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Al Gore defends Al Jazeera

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He’s got a new 600-page book out Tuesday. He’s embarking on a 20-city national tour to promote it. But Al Gore cannot escape questions about the recent sale of Current TV, the news channel he founded seven years ago, to Al Jazeera, the Arabic language channel based in Qatar. Critics question the reported $100 million profit Mr. Gore made on the sale and they fret the transaction gives the network a leap of influence in broadcast markets around the world.

“I’m very pleased Al Jazeera has established itself as a really respected news gathering network,” Mr. Gore said in an interview with NBC’s “Today Show.”

But host Matt Lauer brought up the unthinkable. Funding for Al Jazeera is tied to oil money, he said, a posing “contradiction” to Mr. Gore’s longstanding opposition to fossil fuels.

“I certainly understand that criticism. 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 than any of the networks there,” countered Mr. Gore.

Mr. Lauer persisted, framing such thinking as possible “hypocrisy.”

Mr. Gore persisted.

“Well, I get the criticism. 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,” he replied.

Then there is Mr. Gore’s new book, “The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change.” There’s much environmental agenda there, and “the same old climate apocalypse,” according to Newsbusters.com. And some politics.

“One of the themes of this books is that our democracy has been hacked,” Mr. Gore told NBC. “That’s a computer term, of course, that implies control of the way our political system works has been taken over, in this case, by big money, corporations designated as persons, anonymous donors. Big money is having a corrupting influence and it’s degrading the quality of our democracy.”

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