What a difference a New Year can make! Current TV, which was co-founded by Vice President Al Gore in 2005, announced yesterday (January 2, 2013) that it's being bought by Al Jazeera. The purchase price was not disclosed but cable industry "experts" value the deal somewhere between 400M and 500M USD. Gore, who retains a 20% interest, stands to make between 80M and 100M USD for the channel's purchase. Interestingly, Al Jazeera intends to dismantle the existing Current TV's programming (buh-bye "Young Turks") and replace it with a mostly news lineup entitled as "Al Jazeera America."Unfortunately, the "All Al" isn't in the running of possible channel names.
Al Jazeera is owned by the state of Qatar. Literally, the channel's initial funding in 1996 was provided by oil revenue collected by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa. Since then, the channel's operating budget has remained largely dependent upon state investment with a minority of revenue coming from advertisements and media licensing.
While there's nothing necessarily wrong with such a funding
source, even a casual observer to acquisition must pause at the irony of Gore,
a self-proclaimed global warming activist and Nobel laureate for the same,
selling his investment to a BIG oil entity -- the Qatari government. In selling out as he seemingly has, Gore has
become THE prima facie hypocrite of not only failing to live a pro-AGW
lifestyle but also diminishing media independence from "mainstream media"
"The truth about global warming is especially inconvenient and unwelcome to some powerful people and companies making enormous sums of money from activities they know full well will have to change in order to ensure the planet's livability," ("An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It ", p. 284).
"Part of the problem with climate change has to do with a long-term structural change in the way America's marketplace of ideas now operates. The one-way nature of our dominant communications medium, television, has combined with the increasing concentration of ownership -- the vast majority of media outlets are owned by a smaller and smaller number of large conglomerates that mix entertainment values with journalism--to seriously damage the role of objectivity in America's public forum," ("An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It", p. 286).