Former vice president Al Gore appeared at the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas on Saturday to promote his new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, but wound up trying to defend the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera.
Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal was moderating the session and asked Gore about what appears to be a hypocritical move:
Mossberg: You just sold your TV network to Al Jazeera, which is owned by a government. And that government is basically an oil producer. And they’re producing exactly the kind of fuel that you say is a terrible danger for the planet. How could you do that?
Gore: Okay. I knew when I made that decision with my partners… I had obligations to my investors, but that didn’t drive the decision… I knew that my principle obligation was to do business in a way that makes the world a better place.
Gore continued, “I thought it was the most disruptive move on the chess board. You have heard me be very critical of American television journalism. I think that the addition of a very high quality, 24/7, honest-to-goodness news channel that covers international news as well as national, that covers climate, that covers poverty, that covers issues that are ignored today, has the potential to be disruptive in a creative and positive way, and raise the game for television journalism here in the United States of America.”
Gore wants to play the do-gooder card, but the fact remains that Current TV was a financially troubled network with low ratings, and Gore compromised his supposed principles in exchange for a hefty payout. Period, end of story.