Al Jazeera America folds morning programming

John Nolte of Breitbart aptly summarizes the changes announced by Al Jazeera America: “The collapse begins.”

Instead of producing its own programming, the basement-rated cable news network will simply re-broadcast Al Jazeera programs from its parent studio in Qatar. Also canceled is the late morning program, “Consider This With Antonio Mora.”

Mediabistro reports that behind-the-scenes staffers will be reassigned and “the fate of on-air talent is unclear.” Variety, however, reports that primetime anchors Ali Velshi and Joie Chen will have less airtime and mid-to-late afternoon programming is also on the chopping block.

Is it a coincidence that oil prices have halved, cutting the income of the emir of Qatar by a similar percentage?  The Saudis have recently announced that they don’t expect hundred-dollar-a-barrel prices to return, a forecast that sent as many shivers to Qatar as to North Dakota.

Al Jazeera America’s ratings are anemic, drawing about as many viewers as a decent talk radio station has listeners in a medium-sized market.  But they grew late last year on the strength of its coverage of Ferguson and other racial strife.

As Nolte points out, AJA has developed no traction whatsoever in the rest of the American media, who ignore its reporting and have not allowed any of its stories to break out.

You have to feel at least a teeny bit sorry for the talent who heeded the siren song of a supposedly unlimited checkbook and the chance to get in on the ground floor of a new news operation.  Jobs in the news biz are hard to get, and there is a lot more wannabe talent than there are slots available – and not just for on-air talent, but also the editors and writers.  But in signing up for an operation that is part of the broadcast jihad efforts, they cast their lot and became hostage to oil prices.  President Obama may have assured them that America’s fracking bounty would never bring oil prices down, but he was as wrong as he could be.