January 13, 2016

Al Jazeera America is giving up — 3 years after buying Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million.

It was supposed to be "thoughtful and smart," covering American news "soberly and seriously."

In prime time ratings, it struggled to get 30,000 viewers.

But Gore's Current TV — which itself had poor ratings — got $500 million, with $100 million going to Al Gore — a deal that sources said was rushed by a change in the tax law that was impending on January 1, 2013. Al Jazeera already had Al Jazeera English, but it wasn't able to get American cable and satellite distributors to accept it. Current TV offered access, and Al Gore "personally lobbied the distributors that carry Current on the importance of Al Jazeera," so that — in addition to the tax avoidance — seems to be why Al Jazeera paid $500 million.

43 comments:

lgv said...

They should have just bought The New Republic instead.

It was a dumb purchase. Well played, Al.

damikesc said...

BWA HA HA HA!

The US is just CLAMORING for some of that "honest" AJ reporting.

This killed AJ in the US and Al Gore as somebody anybody will take seriously ever again on any issue.

Alexander said...

Sometimes it's nice to just have a feel-good story like this one.

mccullough said...

Much like Robert Bork after the Senate voted him down for the Supreme Court, Al Gore, after losing the presidency, has done a lot to prove that the people made the right choice

rehajm said...

Well played, sex poodle.

Dan Hossley said...

Al Gore was paid $100 million, which he evidently spent on cheeseburgers.

Rusty said...

Suckers!

YoungHegelian said...

Gore could have sold his channel to Glenn Beck & his BlazeTV, who also tendered an offer. But, of course, Mr "Inconvenient Truth" Gore would rather sell to a petrodollar Arab state instead of a bunch of American conservatives.

The truth is, Al Jazeera, while big in the Arab world, was never going to translate well to the American market. I mean, jeez, even the freakin' BBC is a niche market in the US. The American news market is very culture specific.

Fernandinande said...

Dan Hossley said...
Al Gore was paid $100 million, which he evidently spent on cheeseburgers.


McD's had a weekend special: 100 million burgers for 100 million dollars.

chuck said...

> The American news market is very culture specific.

True, dat. That's why The Daily Mail is the best American newspaper.

Thorley Winston said...

$500 million for a station the garnered 30,000 viewers works out to about $16,666.66 per viewer.

jr565 said...

Al Jazeera paid 100 million? No wonder they are going out of business.
Al Gore meanwhile is laughing his way all the way to the bank. I'm sure he will buy many carbon offsets while he builds 5 more mansions.

Tarrou said...

You mean there wasn't a huge market for racists and violent homophobes to blame America for everything, in America? I'd have thought they could get 30k primetime viewers just in San Francisco.

FWIW, the only two people I know who watched Al Jazeera were ironically hard-right militia sorts rife with conspiracy theories. But they hate muslims, which always struck me as hilarious.

Carter Wood said...

We still have RT.

Skeptical Voter said...

Al Gore is as good a salesman as P.T. Barnum. The Al Jazeera sale was the second pig in a poke he's sold since 2000. And he's made a ton of dough off both of them. The first of course was Al's global warming scam. According to Al--my house, which is 1,200 feet above sea level-- should have been underwater a couple of years ago.

David said...

I guess I was one of the 30,000. Occasionally. It was an interesting network to watch. Less biased than MSNBC and with better talent. They tried to play it straight most of the time.

Gore is Exhibit A for the New Graft of legalized corruption. And a fool to boot.

wendybar said...

David said...
I guess I was one of the 30,000. Occasionally. It was an interesting network to watch. Less biased than MSNBC and with better talent.



EVERY channel is less biased than MSNBC!!!

Fabi said...

I read dozens of Al Jazeera stories online and found them to be both well written and with limited bias. The latter surprised me, but once I was convinced of their merit, I had no qualms about relying on them as a source.

J. Farmer said...

Reminds me of that dumb dressing down Jon Stewart gave to Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson on Crossfire about them "hurting America." Stewart foolishly thought that the American public wanted sober, thoughtful analysis of political issues. Uh, no they don't. They want yelling and hyperventilating. This is entertainment, folks.

Larry J said...

David said...
I guess I was one of the 30,000. Occasionally. It was an interesting network to watch. Less biased than MSNBC and with better talent. They tried to play it straight most of the time.


When I lived in Colorado, my neighbor across the street was an Air Force fighter pilot who pulled two combat tours in Iraq. One day, we were discussing news coverage of the war and he said that Al Jazeera was the most balanced of any of them. He said they did more to cover both sides of an issue than anyone else. That surprised me.

Rick said...

There was an exodus of top executives, along with a pair of lawsuits from former employees that included complaints about sexism and anti-Semitism at the news channel.

Who could have seen that coming? It is notable no employees complained about AJA being anti-American though, not one cared enough to complain about that? They all thought it appropriate? In that sense I think AJA did fit into the larger American / western media culture.

Rick said...

Tarrou said...
You mean there wasn't a huge market for racists and violent homophobes to blame America for everything, in America? I'd have thought they could get 30k primetime viewers just in San Francisco.


The problem isn't too little demand, it's too much supply. AJA was competing on this branding element with essentially every cable new network not named Fox.

AJ Lynch said...

Isn't that where Ali Velshi, the business reporter, ended up?

Paul Zrimsek said...

As Peyton Manning sings to the Nationwide jingle: "Serves 'em right, the fucking jerks."

R. Chatt said...

AJ - Balanced as long as you don't consider Israel a legitimate country or think very highly of the USA.

I noticed the NY Times ran the video of an AJ interview with Linda Sasour, the go-to Muslima for the media, talking about how unfair it is for people to equate Islamic terrorism with Islam. She asserts no one blames Christianity for the Westboro Baptist Church or the KKK, so why blame Islam for violent Muslims? The thing is that there is no jihad doctrine in Christianity or any major religion, except for Islam. Of course the issue is what is the meaning of "jihad?" (Of the 199 references to jihad in perhaps the most standard collection of hadith—Bukhari—all assume that jihad means warfare.[27]) 27. Muhammad ibn Isma'il Bukhari, The Translation of the Meaning of Sahih al-Bukhari, trans. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, 8 vols. (Medina: Dar al-Fikr: 1981), 4:34–204. Quoted in Streusand, Douglas E. (September 1997). "What Does Jihad Mean?". Middle East Quarterly: 9–17. In hadith collections, jihad means armed action; for example, the 199 references to jihad in the most standard collection of hadith, Sahih al-Bukhari, all assume that jihad means warfare. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jihad#cite_note-bukhari-27

John Tuffnell said...

Rock the casbah.

Release the chakra.

Cath said...

Is Al Jazeera paying Al Gore for a "cable network" anything like a company with business before Hilary's State Dept paying Bill for a "speech"? Who are the people behind Al Jazeera, I wonder?

traditionalguy said...

So that makes room for OAN network. That is the one that carries all of Trumps speeches live without interruption.

Crazy Jane said...

Hey, Al did all the heavy lifting. He muscled all the cable companies to include his Current network (and its 137 viewers) in their basic cable packages by threatening to sic the FCC on the non-including operators for bias. Or maybe the cable operators just really, really liked Al and wanted to give the poor guy a boost. Who knows?

Al Jazeera was willing for some reason to gamble that starting with broad cable penetration would lead to high Nielsen ratings. Maybe the AJ people were naive.

But Al? Al seen his opportunities and he took 'em.



narciso said...

these lovely folk:

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=129838&page=1

narciso said...

who employ this fellow, in a roundabout way

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/11156327/Al-Qaeda-terror-financier-worked-for-Qatari-government.html

Danno said...

Al Gore wanted to avoid the new 3.8% tax on capital gains, dividends and other unearned income that was passed to fund Obamacare and set to become effective on 1/1/2013. Just another prog hypocrite.

AprilApple said...

Al Gore parks him private 737 at the Jackson Hole airport, from time to time.

Skyler said...

The five hundred million dollars was a bribe, not a purchase.

David Begley said...

Gore sold at the top when the buyer was rich with $100 bbl oil.

If only he was as good as VP.

Gahrie said...

Reminds me of that dumb dressing down Jon Stewart gave to Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson on Crossfire about them "hurting America." Stewart foolishly thought that the American public wanted sober, thoughtful analysis of political issues.

Jon Stewart did more to hurt America, and disrupt the sober, thoughtful analysis of political issues than Crossfire, Begala or Tucker ever did.

William said...

They lost a good part of their audience when the Cool Clock Kid and his family moved to Qatar. Still, they should have held on. Canada is accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees. I would think the Muslim community is a growth market, but apparently they weren't even able to penetrate that market.......Gore was pretty shrewd. Who knew?

Kirk Parker said...

The turd in this fragrant punchbowl of schadenfreude is that Al Gore got a hundred million out of the deal.

Robert Cook said...

"We still have RT."

1/13/16, 3:40 PM

To the limited extent I've watched RT, it's better than any of our major television news providers.

Robert Cook said...

"I read dozens of Al Jazeera stories online and found them to be both well written and with limited bias. The latter surprised me, but once I was convinced of their merit, I had no qualms about relying on them as a source."

1/13/16, 4:12 PM

I read or watched Al Jazeera even fewer times than I've seen RT, but yes, it was also better than any of our broadcast news sources.

AllenS said...

Their name did them in. I never watched the station, and I don't watch the news from the MSM. Stations like ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, PMSNBC, LSDABC, CBSBSBS. Al Jazerra couldn't have been any worse than these.

damikesc said...

Jon Stewart did more to hurt America, and disrupt the sober, thoughtful analysis of political issues than Crossfire, Begala or Tucker ever did.

Indeed. Replacing information with mugging isn't helpful. Nor is preaching towards your audience of young imbeciles.

tim maguire said...

I get that there will be a lot of people cheering this on because it's Al Jazeera, but Al Jazeera English is hands down the BEST international news outlet out there and, ironically, one of the least anti-American. They over-paid for a questionable resource in Current TV and, by all indications, also over paid for questionable journalistic talent.

The American people suffer under a horrible news media and it's shame they weren't able to provide the quality broadcast that Al Jazeera English had me hoping they would.