As you probably have heard, al Jazeera is buying Al Gore’s Current TV for, apparently, several hundred million dollars. Al Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar, which has a great deal of money, and Al Gore likes money. A lot. That affinity is more than enough to explain the deal, but there is more, as the Wall Street Journal reports:
The deal comes several months after Messrs. Gore and Hyatt, the two largest owners of Current TV, put the channel on the market.
Mr. Hyatt said they agreed to sell to al-Jazeera in part because “al-Jazeera was founded with the same goals we had for Current,” including “to give voice to those whose voices are not typically heard” and “to speak truth to power.”
Voices that are not typically heard? Like that of a former Vice-President of the United States and presidential nominee? Or a former MSNBC host whose voice is no longer heard only because he apparently is so obnoxious that he can’t hold a job? Actually, one of Current TV’s basic problems was that it lost out to MSNBC in the contest for left-wing viewers. Far from being “not typically heard,” Current TV’s “voices” are vapid echoes of the liberal culture that we hear all too much.
I can believe, nevertheless, that al Jazeera “was founded with the same goals we had for Current,” which strikes me as a rather remarkable admission. Current TV’s owners made it clear that they sold to al Jazeera because of what they saw as ideological kinship:
Other suitors who didn’t share Current’s ideology were rebuffed. Glenn Beck’s The Blaze approached Current about buying the channel last year, but was told 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,” according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
It is interesting that conservative Americans like Glenn Beck are anathema to the likes of Al Gore, whereas the rulers of Qatar, the world’s richest country, fit right in. Where, exactly, do Gore and Hyatt see ideological compatibility with al Jazeera? Do they think al Jazeera America will promote gay marriage? Or women’s rights? Or is it the fact that al Jazeera is owned by a monarchy that assures it will be “aligned with [Gore and Hyatt’s] point of view?” Perhaps so.
But I can see only a few areas where al Jazeera’s ideology dovetails with that of the American left. Like domestic leftists, al Jazeera is anti-American. It is also, of course, anti-Israel. So those are two big pluses. Then there is the matter of the environment. Environmentalism is not only close to Al Gore’s heart, it is the principal source of his vast wealth. So, is al Jazeera “green?” One wouldn’t think so. Qatar’s only industry is the production of oil and gas, and the average Qatari accounts for more CO2 emitted into the atmosphere than anyone else on Earth, by a wide margin. But, like the other oil-producing Gulf states, Qatar has an interest in suppressing production of American oil and gas. So we shouldn’t be surprised to see pseudo-environmentalist propaganda on al Jazeera America, the real point of which is to keep the U.S. buying oil from countries like Qatar instead of drilling for our own. Such programming would no doubt make Gore happy.
In this respect, one is reminded of the United Arab Emirates’ financial investment in “Promised Land,” the anti-fracking Hollywood movie. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the Emirates would like to suppress fracking, and if you want to produce good propaganda, Hollywood is the place to go. Probably nothing on al Jazeera America will be quite that slick, but don’t be surprised if the network turns out to be just as “green” as was Current TV.
PAUL ADDS: The phrase “speaking truth to power” is among the most mindless employed by the left. I would Hyatt to identify the “truths” he believes al-Jazeera is speaking. And while he’s at it, perhaps he can explain why he believes that al-Jazeera, owned by the extraordinarily wealthy state of Qatar, does not itself represent “power.”