Conservatives who cheered the decision by a Los Angeles-based PBS affiliate to quit the system last year had their hopes for conservative programming dashed by the station’s decision in February to devote much of its airtime to the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera English.
KCET-TV, which had been a PBS affiliate for more than 40 years, cut its ties at the end of 2010 due to declining ratings and increased dues that were set to eat up 25% of the station’s budget in 2011.
To fill the programing gap left by their departure from the PBS system, the station started to carry programs from Al Jazeera English just as the political situation in Tunisia and Egypt started to erupt.
The station airs the programming four times each weekday and once a day on weekends. Viewers have responded, boosting the ratings in the 4 p.m. time slot 135% from February to May, as interest in the Middle East soared during that period.
According to The New York Times, KCET’s chief content officer Brett Marcus is very pleased with the ratings and the programming and told the Times that most viewers think the reporting has been even-handed so far.
Al Jazeera, which has been dubbed as Osama bin-Laden’s favorite TV channel, has struggled to break into U.S. cable systems, with the latest blow coming from Comcast which confirmed last month that it was not negotiating to carry the controversial channel.
While the programming at PBS had a definite left-wing tilt, it was nothing compared to the propaganda laced programming that Al Jazeera provides.
As AIM”s Cliff Kincaid pointed out earlier this year, the Qatari-funded channel has been a source of anti-American propaganda and may be responsible for fomenting terrorist attacks on our country.
Plus, KCET”s decision gives the channel its largest toehold in a major city and could open the door to other stations or cable systems reversing course and adding the channel to their respective systems, which could provide an additional challenge in our efforts to fight terrorism.
I never thought I would say this but I hope that KCET will change its mind and rejoin the PBS network, if the alternative is to continue with Al Jazeera English.