That's good news for the American brand that has been struggling in the ratings.
"When Al Jazeera America first debuted and was getting very weak ratings, my sense was that they needed a story they could own, that people would have to come to them for," says Philip Seib, author of "The Al Jazeera Effect" and journalism professor at the University of Southern California. "Maybe this is going to be it."
The Al Jazeera packages typically include three correspondents on the ground — two in Gaza and one in Israel each filing a report. Al Jazeera America's Nick Schifrin and Stephanie Dekker, whose Al Jazeera English reports also air on Al Jazeera America, have been at ground zero in Gaza.
Their reports are followed by Gaza-related pieces, like a roundup last Sunday of protests against the incursion in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., London and Paris.
I saw none of the demonstrations elsewhere on any cable channel or network.
And those reports were regularly followed by discussions with an anchor interviewing Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. spokespeople.
Not that Al Jazeera is alone in showing the carnage — far from it.
NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin has been filing superb reports since the start of the month, when the bodies of three Israeli teens who had been abducted were found, and that discovery was followed by a Palestinian teen being burned alive, apparently in retaliation. Moyheldin's coverage this past week of four Palestinian teens being killed by Israeli artillery fire while playing soccer on a beach was heart-rending.
"That's the story that tipped the balance," Seib said. "It was so moving, and journalists were right there to report it rather than recounting it third-hand after the fact."
CNN's Ben Wedeman has done outstanding work as well. As Israel stepped up artillery and air strikes, Wedeman filed a report in which he followed a Palestinian family of five trying to flee a neighborhood in Gaza City that had been served notice by the Israel Defense Forces that it was about to destroyed.
The CNN camera caught the panic and horror in the faces of two little girls as the first artillery shell rocked the ground on which they stood. The look on one girl's face and the shriek of terror from her little sister at the sound of the explosion spoke volumes about the kind of emotional and psychological damage being inflicted on another generation.
And now comes Richard Engel, NBC's chief foreign correspondent, who on Wednesday filed as powerful a report as I have seen in the past two weeks. It featured him riding in Palestinian ambulances that were hopelessly trying to keep up with the injured and dying.
Graphic footage from the report included that of a 24-year-old Palestinian woman buried alive under the debris of a building. She looked like a corpse, with only her grime-encrusted head showing above the dust and dirt. Then her eyes opened slightly and lips moved — followed by a hand rising from the rubble.
Richard Vatz, a Towson University communications professor, sees such reporting as representative of a major shift in coverage — but he doesn't approve.
"The change has been a coverage agenda that in the case of NBC eliminates in some cases and utterly limits in others the provocations of Hamas," Vatz says in an email to The Sun. "But almost all networks focus primarily if not exclusively on the death and destruction in Gaza to Palestinians. This should be covered, but I do not recall such elimination in the past of a war's casus belli — in this case, the murders and the rocket attacks."
Israel's point of view is not being excluded anywhere on TV — Al Jazeera American included — based on my viewing. The Israeli claim that Hamas uses civilians as human shields has been sounded on every channel.
The "Telegenically Dead Palestinians" quote in New York Magazine, for example, comes from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying on CNN last Sunday, "All civilian casualties are unintended by us, but intended by Hamas. They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can … it's gruesome. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead the better."
But such words can no longer compete with the images of Palestinian suffering in driving the dominant narrative.
The images are so affecting, in fact, that the words of Israeli officials are often thrown back at them in a mocking fashion as the New York Magazine headline did. Or, as Secretary of State John Kerry did when caught on a hot mic between tapings of Sunday morning talk shows last week saying, "hell of a 'pinpoint operation,'" to mimic Netanyahu's description of the incursion.
In the past two weeks, three media workers and journalists have been injured, while two were killed by Israeli air strikes, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Last Wednesday, the Foreign Press Association issued a statement strongly condemning "deliberate official and unofficial incitement against journalists working to cover the current warfare" in Gaza.
Shooting the messenger is never the road to better coverage.