Al Jazeera Tries to ‘Mainstream’ Its Faces

By Alex Weprin 

Al Jazeera is sending some of its top talent on media events around the country, “in an effort to “mainstream” the faces of this once-demonised network,” according to author Naomi Wolf.

Among the talent is Ayman Mohyeldin, who has been doing a media blitz, including a photo shoot for GQ.

And Mohyeldin can sound like Robert F. Kennedy: when the cry rose up from Tahrir Square hailing Mubarak’s abdication, he commented, “One man stepped down and eighty million people stepped up.”

The station’s US push could hardly be more necessary – to Americans. By being denied the right to watch Al Jazeera, Americans are being kept in a bubble, sealed off from the images and narratives that inform the rest of the world.

Despite widespread praise during its coverage of the Middle East and North Africa this year, Al Jazeera has struggled to gain carriage in the U.S. The network is hoping that the more comfortable U.S. audiences are with its talent, the more likely cable providers will be to add them to their lineups, even on a digital tier.