When Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based cable news giant rolled out its massive new American affiliate one year ago, creating a full-force 24-hour cable news channel—800 journalists, several studios, support staff, the works— in a move that drew cheers, skepticism, but mostly puzzlement: why?

Another cable news channel? Aren’t there too many already? Al Jazeera America’s CEO, Ehab Al Shihabi, an Al Jazeera veteran, has a ready answer.

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