Will it be the “All Al” channel now?
From NYT’s Media decoder
9:16 p.m. | Updated Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab news giant, has long tried to convince Americans that it is a legitimate news organization, not a parrot of Middle Eastern propaganda or something more sinister.
It just bought itself 40 million more chances to make its case.
Al Jazeera on Wednesday announced a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore, a former vice president, and his business partners seven years ago. Al Jazeera plans to shut Current and start an English-language channel, which will be available in more than 40 million homes, with newscasts emanating from both New York and Doha, Qatar.
For Al Jazeera, which is financed by the government of Qatar, the acquisition is a coming of age moment. A decade ago, Al Jazeera’s flagship Arabic-language channel was reviled by American politicians for showing videotapes from Al Qaeda members and sympathizers. Now the news operation is buying an American channel, having convinced Mr. Gore and the other owners of Current that it has the journalistic muscle and the money to compete head-to-head with CNN and other news channels in the United States.
Al Jazeera did not disclose the purchase price, but people with direct knowledge of the deal pegged it at around $500 million, indicating a $100 million payout for Mr. Gore, who owned 20 percent of Current.
Al Jazeera apparently has been looking for ways to sneak in for some time. Al Gore provided them the key.
In thinking of what I’d like to say to Mr. Gore about this, I’m reminded of House Speaker Boehner’s missive to Harry Reid making the news today.
There’s a silver lining though, next time Gore bloviates about climate skeptics “being in the pay of big oil”, we can hit him upside the head with his own pathetic hypocrisy.
As for cable TV subscribers, I’d say the best way to exercise your rights of protest is to not pay your bill, and/or disconnect. That will be my choice should it show up in my home.
UPDATES: (via Tom Graves in comments)
“Glenn Beck Tried to Buy Current TV But Was Rejected”
“Time Warner Cable Drops Al Gore’s Current TV Due To Purchase By Al Jazeera”