The Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera is an important contributor to the political landscape of the United States, according to the media critic for The Baltimore Sun.

"We have had a narrowing of the conversation about democracy, especially on television," David Zurawik said Sunday on CNN. "Throughout the media, we've become sort of identified with corporate interests and with the powers that be. I think part of that is the economic crunch we have all gone through. Al Jazeera in general is oriented towards what is called global south, which is people south of the equator -- people who have been the victims of colonization."

"You know, in the Middle East, we say Al Jazeera is much more in touch with the street," he continued. "Well, there's a street in America, too, that a lot of television, a lot of network, a lot of cable is not in touch with. And in their first week, their first night, I saw them. They did a story on a woman who makes coats for homeless people. You know, in America, we drive right by the homeless. Driving in Washington today, how do the congressmen, how does the president drive down this street and not see what I see today? Al Jazeera sees it."

The Al Jazeera America cable channel went live on Tuesday.

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below: