Al-Jazeera, as endorsed by Hillary Clinton (The Guardian)

With its Arab Spring coverage, al-Jazeera won new fans. Isn't it time to end the channel's virtual blackout on US cable networks?

By Michael Corcoran and Stephen Maher

Al-Jazeera's esteem in the United States has reached unprecedented heights in the aftermath of its coverage of the revolutionary uprising in Egypt, which clearly displayed how embarrassingly inadequate US cable news outlets are by comparison. Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was compelled recently to concede that al-Jazeera English (AJE) provides "real news" coverage and actual on-the-ground journalism, unlike its American counterparts, which, she said, rely too heavily on cheap punditry.

Despite the US's unique position of power and influence, cable providers in America do not offer a single world news channel. Not even CNN International, the grownup sister channel of CNN, is available in the US; American audiences are forced to endure the entertainment-centric, domestic version of the channel – as Clinton described it, "a million commercials … and arguments between talking heads."

Al-Jazeera's impressive coverage of the uprising in Egypt has reopened a debate over whether cable providers should offer AJE as an option for US viewers. The channel is pressing the issue as never before, devoting a page on its site to encourage Americans to "Demand al-Jazeera", and using Twitter and Facebook to build a national movement for cable companies to offer the channel. With recent reports that Comcast is in negotiations with the Qatar-based network, now is the time for the effective blackout of al-Jazeera English in the US to end.

Read the rest, here.