Ali Velshi: Leaving CNN for AJAM ‘Was Worth the Risk’

By Mark Joyella 

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Al Jazeera America host Ali Velshi says he never had second thoughts about walking away from CNN for the uncertainty of AJAM, even after the decision this week that the network would end operations in April. “Knowing what I know now–about the management struggles that would ensue, about the layoffs, about languishing in relative ratings obscurity, about facing challenges from critics who judged our book by its cover–I’d make exactly the same decision.”

Writing at LinkedIn, Velshi says the decision he announced in 2013 to leave an anchor role at CNN was based in a desire not to take the safe route:

I left CNN on the best of terms, grateful for the faith that company and, more importantly, its viewers, put in me over the years. I grew with CNN, which took me all over the world and introduced me to the most fascinating people. But I left willingly, understanding the risks of joining Al Jazeera, a company whose work I so admired. I was ready for a different sort of challenge.

In the wake of the network’s announcement this week, Velshi says he heard from “the odd troller (chiming) in expressing glee that my terrorist-supporting, chauvinistic, jihadist Arab funders had failed in their attempt to impose Sharia upon America.”

But Velshi’s only regret was the people on his team who are losing their jobs. “I’m devastated for the colleagues whom I convinced to leave their secure jobs and join me in this adventure. But I’m not sad about anything else.”