Morning Media Newsfeed: Soledad’s Al Jazeera Gig | Snowden Speaks | NYT Blogger Scandal

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Soledad O’Brien Named Special Correspondent for Al Jazeera America (TVNewser)
As TVNewser first reported was in the works last week, Al Jazeera America has signed former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien to a development deal, and will feature her as a “special correspondent” for its primetime newsmagazine, America Tonight. O’Brien’s company, Starfish Media Group, will produce long-form documentary specials for AJAM when the channel launches in August, with O’Brien appearing on-air for shorter-form reports on AJAM’s newsmagazine. TheWrap “O’Brien’s career producing and reporting on the human side of many of the most important stories of the past decade will fit in perfectly with what Al Jazeera America will be covering every day,” said Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director of Al Jazeera’s international operations and the senior executive developing the new channel. “Her dedication to that type of journalism is what makes it so exciting to announce that she and her production company are joining the Al Jazeera America team.” HuffPost It’s a move that makes sense for O’Brien, who ended her day-to-day job at CNN amidst that network’s rebranding. Al Jazeera has promised a less celebrity- and politics-focused network, something that jibes with O’Brien’s high-brow approach to TV journalism. Deadline Hollywood Would a CNN alum hire in this post advance efforts to get the biggest distribution holdout, Time Warner Cable, to carry the network? Back in January, when Al Jazeera coughed up a reported $500 million to buy Al Gore’s little-watched Current TV and replace it with Al Jazeera America, Time Warner Cable said its deal with Current had been terminated and it would no longer carry the service — a big distribution hit for the network. Shortly thereafter, however, Time Warner Cable said it was keeping an open mind about Al Jazeera’s plans. Politico O’Brien’s morning show program on CNN struggled in the ratings and ended March 29. Last month, HBO announced O’Brien is joining the network’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

Statement From Edward Snowden in Moscow (WikiLeaks)
“One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful. On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.” The Atlantic Wire Snowden is dramatic. That is meant in both the traditional sense of the word as well as its more modern form, a truncation of “melodramatic.” That a 30-year-old is dramatic is neither a surprise, nor relevant to the documents he has turned over to the press. The documents, too, are dramatic, but in the quiet way of inanimate objects. LA Times / World Now Snowden met Monday morning with Russian diplomatic officials and handed them an appeal to 15 countries for political asylum, a Russian Foreign Ministry official told the LA Times. “It was a desperate measure on his part after Ecuador disavowed his political protection credentials,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer Even though Snowden’s chances with Ecuador look pretty slim and he’s started to search for asylum elsewhere, he’s still happy they’re considering him. HuffPost Glenn Greenwald hinted on Monday that Snowden has leaked all of the documents that he intended to pass on to news outlets. Snowden, who is currently holed up in Moscow’s airport, has so far given top-secret National Security Agency files to four outlets: The Guardian, The Washington Post, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post and, as of Monday, Germany’s Der Spiegel, which published an explosive story about the extent of NSA spying in Europe. The Guardian The US military has blocked access to the Guardian’s website for troops in the Middle East and south Asia, after disclosures about widespread US surveillance.