By now you’ve all heard how Al Gore sold his Current TV network to Al Jazeera, the Arab news network owned by the oil-rich Qataris, and is walking away with a cool $100 million. The global warming profiteer and champion of “tax the rich” class warfare tried to ram the sale through before the Obama tax hikes hit, but I guess the arm twisting took a little longer than he had hoped. See, although his network was already piped into millions of homes, nobody watched it, and Al Jazeera programming is already available online. Why would cable providers approve such a deal? Well, they didn’t want to be accused of anti-Muslim bigotry.
Al Gore’s Current TV was never popular with viewers, but it was a hit where it counted: with cable and satellite providers. When he co-founded the channel in 2005, Mr. Gore managed to get the channel piped into tens of millions of households — a huge number for an untested network — through a combination of personal lobbying and arm-twisting of industry giants.
He called on those skills again after deciding in December to sell Current TV to Al Jazeera for $500 million. To preserve the deal — and the estimated $100 million he would personally receive — he went to some of those same distributors, who were looking for an excuse to drop the low-rated channel, and reminded them that their contracts with Current TV called it a news channel. Were the distributors going to say that an American version of Al Jazeera didn’t qualify, possibly invoking ugly stereotypes of the Middle Eastern news giant?
“The lawyers for the carriers couldn’t find their way around it,” said a person briefed on the negotiations who described them on condition of anonymity.
Read the whole thing. Gore is a hypocrite on so many levels it’s mind blowing. But what does he care? He’s pretty much a nobody these days, although a much wealthier nobody than he was a few days ago.
Oh, and Time Warner Cable had decided to drop Current TV/Al Jazeera from it’s lineup (our provider is Time Warner and I didn’t even know we had Current TV) but is now under fire from the left, so we shall see what happens there.