There are a few interesting aspects of this story. One is that Al Gore refused to sell Current TV to Glenn Beck, stating that “the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view.” I am really sorry to hear that Al Jazeera is more in line with Current TV than Glenn Beck’s The Blaze.
The Daily Caller reported that Al Gore had hoped to sell the station before the end of the year to avoid the new 2013 tax rates, but was unable to complete the sale until Wednesday.
The New York Times reports:
Distributors can sometimes wiggle out of their carriage deals when channels change hands. Most consented to the sale, but Time Warner Cable did not, Mr. Hyatt told employees.
Time Warner Cable had previously warned that it might drop Current because of its low ratings. It took advantage of a change-in-ownership clause and said in a terse statement Wednesday night, “We are removing the service as quickly as possible.”
The New York Times also reports:
For Al Jazeera, which is financed by the government of Qatar, the acquisition is a coming of age moment. A decade ago, Al Jazeera’s flagship Arabic-language channel was reviled by American politicians for showing videotapes from Al Qaeda members and sympathizers. Now the news operation is buying an American channel, having convinced Mr. Gore and the other owners of Current that it has the journalistic muscle and the money to compete head-to-head with CNN and other news channels in the United States.
America and the media market in America allow free speech. However, I do not see the attempted mainstreaming of Al Jazeera as a good thing. However, people are free to watch what they choose, and they are responsible for the decisions they make. If Al Jazeera plans to function as an unbiased news source, it will do well. If it is used primarily to dispense propaganda, the pressure of the marketplace will remove it from the market.