Al Gore’s syndicate is selling the Current TV Network to Al Jazeera, the Qatar-owned news network, for something like $500 million. Glenn Beck had earlier tried to buy Current TV but he was turned down with the stated reason being that Current TV wanted to sell to someone that shared their views and Beck didn’t. However it seems that Qatar does have the same views. This is difficult to get your mind around. Gore has made a fortune bashing anyone associated with crude oil and the products from crude like gasoline (petrol) thus fossil fuel-financed Al Jazeera would seem an unlikely candidate. One can only conclude that if Gore has to decide between money and principal, money wins. Gore is reported to get $100 million from this sale.
A little background. Current TV was founded in 2005. Current TV has been a ratings disaster. It had access to some 40 million households via contracts with companies like Time-Warner Cable but its programing was so dismal that it has been said that total daily views were in the 50,000 range. Time-Waner Cable cancelled their association with Current TV following the announcement of the sale to Al Jazeera.
We know how Gore feels about fossil fuels, but how does Al Jazeera match up with Gore’s liberal views that would not let him sell to conservative Glenn Beck. USA Today reports that some people are skeptical about this being a good thing. The following are excepts from their report which can be read in its entirety by clicking here.
Media watchers in the Middle East say the Arabic news network Al Jazeera is well known for promoting radical Islamist causes overseas, but it remains to be seen how it will present the news on its newly purchased U.S. cable channel.
Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli research institute that studies Palestinian society and the Arab world through their media and educational materials, said there is “a big difference” between Al Jazeera’s Arabic programming and its international English-language broadcasts.
“The Arab broadcasts very often promote a very radical Islamist approach,” said Marcus.
“What’s brilliant,” Marcus said, is the way the company “binds this in with all the latest technology and even occasionally interviews with differing opinions, including Israeli leaders.” This creates a “perception” of balanced reporting, Marcus said, “but in fact, the overall underlying agenda is very radical.”
Daoud Kuttab, the Jordan-based director of the Community Media Network, a Middle East media group, said Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language programming “is very different” from its English counterpart.
Al Jazeera was begun in 1996 and owned by the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, an Arab monarch who has offered support to Hamas, the U.S.-designated terrorist group in Gaza, and presides over an authoritarian regime.
Freedom House, a U.S.-based group that monitors repression worldwide, has given Qatar its lowest rating of “Not Free.” Homosexuality is a crime in Qatar, journalists are sometimes jailed and non-Muslims are discriminated against.
The news media watchdog Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America or CAMERA, which frequently takes U.S. outlets to task over errors in reporting on Israel, says the network has been assailed for bias even in the Middle East.
In 2004, interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi temporarily shut down Al Jazeera’s broadcast in Iraq because he said it was inciting violence and racial hatred. In 2008, former ABC-TV Nightline reporter Dave Marash, brought on to anchor Al Jazeera English for American audiences, quit after two years and said the anti-American bias at the station was “reflexive.”
The agreement by Al Jazeera cable television network to buy Current TV is not necessarily a plus for U.S. cable operators or their audiences,” said Andrea Levin, president and executive director of CAMERA. Al Jazeera Arabic “is not the Middle East equivalent of CNN, as it is often but mistakenly described,” Levin said.
CAMERA says one of the network’s most popular programs is Shariah and Life, hosted by Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a former “spiritual guide” of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Qaradawi has called for conversion of Europe and North America to Islam and a Muslim-led genocide of Israel and the Jews, Levin said.
Al Gore is an opportunist. His stardom in the green movement came about from the movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” despite the fact that it is full of half truths and deceptions. He has recently said he made a mistake backing the ethanol fuel initiative. When I heard this, I thought that perhaps he was finally getting it. But in view of this sale, I have to wonder if he was taken off the payroll by the ethanol producers and he got back at them by saying it was wrong to mandate ethanol into gasoline.