Washington’s ‘Newseum’ to Host Al Jazeera Studios

-By Warner Todd Huston

Media broadcaster Al Jazeera is owned by the Nation of Qatar, a Muslim country whose legislature operates mainly upon Sharia law. Since the mid 19th century Qatar has been entirely controlled by the monarchical Al Thani family. Today, Al Jazeera’s new American cable news network will broadcast out of the “Newseum,” an organization dedicated to freedom, liberty, and the First Amendment situated only blocks from the capitol building in Washington D.C.

“Is there anything wrong with that picture?” asks Claudia Rosett in a recent Weekly Standard piece.

When it opened in 2008 in downtown D.C., the Newseum celebrated its focus on Americanism, the Constitution, the history of journalism, and the First Amendment. Now it is hosting a network from a nation that holds to no such niceties. Al Jazeera, as it happens, is entirely owned by the Qatari state and is not a free media outlet.

Since the oil-rich nation bought out environmental guru Al Gore’s cable TV network to host Al Jazeera’s new American outlet, we have been told it will be “independent” and allowed to follow the news anywhere it take them.

That remains to be seen, of course. We cannot know what the future will hold for the sort of journalism that Al Jazeera will practice.
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Washington’s ‘Newseum’ to Host Al Jazeera Studios”