Al Gore Defends Sale Of Current TV To Al Jazeera On ‘Today’
During a Jan. 29 appearance on “Today,” former vice-president Al Gore faced some unexpected criticism from host Matt Lauer. Gore had appeared on “Today” to discuss his new book, “The Future,” but ended up fielding Lauer’s questions regarding the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera America earlier this month.
Noting Gore’s own criticism of American television networks funding from oil, coal and gas companies, Lauer asked if the sale of Gore’s own network to a network funded almost entirely by oil reserves wasn’t somehow hypocritical.
And yet even as you sold to Al Jazeera, you in the book blast other television news programs saying this,” Lauer said. “Virtually every news and political commentary program is sponsored in part by oil, coal and gas companies. Not just during campaign seasons but all the time year in and year out with messages designed to soothe and reassure the audience that everything is fine, the global environment is not threatened.
And the critics jumped. And they said, here’s the guy who just sold Current TV to Al Jazeera which gets an undetermined amount of funding from the country of Qatar which gets its money from oil reserves. Isn’t there a contradiction in that”
Gore, who personally profited a reported $100 million from the $500 million sale of Current TV, defended his decision, however, explaining that for all the promise Current TV held, it was unable to compete in an age of media conglomerates.
I think Al Jazeera has, obviously, long since established itself as a really distinguished and effective news gathering organization,” Gore said. “And by the way, its climate coverage has been far more extensive and high-quality.”
Lauer continued to challenge Gore’s position, however, emphasizing the hypocrisy of Gore—a huge opponent of fossil fuels and climate change—selling his independent network to a country that bases its wealth on fossil fuels—the enemy Gore targets in climate change.
Well, I get the criticism,” Gore said. “I just disagree with it, because this network has established itself. It’s objective, it’s won major awards in countries around the world and its climate coverage, as I said a moment ago, has been outstanding and extensive.”
Does Lauer have a point? Is Al Gore a hypocrite? Was Current TV never more than an investment opportunity for the business-savvy Gore? Watch the clip and decide for yourself.