Gore says tough U.S. network competition forced sale of Current TV

Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:28pm IST

Related Topics

Stocks

   
Rajalakshmi (C), 28, smiles after winning the Miss Wheelchair India beauty pageant in Mumbai November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Miss Wheelchair India

Seven women from across India participated in the country's second wheelchair beauty pageant, which aims to open doors for the wheelchair-bound in modelling, film and television, according to organisers  Slideshow 

* Former vice president proud of channel, didn't see only as investment

* Gore touts Al Jazeera's climate coverage

* He praises Obama's pledge to address environment

By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Al Gore said on Tuesday that tough competition from major U.S. television networks forced him to sell Current TV, a struggling progressive cable channel, to Al Jazeera, and he praised the Arabic news broadcaster's coverage of climate change.

Gore, a former vice president who won a Nobel Peace Prize for raising awareness about the problems with climate change, said on NBC's "Today" show that he was proud of the channel and had never thought of it as simply a monetary investment.

"As an independent network ... we found it difficult to compete in this age of conglomerates," he said.

Earlier this month, Qatar-based Al Jazeera announced it was buying Current TV, a move that could enable it to better compete with American news networks like CNN, MSNBC and Fox.

Terms were undisclosed, but analysts estimated the deal could be worth as much as $500 million; Gore has reportedly pocketed roughly $100 million in the deal.

"I'm proud of what my partner Joel Hyatt and I did with Current TV," said Gore, who served under Democratic President Bill Clinton for eight years before losing his own bid for the presidency in 2000. He and Hyatt started the channel in 2005.

Al Jazeera operates under the patronage of the emir of Qatar and his family. The Middle East country tucked between Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf gets much of its wealth from oil and gas. The news network has said it planned a new U.S.-based news channel with the acquisition but has already struggled over distribution issues.

Gore has been criticized for selling the channel to a broadcaster that is partially funded by the Gulf oil state even as he champions efforts to battle global warming.

He has taken U.S. television networks to task, for instance, for accepting advertising dollars from traditional energy companies in his recently published book "The Future," according to NBC.

But on Tuesday he deflected the criticism, saying Al Jazeera is committed to strong coverage of climate change and the environment.

"By the way, it's climate coverage has been far more extensive and of high quality than any of the networks here," he said.

"Virtually every news and political commentary program on television is sponsored in part by oil, coal and gas companies - not just during the campaign seasons, but all the time, year in and year out - with messages designed to soothe and reassure the audience that everything is fine, the global environment is not threatened," Gore writes in the book, NBC said.

Scientists say emissions from cars and coal-fed power plants are partially to blame for the carbon dioxide warming the planet, but many conservatives challenge that idea and have raised doubts about global warming overall.

The 2006 documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth" that chronicled Gore's effort to raise awareness about global climate change won numerous awards, including an Academy Award.

Gore, who has said President Barack Obama's effort on global warming issues during his first term fell short, praised the president's call to action in his second inaugural address last week.

"He has now put his commitment out there ... he's put his presidency behind this issue," he said.

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Kashmir Attack

Kashmir Attack

Ten dead in Kashmir's worst militant attack in more than a year  Full Article 

OPEC Meeting

OPEC Meeting

Gulf states seek to block OPEC oil output cut.  Read 

E-Commerce Boom

E-Commerce Boom

Online grocers come up trumps in India's e-commerce boom   Full Article 

GDP, RBI Preview

GDP, RBI Preview

GDP growth set to weaken, business wants reforms more than rate cut  Full Article | Related Story 

Jaitley to Rajan

Jaitley to Rajan

Jaitley likely to meet Rajan on Monday to urge rate cut  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

RBI releases final rules for niche bank licensing  Full Article 

Jamini Roy

Jamini Roy

Photo Gallery – Bengali household name Jamini Roy’s paintings  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage