Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news network that previously tried to become a liberal media force in the United States, is launching a platform for conservatives, it announced on Tuesday.
The new campaign, entitled “Law,” is aimed at Republicans who “feel left out of the mainstream media”. Politico reportedand is directed by a former Fox News journalist.
Al Jazeera became a significant US presence in 2013 started the left-wing Al Jazeera America News channel and website. The Doha-based network funded by the state of Qatar shut down the U.S. television network in 2016 but continues to have a strong online presence with its AJPlus video network. Its international channel – Al Jazeera English – is popular in the US.
The beginning of a conservative effort comes at a time of mounting extremism in existing right-wing US news sources.
Fox News, the American right-wing news channel, has stalled even further to the right as it faces threats from new, ultra-conservative TV channels like NewsMax and One America News.
Politico reported that Scott Norvell, a former Fox News employee, will be the editor-in-chief of Rightly, which will launch its first conservative-leaning show on Thursday.
According to his LinkedIn page, in 2012 Norvell left News Corp, which owns Fox News, and ended up serving 16 years in various roles with the company.
A former employee of Heat Street, a news website launched by News Corp in July 2016 and closed in August 2017, said Norvell was involved in the right-wing politics of that website.
“Scott Norvell was involved in the conversion of Heat Street from a libertarian youth-oriented site, as originally planned, to an old-right Breitbart clone for Trump,” said the former employee on condition of anonymity.
Norvell did not respond to a request for comment.
Privately, some Al Jazeera employees expressed dismay at the launch of Rightly, wondering how this was compatible with the network’s previously stated commitments to give voice to marginalized communities.
The Al Jazeera show will be called “Right Now with Stephen Kent,” according to Politico, and will be hosted by Stephen Kent, a commentator who is currently Beltway Banthas, a Podcast about “Star Wars, Politics & More”.
Al Jazeera and Kent did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Kent retweeted News from the platform on Tuesday morning.