"The original Arabic-language Al Jazeera, which is aimed at a Middle Eastern audience, has been accused of anti-American and anti-Israeli bias, and of being a mouthpiece of terrorist propaganda such as al-Qaida videos from Osama bin Laden aired by the network in the 2000s. Other critics say the network, which has been on the air since 1996, is too pro-Western.
The new cable network, which is separate from its Arabic-language counterpart in the Mideast, will be staffed by Americans and aimed at a U.S. audience with domestic news coverage. It will air on the former Current TV channel, which had been home to ex-Gov. Jennifer Granholm's left-leaning political talk show.
It picked Detroit because of news value, not specifically because of the area's large Arab-American population or the potential advertising dollars from the three local automakers, executives said.
Emphasis will be placed on long-form and investigative reporting and grassroots-based coverage of domestic news, including lifestyle and cultural topics.
The new channel has launched a "heavy, intensive outreach" tour of its bureau cities, meeting with local civic, business, media and political leaders and groups. That includes the three Detroit automakers, which the channel is expected to target for advertising.
Al Jazeera America's leadership said it has a multi-pronged strategy for overcoming any stigma, with the foremost tactic being that the network will be non-ideological journalism, with editorial independence, run by Americans for a U.S. audience."Read More
Detroit joins other cities like Chicago - home of the Nation of Islam and growing Arab population - in having the honor of a Al Jazeera news bureau.
Just a few facts about Detroit:
Unemployment rate: 18.0% (Feb 2013)
Black or African American population - 775,772 - 81.55%
Persons under 18 years - percent 2010 - 26.7%
Old Arabian proverb: "If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow."