“Greed, for the lack of a better word, is good.” Who knew that former Democratic vice president Al Gore would embody that Oliver Stone movie mantra? Gore’s filed a lawsuit in Delaware against Al Jazeera America claiming its owners (the Qatari royal family) are still withholding $65 million from him and Current TV co-founder Joel Hyatt.
“Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago,” said Gore’s lawyer, David Boies (also his lawyer in the shameless 2000 recount extension/delusion.)
Gore’s lawsuit is more than a little shameless in that the $500 million purchase price was far beyond other bidders. “The deep-pocketed Qatari royal family backing Al Jazeera handily outbid any other bidder’s rational bid,” the research firm PrivCo said in a note to clients. It’s quite amazing how much money can change hands for channels almost nobody watches. From the New York Times story on the Gore suit:
Al Jazeera America made a big public relations splash when it hit the airwaves in August 2013, hiring nearly 900 journalists across about a dozen cities in the United States. Executives pitched the network as an alternative to the sensationalistic and polarizing coverage of its more established cable news rivals.
The network has steadily gained carriage across cable and satellite companies and now is available in 60 million households.
But Al Jazeera America has been slow to develop an audience. The network averaged about 17,000 viewers during prime time since the beginning of 2014 through the end of May, according to Nielsen. That is a small fraction of the 1.7 million average prime-time viewers for Fox News, the 626,000 viewers for MSNBC and the 488,000 viewers for CNN through the end of June, according to Nielsen.