Time Warner Drops Al Gore's Current TV After Purchase by al-Jazeera

Thursday, 03 Jan 2013 06:41 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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Current TV's purchase by pan-Arab news network al-Jazeera has already juggled the cable listing. Within hours of the sale going public, Time Warner Cable had dropped Al Gore's Current TV channel from its offerings.

Viewers of Current TV were being greeted with this message: "This channel is no longer available on Time Warner Cable."

The plug was pulled before the end of Eliot Spitzer's nightly show.

The nation's second-largest cable operator parted ways with the news network quite unceremoniously, as The New York Times’ Brian Stelter pointed out:

Al-Jazeera has long had trouble gaining a solid footing in the U.S., in part because "in the United States of America, there were myths and misconceptions that needed to be tackled about what Al Jazeera stood for and what Al Jazeera English stood for and stands for," Al Anstey, the managing director of al-Jazeera English, told the Huffington Post in 2011.

The $500 million acquisition of Current TV is a big step in achieve those goals. Still, Some have taken issue with a perceived anti-American bent in the network’s coverage, including conservative commentator Glenn Beck, who tried to buy Current TV himself. Many cable companies have refused to carry the pan-Arab channel in the past.

Time Warner did not suggest there was any political slant to the decision. A spokesperson pointed out to the Huffington Post that, "we do have an agreement with [Al Jazeera English], though we have no plans to launch it at this time."

Others weren’t so certain.

"Time-Warner cable shows abject political and journalistic cowardice by dropping Current because of Al Jazeera deal," Dan Gilmor, a tech writer, wrote on Twitter.

Conservative commentator and talk-radio host Dana Loesch took a different tack:

Over at The Nation magazine, the publication's editor in chief took bigger issue with the whole affair.
But one user was hoping Time Warner's action would set a precedent:
Meanwhile, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced she is leaving Current TV and her public affairs program "The War Room" following its purchase by al-Jazeera.

"We were told today that Al-Jazeera is the buyer for Current TV," Granholm said in a posting on her Facebook page late Wednesday.

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