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Though often a friendly face for Democratic politicians, Jon Stewart pulled no punches in an interview with Al Gore broadcast Wednesday night.
Gore has faced blowback from the sale of his news network Current TV to Al Jazeera, which is backed by the oil-rich Middle Eastern nation of Qatar. The networked fetched $500 million, a fifth of which Gore is pocketing — troubling to some, given his fierce advocacy against climate change.
VIDEO: Al Gore Defends Current Sale to Al Jazeera
“I’m proud of the transaction. It’s going to really be a positive addition to the U.S. media landscape,” Gore told Stewart. “[Al Jazeera] has the highest quality, most extensive, best climate coverage of any network in the world … They’re very, very good.”
Stewart pressed him on the issue, asking whether “mogul Al Gore” could co-exist with “activist Al Gore” and pushing Gore on whether he couldn’t fine a “more sustainable choice to sell to?”
Gore again stressed Al Jazeera’s journalistic bona fides and boasted they offered “24/7 commercial-free outstanding news reporting and do thorough coverage to the climate issue.”
Still, Stewart was unsatisfied, framing the question as a matter of public perception.
“In your cost-benefit analysis, one of the major factors would be, I would think, sustainability. You had an opportunity to make a statement, probably, about your principles,” the host charged. “And for some people would feel — and me as well, I thought it was an odd move, not because of some of the other things, but because it’s backed by fossil fuel money … Can you see how people at home might think, ‘Well, he’s asking me in my life to make choices about light bulbs, and the cost-benefit analysis, for the purpose of sustainability, when I just want to see my book.'”
Yes, Gore admitted, he can understand people’s frustration — he just didn’t agree with it, and added that Qatar has announced a commitment to switch to renewable energy.
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