Gore under fire from conservatives, Jewish leaders, for selling to Al-Jazeera

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - American conservatives and Jewish leaders are up in arms over former vice-president Al Gore's sale of Current TV to Al-Jazeera, accusing the noted climate change activist of everything from hypocrisy to lining his pockets with cash from anti-Americans.

Right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh has been at the forefront of the attacks, pointing out that Gore sold his pet cable network to an Arab news giant owned by the royal family of oil-rich Qatar, an OPEC regime.

He also asked if some of the female hosts on the left-leaning cable news network, including Joy Behar and Jennifer Granholme, will "now have to wear burkas and veils over their faces?"

Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly piled on, maligning Gore for selling to the "anti-American" Al-Jazeera before the Jan. 1 hike in the U.S. capital gains tax.

"This is really stunning," O'Reilly said this week. "A former vice president selling his far-left cable network to anti-Americans, then trying to jam the deal to avoid higher taxes."

O'Reilly called Gore a "hypocrite," pointing to the one-time Democratic presidential nominee's assertions in a November interview that people "like me should pay our fair share."

Gore reportedly decided in December to sell Current to Al-Jazeera for US$500 million, pocketing an estimated $100 million personally in the sale. He had previously turned down an offer from the right-wing The Blaze network, rebuffing its owner, conservative pundit Glenn Beck, because of his politics.

American Jewish leaders are also expressing concern that Al-Jazeera could gain access to tens of millions of American homes via the Current TV deal. They accuse the network of anti-Israeli coverage and supporting extremist Islamic regimes.

"Al-Jazeera has a troubling record and history that is very disturbing, particularly in its Arabic language broadcasts," said Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement from the organization on Friday.

"It has exploited and exaggerated the Arab-Israel conflict in a heavy-handed and propagandistic manner, and always at the expense of Israel, while giving all manner of virulent anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic extremists access to its airwaves."

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents, agreed.

"Their general coverage has served to destabilize regimes and favour some of the more extremist elements in the Arab world," he said.

Al-Jazeera has fought to gain a foothold in the U.S. market because of the refusal of many American cable providers to carry it. Time Warner, the second-largest cable company in the U.S., dropped Current TV after the sale to Al-Jazeera was confirmed earlier this week.

The news network is readily available on most major Canadian cable providers, including Rogers and Bell, after Ottawa approved the channel for distribution three years ago.

Americans turned on Al-Jazeera following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when it gave al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden a broadcasting platform. But in recent years, it's earned praise from some U.S. officials, in particular Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who lauded its coverage of the so-called Arab Spring.

The brouhaha about Gore's sale to the network comes as the Republican party confronts anti-Muslim sentiment among some of its lawmakers. The soul-searching follows last November's presidential election, when three of the party's most vocal anti-Muslim legislators were defeated.

Even anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, a hard-right conservative on fiscal issues, has acknowledged the need for the party to evolve in terms of attitudes towards Muslims.

"They have gotten a bit of bad odour," Norquist recently told Mother Jones magazine.

The tipping point appears to have come in July, when Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann and four colleagues suggested the State Department had been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood thanks to Huma Abedin, a respected aide and longtime friend to Hillary Clinton.

John Boehner, speaker of the House of Representatives, and Sen. John McCain were among the prominent Republicans who assailed Bachmann for her allegations.

View Comments (612)

Recommended for You

  • Republicans warn world that Obama U.N. plan could be undone

    By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration's plan for U.N. climate change talks encountered swift opposition after its release Tuesday, with Republican leaders warning other countries to "proceed with caution" in negotiations with Washington because any deal could be…

    Reuters
  • California getting 'second-hand smog' from Asia, researchers say

    By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - California is suffering from "second-hand smog" drifting in from Asia and other places, researchers said on Tuesday, even as the state's prolonged drought has made air quality worse. About 10 percent of ozone pollution, the main ingredient in…

    Reuters
  • Hurricane-strength winds pummel Europe, four killed

    By Michael Hogan HAMBURG (Reuters) - At least four people were killed on Tuesday when hurricane-force winds lashed northern Europe in one of the most severe storms in years, forcing flights to be canceled and disrupting road, train and marine traffic. The Dutch meteorological office issued a red…

    Reuters
  • United States sets official strategy for Paris climate talks

    By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Tuesday published plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, part of a strategy to generate momentum for a global agreement later this year on combating climate change. The formal…

    Reuters
  • Air and sea traffic disrupted as 120 km winds batter Netherlands

    Spring storms battered the Netherlands with gusts of up to 120 kilometers an hour on Tuesday, causing Amsterdam's Schiphol airport to cancel flights and the closure of two container terminals at the port of Rotterdam. Gale force winds sweeping in from the North Sea disrupted land and marine…

    Reuters
  • Heavy rains trigger flood fears in Kashmir; 17 dead

    By Fayaz Bukhari SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Heavy rains and a landslide in the Himalayan region of Kashmir killed 17 people, police said on Tuesday, as Indian authorities continued working to rescue stranded villagers, with unseasonal rains raising fears of flash floods in the mountainous north. …

    Reuters
  • Ocean warming suggests 50 percent chance of El Nino-Australia

    By Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) - Recent warming of the Pacific Ocean may signal an El Nino weather event is forming, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday. Climate models indicate the central tropical Pacific Ocean is likely to continue to warm, with El Nino thresholds to be…

    Reuters
  • Vanuatu risks long-term food insecurity after monster cyclone: U.N.

    By Alisa Tang BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The monster cyclone that hit Vanuatu earlier this month wiped out more than 90 percent of the archipelago's crops, putting its people at risk of a secondary emergency and long-term food insecurity, the United Nations warned on Monday. Tropical…

    Reuters
  • Heavy rains trigger flood fears in Kashmir; six dead

    By Fayaz Bukhari SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - A landslide in the Himalayan region of Kashmir killed six people and left 10 missing, police said on Monday, as unseasonal rains swept India, damaging crops and raising fears of flash floods in the mountainous north. Hundreds of people fled their homes…

    Reuters
  • Harsh weather cripples fishing and tourism on Cameroon's coast

    By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame KRIBI, Cameroon (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - For over 15 years, Raoul Meno has been fishing the waters off the coastal town of Kribi in southern Cameroon. A bout of persistent heavy rains and surging tides this year has made fishing in Kribi increasingly difficult and…

    Reuters
  • Air Canada plane landed short, hit antennas in Halifax accident

    By Mark Blinch HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) - An Air Canada plane that suffered heavy damage in an accident in the east coast city of Halifax on Sunday landed short of the runway and hit an antenna array, losing its landing gear, safety officials said. "They touched down 1,100 feet (335 meters)…

    Reuters
  • U.S. to submit plans to fight global warming; most others delay

    By Alister Doyle and Valerie Volcovici OSLO/WASHINGTON - The United States will submit plans for slowing global warming to the United Nations early this week but most governments will miss an informal March 31 deadline, complicating work on a global climate deal due in December. The U.S.…

    Reuters
  • Modi's popularity in rural India punctured by discontent, suicides

    By Mayank Bhardwaj VAIDI, India (Reuters) - Over a dozen debt-laden farmers have committed suicide in recent weeks in India, and discontent in many rural areas against government policies is turning into anger against Prime Minister Narendra Modi less than a year after he swept into office. …

    Reuters
  • Chile desert rains sign of climate change: chief weather scientist

    By Rosalba O'Brien SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The heavy rainfall that battered Chile's usually arid north this week happened because of climate change, a senior meteorologist said, as the region gradually returns to normal after rivers broke banks and villages were cut off. "For Chile, this particular…

    Reuters
  • Mexico unveils national strategy for Paris climate talks

    By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mexico on Friday said it will cap its greenhouse gas emissions by 2026, becoming one of the first countries to formally submit its national climate plan to the United Nations ahead of a climate summit in Paris in December. Mexico's Foreign and…

    Reuters
  • Fed must take account of global economy in U.S. outlook: Yellen

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve must take the global economy into account when judging the U.S. domestic outlook, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Friday, noting that a stronger dollar buoyed by weakness abroad may restrain U.S. exports Still, she added, U.S. consumer…

    Reuters
  • In reversal, crash-hit Lufthansa agrees to two-crew in cockpit rule

    Lufthansa said on Friday it would introduce new rules requiring two crew members in cockpits at all times, a swift reversal after its CEO said such a change was not needed despite the crash at its Germanwings subsidiary. The European Union said it would now advise all EU airlines to require two…

    Reuters
  • Sierra Leone capital 'eerily quiet' amid Ebola lockdown

    By Umaru Fofana FREETOWN (Reuters) - The capital of Sierra Leone was "eerily quiet" on Friday at the start of a three-day national lockdown aimed at accelerating the end of an Ebola epidemic in the worst affected country. Liberia has just one known case left and the three countries have set a…

    Reuters
  • Lufthansa to toughen up cockpit rules

    Lufthansa said it will introduce new rules requiring two crew members to be in the cockpit at all times after one of the pilots at its Germanwings unit crashed a plane in the French Alps. Prosecutors believe Andreas Lubitz, 27, locked himself alone in the cockpit of the Airbus A320 on Tuesday and…

    Reuters
  • Poland to charge two Russian officials over Kaczynski plane crash

    Poland said on Friday it would bring charges against two Russian air traffic controllers over a 2010 plane crash which killed then Polish president Lech Kaczynski, a move likely to damage bilateral relations already strained by the Ukraine crisis. Prosecutor Ireneusz Szelag from the District…

    Reuters