Al Gore Slams News Corp, Accuses It of Forcing Sky Italia to Drop Current TV for Hiring Olbermann

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He accuses the conglomerate of "an abuse of power," while News Corp. said the channel asked for a higher carriage fee despite a 40 percent primetime ratings decline.

Al Gore strikes out at Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. in a new interview with the U.K. Guardian.

Gore says that Murdoch's company forced his CurrentTV off the air in Italy because it hired Keith Olbermann, who has been critical of the media conglomerate in the past.

Gore says he was told three weeks ago that Sky Italia would no longer carry the channel "because Current is launching Keith Olbermann next month." He calls it "an abuse of power."

"News Corporation is an international conglomerate with an ideological agenda. It seeks political power in every nation they operate. They wield that power to shut down voices that disagree with the agenda of Rupert Murdoch," Gore says, adding that the news was "a complete shock."

Still, Gore says he has had a "pleasant personal relationship" with Murdoch since he served as vice president.

"The non-renewal of CurrentTV's carriage agreement with Sky Italia is purely commercial," a spokesperson for the conglomerate said. "CurrentTV asked Sky Italia for double the carriage fee when primetime viewing had fallen by 40 percent in the past year. Sky Italia's offer was in line with the market and reflected the performance of the channel. It had nothing to do with politics."
The news comes as News Corp. faces regulator approval in its attempt to purchase BSkyB.