RAW DATA: PBS Defends Partnership With Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera English is one of many partners Worldfocus uses to help provide American viewers with a unique perspective on international news. Among the others are Channel 10 of Israel, ITN of Britain, Deutsche Welle of Germany, TV Globo of Brazil, Africa 24, ABC of Australia, Link TV (which is an aggregator of Middle Eastern news channels), the new website Globalpost, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, ABC and NBC. We also occasionally interview reporters from the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

We typically pay our most regular contributors but not occasional partners. We do not pay Al Jazeera English and we have not used packages from the Arabic-language Al Jazeera network.

With all contributions from our partners, including Al Jazeera English, we reserve the right to edit content -- and we often do.

Though many people who have not seen Al Jazeera English think of it as a propaganda machine for Islamic extremist causes, much of what it produces is not ideological and much is not even from that part of the world. Certainly, the vast majority of what Worldfocus has aired from AJE has not been ideological at all. Among the pieces we have taken from Al Jazeera this month are features about Tibetan monks living under Chinese rule, the opening of the Syrian stock market, elections in El Salvador, a dispute in Malaysia about what language should be used to teach science and math, Italians no longer visiting their once-favorite vacation destination in Kenya because of the global recession, and the opening of the "killing fields" genocide trials in Cambodia. Some of these reports come from former American television network correspondents and producers.

We also believe Al Jazeera English does sometimes offer us and our viewers a unique perspective from various parts of the world where it has access that others don't. During the war in Gaza, we frequently aired reports from Gaza from AJE. We typically paired those reports with reports from our Israeli partner, Channel 10. With that approach, we saw both sides at once.

We have also taken a number of spots from Al Jazeera English from Afghanistan, where it has interviewed Islamic militants, and from Pakistan, particularly from the Swat Valley, where the Taliban recently took control from the pro-Western government. We believe there is value in seeing what is going on around the world, even if the news is bad.

Ignoring bad news does not make it go away.