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Los Angeles - Al-Jazeera Buys Current TV From Al Gore

Published on: January 2, 2013 10:01 PM
By: AP
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(AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)(AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)

Los Angeles - Al-Jazeera, the Pan-Arab news channel that struggled to win space on American cable television, has acquired Current TV, boosting its reach nearly ninefold to about 40 million homes. With a focus on U.S. news, it plans to rebrand the left-leaning news network that cofounder Al Gore couldn’t make relevant.

The former vice president confirmed the sale Wednesday, saying in a statement that Al-Jazeera shares Current TV’s mission “to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.”

The acquisition lifts Al-Jazeera’s reach beyond a few large U.S. metropolitan areas including New York and Washington, where about 4.7 million homes can now watch Al-Jazeera English.

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Al-Jazeera, owned by the government of Qatar, plans to gradually transform Current into a new channel called Al-Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists.

Al-Jazeera spokesman Stan Collender said there are no rules against foreign ownership of a cable channel — unlike the strict rules limiting foreign ownership of free-to-air TV stations. He said the move is based on demand, adding that 40 percent of viewing traffic on Al-Jazeera English’s website is from the U.S.

“This is a pure business decision based on recognized demand,” Collender said. “When people watch Al-Jazeera, they tend to like it a great deal.”

Al-Jazeera has long struggled to get carriage in the U.S., and the deal suffered an immediate casualty as Time Warner Cable Inc., the nation’s second-largest cable TV operator, announced it is dropping Current TV due to the deal.

“Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service. We are removing the service as quickly as possible,” the company said in a statement.

Previous to Al-Jazeera’s purchase, Current TV was in 60 million homes.

In 2010, the network’s managing director, Tony Burman, blamed a “very aggressive hostility” from the Bush administration for reluctance among cable and satellite companies to show the network.

Even so, Al-Jazeera has garnered respect for its ability to build a serious news product in a short time. But there may be a culture clash at the network. Dave Marash, a former “Nightline” reporter who worked for Al-Jazeera in Washington, said he left the network in 2008 in part because he sensed an anti-American bias there.

Current, meanwhile, began as a groundbreaking effort to promote user-generated content. But it has settled into a more conventional format of political talk television with a liberal bent. Gore worked on-air as an analyst during its recent election night coverage.

Former New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Cenk Uygur are currently its lead personalities. Current signed Keith Olbermann to be its top host in 2011 but his tenure lasted less than a year before it ended in bad blood on both sides.

Current has largely been outflanked by MSNBC in its effort be a liberal alternative to the leading cable news network, Fox News Channel.

Current hired former CNN Washington bureau chief David Bohrman in 2011 to be its president. Bohrman has pushed the network to innovate technologically, with an election night coverage that emphasized social media conversation.

Current TV, founded in 2005 by former vice president Gore and Joel Hyatt, is expected to post $114 million in revenue in 2013, according to research firm SNL Kagan. The firm pegged the network’s cash flow at nearly $24 million a year.


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Read Comments (24)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 02, 2013 at 10:21 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

It ought to be a scandal that Al-Jazeera is not on any US cable service. (Please correct me if I am wrong.) This is corporate censorship. But Al-Jazeera in English is of little importance.

But, the important thing about Al-Jazeera is not that is covers stories you or I may not like. The important thing is it covers stories the local dictators do not like. If the price of embarrassing Bahrain is some stories about Gaza, I am more than willing to make the trade.

2

 Jan 02, 2013 at 10:56 PM Goldberg Says:

Great 2 Al's that are perfect for each other. Bunch of cooks.

3

 Jan 02, 2013 at 11:00 PM sasregener Says:

Welcome our muslim cousins. May the anti u.s and pro arab propoganda begin

4

 Jan 02, 2013 at 11:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Al-Jazeera may be biased in it's reporting, but supplies a balance. When trying to figure out the news, you can't just look at one source from one side.
Arutz-7 is heavily pro right wing.
Haaretz is heavily pro left wing, but doesn't serve as a good counter balance, because of its willingness to be so blatantly dishonest. Al-Jazeera isn't as blatantly dishonest and can serve as counter balance to Arutz-7.
J'Post is more down the center.
Ynet in Hebrew is also far left, but its English web site isn't so radical.

Don't look at any article in any news media that quotes the AP. Those articles are written by native Arabs who write what they want you to hear. Truth? What's that? The same applies to Reuters and UPI.

Bottom line: Al-Jazeera does serve a purpose; just remember to look at other sources as well.

5

 Jan 02, 2013 at 11:20 PM Doc Says:

Sounds like a good marriage. They don't even have to change their news coverage bias- just anti-America, anti-Jews, anti-capitalism, anti- individual freedom, etc...

6

 Jan 02, 2013 at 11:49 PM I_Am_Me Says:

I think it's horrible that an ex vp would link up with people who are so anti-American (let alone what they feel for Jews). I can almost see the writing in the wall regarding the Quran, the Arabs & "the infadels". Side note: I'm shocked at how half If you guys here are pro this insanity

7

 Jan 02, 2013 at 11:50 PM esther Says:

Reply to #1  
PaulinSaudi Says:

It ought to be a scandal that Al-Jazeera is not on any US cable service. (Please correct me if I am wrong.) This is corporate censorship. But Al-Jazeera in English is of little importance.

But, the important thing about Al-Jazeera is not that is covers stories you or I may not like. The important thing is it covers stories the local dictators do not like. If the price of embarrassing Bahrain is some stories about Gaza, I am more than willing to make the trade.

that's great;you're willing to make the trade but have you given any thought as to how it effects the yidden in ey?

8

 Jan 02, 2013 at 11:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

Al-Jazeera may be biased in it's reporting, but supplies a balance. When trying to figure out the news, you can't just look at one source from one side.
Arutz-7 is heavily pro right wing.
Haaretz is heavily pro left wing, but doesn't serve as a good counter balance, because of its willingness to be so blatantly dishonest. Al-Jazeera isn't as blatantly dishonest and can serve as counter balance to Arutz-7.
J'Post is more down the center.
Ynet in Hebrew is also far left, but its English web site isn't so radical.

Don't look at any article in any news media that quotes the AP. Those articles are written by native Arabs who write what they want you to hear. Truth? What's that? The same applies to Reuters and UPI.

Bottom line: Al-Jazeera does serve a purpose; just remember to look at other sources as well.

so if it were'nt for al jazeera supplying balance we wouldn't hear the arab side of things? isn't that what the UN,european goverments and protestant churches are for to name a few.

9

 Jan 03, 2013 at 06:21 AM RobertS Says:

In addition to buying CurrentTV, al Jazeera bought Gore's endorsement. Network will now be know as al Gorezeera.

10

 Jan 03, 2013 at 06:32 AM DanielBarbaz Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

Al-Jazeera may be biased in it's reporting, but supplies a balance. When trying to figure out the news, you can't just look at one source from one side.
Arutz-7 is heavily pro right wing.
Haaretz is heavily pro left wing, but doesn't serve as a good counter balance, because of its willingness to be so blatantly dishonest. Al-Jazeera isn't as blatantly dishonest and can serve as counter balance to Arutz-7.
J'Post is more down the center.
Ynet in Hebrew is also far left, but its English web site isn't so radical.

Don't look at any article in any news media that quotes the AP. Those articles are written by native Arabs who write what they want you to hear. Truth? What's that? The same applies to Reuters and UPI.

Bottom line: Al-Jazeera does serve a purpose; just remember to look at other sources as well.

You are apparently an open-minded individual. May I respectfully suggest that for further balance why not also throw in the Protocols of Zion, news from local white supremacist newspapers, and Mein Kempf.

Unfortunately some people are so open-minded that their brains fall out.

11

 Jan 03, 2013 at 07:14 AM Lower_East_Sider Says:

Hopefully he won't sell them the internet.

12

 Jan 03, 2013 at 07:30 AM Reb Yid Says:

Reply to #1  
PaulinSaudi Says:

It ought to be a scandal that Al-Jazeera is not on any US cable service. (Please correct me if I am wrong.) This is corporate censorship. But Al-Jazeera in English is of little importance.

But, the important thing about Al-Jazeera is not that is covers stories you or I may not like. The important thing is it covers stories the local dictators do not like. If the price of embarrassing Bahrain is some stories about Gaza, I am more than willing to make the trade.

It's a free country, like it or not. I can censor what goes on in my house, or my business, or anything I own.

It may be worth it to you to tolerate lies about Israel in order to embarrass Bahrain, but not to most honest people.

13

 Jan 03, 2013 at 07:38 AM Butterfly Says:

To #4 Don't forget the BBC. Maybe it will balance them.

14

 Jan 03, 2013 at 07:41 AM SG11224 Says:

Reply to #1  
PaulinSaudi Says:

It ought to be a scandal that Al-Jazeera is not on any US cable service. (Please correct me if I am wrong.) This is corporate censorship. But Al-Jazeera in English is of little importance.

But, the important thing about Al-Jazeera is not that is covers stories you or I may not like. The important thing is it covers stories the local dictators do not like. If the price of embarrassing Bahrain is some stories about Gaza, I am more than willing to make the trade.

Channel 481 on Fios. They have some very interesting
viewpoints and news reports we would not otherwise see.
A Lot of public service stuff on Africa and S. America.

15

 Jan 03, 2013 at 08:40 AM AlbertEinstein Says:

Reply to #10  
DanielBarbaz Says:

You are apparently an open-minded individual. May I respectfully suggest that for further balance why not also throw in the Protocols of Zion, news from local white supremacist newspapers, and Mein Kempf.

Unfortunately some people are so open-minded that their brains fall out.

"some people are so open-minded that their brains fall out."

I am writing that one down. Thanks!!

16

 Jan 03, 2013 at 08:41 AM InsideOne Says:

Reply to #10  
DanielBarbaz Says:

You are apparently an open-minded individual. May I respectfully suggest that for further balance why not also throw in the Protocols of Zion, news from local white supremacist newspapers, and Mein Kempf.

Unfortunately some people are so open-minded that their brains fall out.

"Some people are so open-minded that their brains fall out"

The person that invented that meaningless slogan has unfortunately succeeded in tightly shutting the minds of many in the frum community. Open-minded means what it says - keeping an open mind to other points of view, recognizing that there is value outside of our own personal experience.

Instead of using that stupid line, turn to a much older one (and one that is actually true!): "Chochma baGoyim, Ta'amin."

17

 Jan 03, 2013 at 08:45 AM PaulinSaudi Says:

Reply to #12  
Reb Yid Says:

It's a free country, like it or not. I can censor what goes on in my house, or my business, or anything I own.

It may be worth it to you to tolerate lies about Israel in order to embarrass Bahrain, but not to most honest people.

If a person has a license to provide TV to an American city he really ought not to be in a position of selecting which viewpoints he wants to allow. (By the way, don't you really dislike your cable provider? We all do. Would you want people like that to have any sort of authority at all? But I rant.)

I did not say I was willing to tolerate lies. Kindly do not put words in my mouth. An outlet that reports good news only about Israel will not be credible when it reports bad news about Arab dictators.

18

 Jan 03, 2013 at 08:50 AM Cable Viewer Says:

In 2011, while visiting a relative in upstate New York, I happened to be scanning the available programming from their cable tv provider. I noticed that Al-Jazeera was included in the programming. When I brought this to the attention of my relative, he was very surprised, as he didn't realize that particular station was included in his cable package. Incidentally, Al-Jazeera is not the only cable station with an anti-American bias. There are some commentators on CCTV, which is the Chinese cable news station (broadcast in English from Beijing), as well as RT (the Russian station broadcast in English from Moscow), whom also have a distinct anti-American bias. However, in spite of the latter, there is some very good international news programming from both CCTV and RT, which in some cases is just as good, if not better than Fox and CNN. Incidentally, RT news will show the weather in EY. However, CCTV conveniently excludes EY from its weather forecasts, although it shows plenty of Arab capitals, in its weather news. Both CCTV and RT news also have correspondents in EY.

19

 Jan 03, 2013 at 09:57 AM DanielBarbaz Says:

Should we read ALL view points with an open mind, even those that spew obvious lies and hatred? Joseph Goebels, yemach shemo v'zichro wrote, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.

Thanks to Al Gore there will now be another voice of anti-Semitic rhetoric in the media.

Sure it is good to Be open minded, but not to the point where your brains falls out.

20

 Jan 03, 2013 at 10:20 AM Anonymous Says:

Since none of us have television of what importance is this?

21

 Jan 03, 2013 at 10:20 AM esther Says:

Reply to #18  
Cable Viewer Says:

In 2011, while visiting a relative in upstate New York, I happened to be scanning the available programming from their cable tv provider. I noticed that Al-Jazeera was included in the programming. When I brought this to the attention of my relative, he was very surprised, as he didn't realize that particular station was included in his cable package. Incidentally, Al-Jazeera is not the only cable station with an anti-American bias. There are some commentators on CCTV, which is the Chinese cable news station (broadcast in English from Beijing), as well as RT (the Russian station broadcast in English from Moscow), whom also have a distinct anti-American bias. However, in spite of the latter, there is some very good international news programming from both CCTV and RT, which in some cases is just as good, if not better than Fox and CNN. Incidentally, RT news will show the weather in EY. However, CCTV conveniently excludes EY from its weather forecasts, although it shows plenty of Arab capitals, in its weather news. Both CCTV and RT news also have correspondents in EY.

if their news on ey is so biased how can you trust any of their news stories? that's why i stopped reading newsweek and watching most of network news programming years ago.if their against ey come to find out they're generally slanted left in this country.

22

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
I_Am_Me Says:

I think it's horrible that an ex vp would link up with people who are so anti-American (let alone what they feel for Jews). I can almost see the writing in the wall regarding the Quran, the Arabs & "the infadels". Side note: I'm shocked at how half If you guys here are pro this insanity

Glad he wasn't elected to be president can't say they same about obama he got elected

23

 Jan 03, 2013 at 12:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
I_Am_Me Says:

I think it's horrible that an ex vp would link up with people who are so anti-American (let alone what they feel for Jews). I can almost see the writing in the wall regarding the Quran, the Arabs & "the infadels". Side note: I'm shocked at how half If you guys here are pro this insanity

What about the leftist bias news such as the BBC, MSNBC, CBS, and CNN. They are also bias. MSNBC never has a good conservative thing to say. It was the official spokes person for obama. Just more of the same stuff

24

 Jan 03, 2013 at 11:27 PM Mark Levin Says:

Boy I am sure glad AlGore got this deal done late Monday the 31st. Too bad he was in a rush to do the deal with the Arabs just to he could pay evil Bush Era Tax Rates on the income as opposed to the much higher ObamaMania tax rate.

25

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