CNN’s Tom Kludt writes about another lawsuit filed by a former Al Jazeera America staffer. This is one I would keep an eye on because of who filed it. Longtime blog readers…if there are any still out there (Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?)…will recognize the name Shannon High as one this blog regularly took shots at in the late 2000s. She went from MSNBC to CNN where she EP’d CNN’s 6am morning show. Regardless of what I thought of High’s accomplishments, particularly while at MSNBC, there is no doubt in my mind that High is a network veteran who wants to stay in the game. Network vets who want to stay in the game don’t file lawsuits like this. Whatever indignation may have happened, they bite hard and move on to the next job.
So the fact that a person like High filed this suit says a lot to me.
According to High-Bassalik, Al Shihabi admitted that he pushed for the channel to embrace a pro-Arabic viewpoint because he believed it would “please Doha,” a reference to the Qatari capital that serves as the home to Al Jazeera Media Network.
High-Bassalik claims that when she and others complained about these orders, arguing that AJAM’s cable contracts in the United States required the channel to remain neutral, Al Shihabi raised his voice and said that anyone who objected would no longer be welcome at the company. He responded to such objections by saying that the company “was not Al Jazeera America but ‘Al Jazeera in America,'” according to the complaint.
High-Bassalik’s complaint includes many of the same allegations in the lawsuit filed against AJAM earlier this year by Matthew Luke, the channel’s former director of media and archive management who was also fired in February.