Maybe it’s time to make it Als Jazeera.
Al Gore announced Wednesday that he had sold Current TV to Al-Jazeera, netting a rumored $100 million. The move would expand the reach of Al-Jazeera from the approximately 4.7 million households in large metropolitan areas where people watch Al-Jazeera to the almost 40 million households where people do not watch Current TV.
This news will sadden and confuse all six people who are ardent watchers of Current TV, one of whom was going to stop anyway once she realized it was not the Home Shopping Network with bad lighting.
Congratulations to Al-Jazeera for expanding its reach – even if Time Warner Cable, in response to news of the purchase, announced that it is dropping Current. This means that 20 million Time-Warner Cable customers who were not watching Current TV will not have to flick past that channel any more, so it’s probably a win for Time Warner Cable.
Gore released a statement trying to make this sound like a logical next step. Al-Jazeera, he said in the statement, like Current TV, aims “to give voice to those who are not typically heard” (look, if someone is not typically heard, the way to fix that is not to put him on Current TV. Trees falling alone in forests in many cases have refused offers from the cable channel on the grounds that they want to at least try to make a sound.) “to speak truth to power;” (very quietly) “to provide independent and diverse points of view;” (remember Keith Olbermann?) “and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.”
Gore’s initial draft, I have on no authority whatsoever, included the lines, “also, we are both named Al.”
Other commonalities that escaped the list include the fact that Al Gore and Al-Jazeera’s director both have been to the United States at least once in their lives, enjoy breathing air and like having lots of money.
No doubt Gore was eager to embrace anything that reminded him so much of himself. The deal was briefly stalled when he discovered that Al-Jazeera was not short for “Albert Arnold Jazeera, Jr.”
Gore’s longstanding dream to have a TV channel named Al Gore (“The best name for any creature to walk this earth” according to a source very close to Al Gore who claimed to be an ardent watcher of Current TV and volunteered freely the information that he looked really good in beards — “Just so relaxed,” the source said.) has, I guess, come 50 percent true, which is as close as Al Gore’s dreams ever come.