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Who Will Broadcast Al Jazeera?

There may be one taker.

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Completely unconnected to Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation, Al Jazeera International, the English-speaking spinoff of the Arabic news channel he hates so much, is supposed to go live in the U.S. on Wednesday. But to watch it locally, you’ll probably have to have the satellite provider Dish Network, since it’s the only distributor that says it’s “willing” to ink an agreement with the channel’s financial backer, the Emir of Qatar. New York’s primary cable providers, Time Warner and Cablevision, have decided against carrying it right now; Comcast and Cox have also demurred. The reason, analysts say, is not so much the channel’s controversial reputation but saturation: With so many news shows on the air already, they claim, Al Jazeera doesn’t add much to the media mix. Unlike those providers, Dish already carries Al Jazeera, and twenty other channels, in Arabic.

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