Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Current TV sells itself to Al Jazeera, finally becomes interesting

Illustration for article titled Current TV sells itself to Al Jazeera, finally becomes interesting

Current TV—Al Gore's attempt to be ignored on a quantifiable, 24-hour basis—has announced that it will put itself out of its low-rated, post-Keith Olbermann misery by selling itself to Al Jazeera, the Qatar-funded news organization dedicated to providing comprehensive coverage of the Arab world and, presumably, Bowling For Columbine four times a day. Though, actually, the sale signals a complete makeover for the channel that will be renamed Al Jazeera America when it launches later this year: The network will feature 60 percent new, original programming (the rest being provided by Al Jazeera's current English-language channel in Qatar), and it will now attract the ire of conspiracy theorists convinced "Terrorist TV" is part of the incipient introduction of Sharia Law, rather than merely leftist propaganda.


Of course, such sniping ignores the fact that Al Jazeera has long been lauded by newshounds and lawmakers alike for its impressive investigation of international affairs, that its perceived "anti-American bias" is based primarily on secondhand xenophobia handed down from alarmist pundits to the ignorant who have never even watched it, and that its English-language channel is staffed with the same, pleasantly blonde reporters that Americans prefer to see reading their news. Regardless, Time Warner Cable, for one, has already declared it wants nothing to do with this, dropping Current within hours of the deal being announced. Their decision robs Al Jazeera of one of Current's biggest cable carriers, although Al Jazeera is still expected to reach around 40 million homes—20 million fewer than Current has now. (Nevertheless, it'll be doing so without relying on hours upon hours of Eliot Spitzer and Joy Behar, so the ratings could still easily balance out.)

Interestingly, news of Current's sale to Al Jazeera was quickly followed by this tweet from Glenn Beck (confirmed by the Wall Street Journal) claiming he'd put in a bid to buy the network for his outlier station TheBlaze, only to be "rejected by progressive owners." Thus, Current is being blasted for selling out to biased, extremist ideologues rather than to Glenn Beck. Enjoy this, perhaps the first day of its short life that Current TV has been this entertaining.