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In his quest to promote his new book about climate change, Al Gore is taking some heat for his recent television transaction.
The former vice president was the co-founder of the progressive television network Current TV, which went through several transformations before finally being sold earlier this month to Al Jazeera. The Qatar-based news organization will use the newly acquired network (which will soon be renamed) to establish a presence in the United States, all for the cool price of $500 million. Gore’s take looks to be $100 million; critics have charged that because the Qatari government has made vast fortunes on the sale of oil — a fossil fuel that helps cause climate change — environmental advocate Gore is hypocritical to take its money.
“I certainly understand that criticism,” Gore told Matt Lauer during an interview on the Today Show on Tuesday. “I disagree with it. I think Al Jazeera has, obviously, long since established itself as a really distinguished and effective news gathering organization. And by the way, its climate coverage has been far more extensive and high-quality.”
Lauer pointed to a passage in Gore’s book that criticizes television newscasts for taking advertising money from oil companies, and pressed further on the criticism pointed at the former vice president.
“Well, I get the criticism,” Gore pivoted. “I just disagree with it, because this network has established itself. It’s objective, it’s won major awards in countries around the world and its climate coverage, as I said a moment ago, has been outstanding and extensive.”
Gore also addressed the difficulties that Current had in drawing ratings, which ultimately led to its demise.
“I’m proud of what my partner Joel Hyatt did with Current TV, we won every major award in television journalism, I’m really proud of it,” he said. “As the only independent news and information network, we found it difficult to compete in this age of conglomerates.”
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