Considering her recent praise for Al Jazeera, Hillary Clinton might do cartwheels when she hears about this story.
Al Jazeera, the controversial Arab news network often criticized for its unfriendly-to-America bent, is trying to figure out a way to get on American cable television. So what idea did it come up with? Use the kids. Yes, Al Jazeera has just announced plans for an English-language network for children -- in North America.
According to the magazine Fast Company, the project is supposed to be completed by the end of 2012. And while the new channel will feature some original programming, content will also "be a mix of syndicated shows from other sources and original programming, dubbed into English, from the already existing Arabic-language Al Jazeera Children's Channel."
So what kind of programming might kids, and parents, expect to see on the new Al Jazeera cartoon network? One need only to look at the current content of Al Jazeera's Arabic childrens channel to guess.
There's "Saladin," which tells the story of the crusades through the eyes of a legendary Muslim warrior:
And the documentary "Still Alive in Gaza," which chronicles the lives of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip where fighting with Israel is rampant:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/uYIxkVaSuMY&rel=0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3 expand=1]
Then there's the always-popular sponsored contests, like this one -- the Koran recitation contest:
The networks Arabic-language kids channel, which has been around since 2005, is currently available in the Middle East and Europe.
Al Jazeera Children's general manager Mahmoud Bouneb, however, told Abu Dhabi news outlet The National that American airtime is a goal:
"We have an ambition to create an international feed for JCC that will benefit other markets, [such as] Asia and North America […] We are thinking probably by the end of 2012 because it takes a long time to prepare and to penetrate the market … we have so many requests from Asian countries to bring Al Jazeera [Children's Channel] in Arabic and to be dubbed in English […] It is essential our international feed will cover North America. I don't think we will face the issues related to the distribution of Al Jazeera (English News).”
Enter Hillary Clinton.
Readers might remember that the secretary of state blasted American news outlets last week and held up the suspect Al Jazeera as a beacon of great coverage. She glossed over any mention of the network's anti-American bias, which wasn't lost to Glenn Beck:
Al Jazeera isn't the first network to try and introduce Muslim-oriented cartoons. Readers might remember the Islam animated series "The 99," which is set to debut this year in America on The Hub network.
"Because if cable operators object to offering viewers exposure to Al Jazeera’s news," Mediaite says sarcastically, "they’ll probably jump at the chance to provide those viewers Al Jaz for Kids!"
Or maybe just Hillary Clinton.