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Glenn Halbrooks

Al Gore Finds Outrage, Wealth in the Sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera

By January 9, 2013

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Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has some new competition when it comes to turning television into riches. Former Vice President Al Gore is selling his Current TV cable channel to Al Jazeera for a half-billion dollars.

A photo of a person walking past the Current TV headquarters in San Francisco, California
Current TV workers aren't the only ones raising questions about the cable TV channel's sale to a Middle Eastern broadcaster.
Photo © Getty Images
Some reporters are quick to point out that the sale makes Gore richer than Mitt Romney. But besides the cash, Gore is finding much criticism.

Current TV workers are outraged, not just because their liberal-leaning brand will be gone. They're mad that Gore, who has championed environmental causes, has profited by a sellout to Al Jazeera, which is backed by the government of oil-rich Qatar.

But this is more than just a business deal. It's raising eyebrows about foreign policy. Several years ago, Israel boycotted Al Jazeera over its political views. Even though Al Jazeera's English-language channel has already been in the U.S. on a very limited basis, its Middle Eastern viewpoint of the world hasn't been available in many cable TV households. This deal could open up huge distribution possibilities as Al Jazeera hopes to get the cable TV space Current TV currently occupies.

Now cable TV operators will have to decide whether to include the channel in their lineups. Already, Time Warner Cable, a major cable system owner, has pulled Current TV after the sale was announced. It's being accused of political cowardness, but says the decision was based on Current TV's low ratings and says it'll keep an open mind about Al Jazeera.

Media pundits say the sale just doesn't seem right. CNN has an interesting opinion piece that explains the background of Al Jazeera and its English-language companion channel.

Just like with Murdoch, Gore's business deals are under fire. Do you think U.S. viewers should have access to this channel?

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