The Pan-Arab news channel Al Jazeera will soon infiltrate the homes of almost 40 million Americans following its purchase on Wednesday of Al Gore’s left-leaning cable channel Current TV.
Gore confirmed the sale, claiming in a statement Al Jazeera shares Current TV’s mission “to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.”
Time Warner Cable Inc., the nation’s second-largest TV operator, immediately dropped the station after the deal was confirmed.
Al Jazeera, owned by the government of Qatar, plans to transform Current TV into a network called Al Jazeera America by hiring more journalists and adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus, in addition to the five it has now.
"This is a pure business decision based on recognized demand," spokesman Stan Collender said. "When people watch Al Jazeera, they tend to like it a great deal."
According to Collender, more than half of the content will be U.S. news and its headquarters will be in New York.
Previous to Al Jazeera's purchase, Current TV was in 60 million homes. It is carried by Comcast Corp., which owned less than a 10 percent stake in Current TV, as well as DirecTV. Neither company announced plans to drop the channel.