are you not spewing hate as well because this station isn't in "lockstep" with your ideology? I think that's called hypocrisy. It's also not your decision alone as to whether or not they receive taxpayer dollars. You seem to be one of those patriotic folk. Yet you're ignoring basic principles such as majority rules, and freedom of speech. I could argue that there is plenty of "anti-liberal" media out there. Judging by your name I'm sure you know that..Like I said before, I'm sure you don't even listen or donate since your assumptions are pretty obvious. So your threats of it being the end of WMNF are pretty empty.