Gore defends sale of Current TV to ‘distinguished’ news network al Jazeera

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Former Vice President Al Gore on Tuesday defended his sale of Current TV to al Jazeera, rejecting charges it was hypocritical for the environmental campaigner to sell the network to a Qatar-based media conglomerate with oil-industry ties.

“I certainly understand that criticism,” Gore told NBC's "The Today Show." "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."

Pressed by host Matt Lauer, who pointed out that Gore has campaigned against fossil fuels as part of his green energy movement, Gore said the news channel should be judged separately from its corporate owners.

“Well, I get the criticism,” Gore said. “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.”

The former vice president added that he believed al Jazeera would be a good steward of Current's journalistic tradition. Gore launched the network in 2005 as a progressive media organization.

”As an independent network, the only independent news and information network, we found it difficult to compete in an age of conglomerates,” Gore said. “And I’m very pleased al Jazeera has established itself as a really respected news-gathering network.”