Al Jazeera America Officially Launches With Sharp Jabs At Competitors (VIDEO)

After months of buildup, Al Jazeera America officially came into being on Tuesday, taking sharp jabs at its competitors in the cable news world and promising viewers a different approach to TV journalism.

The network launched with an hour-long introduction to what it will be offering. The main message that the promo hammered home over and over again was that Americans were being denied the news they deserved on television.

Clips of Bill O'Reilly and Al Sharpton were played, and people in different towns were filmed talking about how underserved they felt.

"Americans want wider coverage and more real news," Richelle Carey, one of the anchors hosting the promo, told viewers.

The network also touted its 12 bureaus across the country and vowed to tell stories that weren't airing on its rival channels.

The problem for Al Jazeera America is that many millions of people don't have access to those stories.

Though the network is available in 40 million households, Al Jazeera America faces a distribution challenge. The network recently took its request directly to viewers, asking potential audience members to ask their cable providers for Al Jazzera America if they do not already provide it.

The network's highly anticipated debut was more than 8 months in the making. In January, former Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt sold Current TV to Al Jazeera. The Doha-based news network said it would replace Current TV's programming and launch a new cable network called Al Jazeera America, which would be based in New York City.

The announcement was met with some hostility, as many criticized Gore for selling to a network backed by oil money. "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart described the deal as an "odd move" and grilled the former vice president on his decision to sell the network to a "fossil-fuel-based buyer."

Upon news of the sale, Time Warner Cable, which accounts for 12 million households, dropped the low-performing Current TV. Hyatt told staff in a memo that Time Warner Cable "did not consent to the sale to Al Jazeera."

Al Jazeera also has a well-known image issue with viewers who stubbornly associate it with anti-Americanism. The initial promo tried to address this head-on, playing clips of Hillary Clinton and John McCain praising Al Jazeera, and showing a man on the street who said, "It's a business. They're entitled to set up a business."

Originally set to launch in June, Al Jazeera America had to push its launch back a few months as it searched for New York office space, a news director and top talent. The network eventually hired hundreds of employees and plucked some top talent from competing cable news networks.

CNN's Ali Velshi left to join Al Jazeera America as a primetime host, and former CNN morning show host Soledad O'Brien signed on as a correspondent. She also inked a documentary production deal. Just last month, former ABC News executive Kate O'Brian was named the network's president.

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