“Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab news giant, has long tried to convince Americans that it is a legitimate news organization, not a parrot of Middle Eastern propaganda or something more sinister,” Brian Stelter reports for The New York Times. “It just bought itself 40 million more chances to make its case.”

“Al Jazeera on Wednesday announced a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore, a former vice president, and his business partners seven years ago. Al Jazeera plans to shut Current and start an English-language channel, which will be available in more than 40 million homes, with newscasts emanating from both New York and Doha, Qatar,” Stelter reports. “A decade ago, Al Jazeera’s flagship Arabic-language channel was reviled by American politicians for showing videotapes from Al Qaeda members and sympathizers. Now the news operation is buying an American channel, having convinced Mr. Gore and the other owners of Current that it has the journalistic muscle and the money to compete head-to-head with CNN and other news channels in the United States.”

Stelter reports, “Al Jazeera did not disclose the purchase price, but people with direct knowledge of the deal pegged it at around $500 million, indicating a $100 million payout for Mr. Gore, who owned 20 percent of Current. Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1, according to several people who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. But the deal was not signed until Wednesday.”

Read more in the full article here.

“The network, which was co-founded by Mr. Gore and entrepreneur Joel Hyatt in 2005, has recently been struggling with low ratings,” Keach Hagey and John Jannarone report for The Wall Street Journal. “Not all cable operators are on board with the change. Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-largest cable operator, said late Wednesday it was dropping Current TV. The network’s owners acknowledged the deal was the reason.”

“Mr. Hyatt said they agreed to sell to al-Jazeera in part because ‘al-Jazeera was founded with the same goals we had for Current,”‘ including ‘to give voice to those whose voices are not typically heard’ and ‘to speak truth to power,'” Hagey and Jannarone report. “Other suitors who didn’t share Current’s ideology were rebuffed. Glenn Beck’s The Blaze approached Current about buying the channel last year, but was told that ‘the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view,’ according to a person familiar with the negotiations.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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