NPR ombudsman responds to criticism about Al Jazeera America sponsorship ads:
Questions of bias or independence are irrelevant when it comes to whether NPR should accept sponsorship or cable networks should carry the new network. Many news outlets have a bias. What matters is whether Al Jazeera America’s falls within the acceptable boundaries of decency and free speech, and clearly it does. …
We should not be afraid of these many new voices. Democracy does quite well in Europe, Japan and other parts of the world where the news media has long been identified with ideological, party or individual points of view. American news networks such as CNN are present on cable channels in the rest of the world, including, specifically, Qatar. What counts for American democracy is that we uphold our free speech values and let the best ideas win in the marketplace of open debate.
–NPR, Edward Schumacher-Matos