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Al Jazeera Is Launching A Right-Leaning News Outlet Called Rightly

Al Jazeera, the Qatar-funded media company, wants to build a new audience among American conservatives, as it prepares to launch a news platform called Rightly. The digital venture pairs the Arab company with political commentators such as Stephen Kent, who will host an interview-based show on the platform.

"Onward and upward," tweeted Yaser Bishr, digital executive director for Al Jazeera Media Network, as he shared a story about the launch.

Kent's show will debut on Thursday, according to Politico, which first reported on Al Jazeera's new venture. The outlet's goal, Politico's Playbook states, is to lure "center-right folks who feel left out of mainstream media." Rightly's editor-in-chief will reportedly be Scott Norvell, a veteran of Fox News.

In an email to NPR, Kent said he wants his show, called Right Now, to host discussions about how ideas such as classical liberalism can fit into today's political environment. It will not be, he said, yet another arena for fights between Democrats and Republicans – or even between old-school Republicans and supporters of former President Donald Trump.

"This show is a forum about the fight within the right over its commitment to liberalism, the ethic of accommodation, and openness," Kent said. "That tradition is under attack on the left and right. But I can't settle the left's increasingly complicated relationship with liberalism. So my focus will be on the right and building the case over time for why the liberal tradition is worth defending."

As he shared news of the pending launch on Twitter, Kent said Rightly's editorial tone would be, "Somewhere between Dispatch, Reason and...Persuasion."

The push to launch a new platform in the U.S. comes five years after Al Jazeera shut down its ambitious Al Jazeera America cable news channel. The network's international English-language channel remains available in the U.S., as does its digital and video outlet, AJ+.

Less than a week ago, Al Jazeera announced another new venture called Reyada, an Arabic-language business platform that will license content from The New York Times.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.