Now that Al Gore has sold his low-rated cable network for a tidy sum to Qatar-based Al Jazeera, the real battle begins for the new owners to keep the cable and satellite operators in the fold. According to Reuters, that won’t be an easy feat.
Time Warner Cable has already terminated its contract with Current, citing in part the ownership change clause in their contract and took 12 million subscribers with them, a significant chunk of Current’s household reach.
Now, according to Reuters, other operators “plan to re-evaluate their agreements once they expire.” They added that “No one wanted to carry Current TV and they want to carry an Al Jazeera channel even less.”
That’s due in part to the low subscriber fees that the operators are locked into, and the fact that Current’s ratings barely had a pulse with an average nightly audience of just 42,000 viewers, not to mention the propaganda-laden programming the new network will feature.
Gore was trying to get the deal done by December 31 to avoid paying the new higher Obama taxes on the wealthy. According to The New York Times’ Brian Stelter, Gore had approached several cable operators to politely remind them that both Current and Al Jazeera are news organizations and that dropping Current might lead to questions of prejudice.
What’s prejudicial is Gore’s refusal to consider selling the network to Glenn Beck for ideological reasons. Sounds like when the Washington Post Co.’s Donald Graham spurned an offer, on the same grounds, from the conservative Newsmax magazine to purchase Newsweek. And we know what happened to Newsweek.
Gore, who is a hero to the left for his global warming crusade, has now shown himself to be the ultimate hypocrite. With his sale to Al Jazeera, and the timing of the sale, he has attempted to not only try and avoid a higher tax hit—after publicly stating that the rich need to “do their fair share”—but he is also selling to the ultimate symbol of evil for environmentalists, Big Oil.
Without Gore’s influence—he will stay on as an adviser, but won’t take an active role in negotiations—Al Jazeera will face an uphill battle to hold on to what little audience Current has, and may find that they have bought a network for its distribution, without any long-term commitments.