Eliot Spitzer Out: Quits Job at Current TV After Purchase by al-Jazeera

Monday, 07 Jan 2013 08:45 AM

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Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is quitting his Current TV show "Viewpoint" following the cable channel's recent acquisition by al-Jazeera.

In a Sunday interview in the New York Times, Spitzer acknowledged the network's anticipated change in direction from liberal news talk to an international news focus with al-Jazeera's acquisition.

Spitzer said his departure was "more of my instigation than theirs, truth be told."

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Pan-Arab al-Jazeera, owned by the oil-rich Persian Gulf state of Qatar, has struggled for years to win space on American cable television, but Spitzer didn't appear to share the view of many who consider the network as anti-American or sympathetic toward al-Qaeda.

"I view Al Jazeera as a very serious journalistic outfit. They have proven to observers around the world that they are serious and objective," said Spitzer. "They will have to, at a P.R. level, prove to the American public that that is the case. And I think that over time they will succeed at doing that."

"For me, journalism has been more a matter of projecting a particular approach to covering policies, to covering issues. It was a continuation of what I tried to do in government. And that doesn’t fit with their vision of what they are going to do," said the former governor.

Spitzer, 53, resigned as New York governor in March 2008 after news of his frolicking with an upscale Washington D.C., escort service became public. Referred to as "Client-9" by the escort service, Spitzer was regarded by many as hypocritical for hiring a prostitute after spending years as the state's attorney general and prosecuting wealthy New Yorkers who used escorts.

Despite his tarnished image, CNN hired Spitzer to cohost a primetime show with Kathleen Parker in June 2010 which was later cancelled by the network a year later. In March 2012, Spitzer was hired by Current TV to host his own show, replacing liberal talk show host Keith Olbermann who was fired.

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When word of Current TV's $500 million acquisition by al-Jazeera's became public last week Time Warner Cable dropped the channel. The cable distributor is the nation's second largest reaching 12 million homes.

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced last week she also is leaving Current TV with her public affairs program "The War Room" following its purchase by al-Jazeera.

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