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NBC Hits Gore from Left on Climate 'Hypocrisy'; Ignores Al Jazeera's Anti-Americanism

In an interview with former Vice President Al Gore on Tuesday's Today, co-host Matt Lauer fretted over the "hypocrisy" of the global warming crusader selling his news channel Current TV to the oil-funded Al Jazeera network. However, Lauer completely ignored the Arab news organization's history of anti-Americanism and promotion of Islamic fundamentalism. [Listen to the audio]

When Lauer questioned Gore about selling Current to Al Jazeera for $500 million, Gore declared: "I'm very pleased that Al Jazeera has established itself as a really respected news-gathering network." Rather than challenge that assertion, the only criticism of the network Lauer could think of was this: "But if they get funding from a country that has – that bases its wealth on fossil fuels, and fossil fuels are the enemy you target in climate change, isn't there a bit of hypocrisy in that?"

On the hypocrisy charge, Gore justified the sale based on Al Jazeera's global warming coverage:

I certainly understand that criticism. I disagree with it, because 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 of high quality than any of the networks here....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.

Here is a portion of the January 29 interview:

7:10AM ET

(...)

MATT LAUER, HOST: I want to talk about some of the other headlines you've made of late, alright? You sold Current TV, the network that you co-founded, to Al Jazeera for an estimated $500 million. According to the reports I've seen, your take on that about $100 million pre-tax. Was that always just an investment to you? Maybe I was naïve.

GORE: Oh, no, no, no.

LAUER: I thought it was something that you had an ideological interest in.

GORE: Absolutely.

LAUER: So why did it become just an investment at the end?

GORE: Well, it didn't, but I'm proud of what my partner Joel Hyatt and I did with Current TV. We won every major award in television journalism. I'm really proud of it. As an independent network, the only independent news and information network, we found it difficult to compete in this age of conglomerates, and I'm very pleased that Al Jazeera has established itself as a really respected news-gathering network.

LAUER: And yet even as you sold to Al Jazeera, you in the book blast other television news programs saying this: "Virtually every news and political commentary program on television is sponsored in part by oil, coal and gas companies. Not just during campaign seasons, but all the time, year in and year out, with messages designed to soothe and reassure the audience that everything is fine, the global environment is not threatened." And the critics jumped. And they said, "Here's the guy who just sold Current TV to Al Jazeera, which gets an undetermined amount of funding from the country of Qatar, which gets its money from oil reserves." Isn't there a contradiction in that?

GORE: I certainly understand that criticism. I disagree with it, because 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 of high quality than any of the networks here.

LAUER: But if they get funding from a country that has – that bases its wealth on fossil fuels, and fossil fuels are the enemy you target in climate change, isn't there a bit of hypocrisy in that?

GORE: 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.

(...)