NEW YORK: Less than a day on from its much-hyped launch in the USA, Al Jazeera America is already facing its greatest PR challenge yet, after one of the channel’s main news anchors blew up, live on air.
TV viewers across America were shocked when Buck Owens, presenter of the channel’s morning show ‘Sup America?, exploded in the middle of a live interview with a cub scout pack from Florida, leaving nothing but a charred toupee.
Although the event has been confirmed as an accident caused by a gas leak, it comes at the worst possible time for a channel trying to persuade middle America that it is not – in the words of Fox News – ‘a radical terrorist commie hate portal spewing lies into the living rooms of honest, freedom-loving US citizens.’
“I understand that this looks bad,” said a spokesman for Al Jazeera. “But America needs to realise that we’re here to serve and inform the American people and we hope to convince them of this soon. Inshallah.”
“Don’t write the inshallah please. That’ll only make things worse,” he added.
Since the event, social networks have revealed the continued level of confusion and fear surrounding the channel’s launch. “Thiz b wut happen if u let osama bin laden direck a tv show i gues” commented Twitter user @IowaBob.
Sources say management at the station are “still considering” whether to continue with a planned advertising flyover across Manhattan this afternoon.