Former presidential candidates often slip into the sphere of the pathetic before very long. And Al Gore is no exception here. His network Current TV was started with a lofty goal of promoting environmentalism as well as a politically progressive message to an 18-34 demographic, but even a few big names like Joy Behar weren’t nearly enough to draw many viewers. These anemic ratings for the cable network only made the business venture a financial disaster for the investors which included both Comcast and Al Gore. Now, Al Jazeera, the Middle Eastern network which has often been criticized for offering programming favorable to anti-Americanism as well as sometimes to terrorist interests will become the new owners of this failed business venture, giving Al Gore about $70 million or better return for his money, although anti-Americanism now gets a major new mouthpiece in the U.S.
This total business deal is worth about $500 million dollars, which also gives back the other investors in Al Gore’s failed business venture their money back as well. But, ironically, the network that was supposed to be the voice of environmentalism among other things, now is being purchased with some big money tied to Middle Eastern oil of all things.
Under the old management of Current TV, the network had terrible advertising revenues of around $3 million a year, which hardly seemed like much of a return at all for this station’s assets that seemed to be worth half a billion dollars to a foreign owned company like Al Jazeera to pickup.
Current TV just never developed the strong lineup of interesting programs like a MTV to really appeal to the young demographic that it had hoped to appeal to. It tried to be much like a CNN or FOX CABLE NEWS for a younger demographic, but really failed to put together the type of programming that would really lure these younger viewers.
Al Gore might have been a once successful politician or even won himself a Nobel Peace Prize, but as a businessman he only proved himself to be a failure here. For someone who once took credit for “inventing the Internet”, Al Gore’s TV network never even was the most technologically advanced on TV either, it was never offered beyond the 480i(SDTV) format, when all the major news outlets and most stations offered HD versions to viewers. If there’s one thing that younger viewers enjoy, it’s advanced electronics such as cell phones, computers and other gadgets, yet offering only this old fashioned SDTV version of programming seemed behind the times technologically.
Al Jazeera often seemed like enough of an annoyance to the U.S. government when airing programming overseas that often played fast and loose with the facts or unfairly painted the U.S. in an unflattering light. But, now as a regular TV network airing in the U.S., Al Gore did the U.S. government no favors by selling to this network. It’s too bad he didn’t look for a more suitable suitor than this. Once nicknamed the “Terror Network” by some critics, Al Jazeera has seemed to moderate more in recent years, and has shown some improvement in it’s journalism quality. Whether it continues as a more worthy mainstream news-service or not, will be closely watched by many media analysts as well as the U.S. government which certainly doesn’t need a new thorn in it’s side setting up shop right on U.S. shores.