[guest post by JVW]
Qatari-based Al Jazeera Media Network has announced that it will shut down its American news channel, Al Jazeera America, effective April 30. The channel launched in August of 2013, after the parent company purchased the former Current TV from a partnership including former Vice President and current Carbon Indulgence Kingpin Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. Recall that Al Jazeera paid a whopping $500 million dollars for the channel, with Gore’s take estimated as high as 20%. Gore and his parters later sued Al Jazeera alleging that the network illegally seized escrow funds that were set up as part of the deal, and it would appear that the issue remains unresolved to this day.
From the very beginning this deal seemed fishy. Even though Current TV was available to 60 million households at the time of its sale, viewership was poor and the channel was allegedly hemorrhaging money on high-priced (*cough, cough*) talent like Keith Olbermann, Joy Behar, Eliot Spitzer, and Jennifer Granholm. The Bloomberg article linked above reports that Gore himself was being paid an annual salary of $1.2 million to serve as chairman (that’s more than 82 times the annual wages of a minimum wage worker!). Despite revenues estimated at $100 million a year, neither the Gore team nor Al Jazeera appeared able to make a financial go of it, even though Al Jazeera shed the big names and focused more on stories than personalities. Positioning the network first as an even more leftwing alternative to the establishment sellouts at MSNBC (in its Current TV iteration) and then as an independent crusading voice providing a needed outsider’s perspective on American affairs (in its Al Jazeera iteration) never had the desired effect of winning over progressive hearts and minds. Perhaps what they never quite understood is that the low-information voter only tunes in to have his existing biases confirmed in a superficial and humorous manner (hence the popularity of comedian philosophers), not to be challenged with boring disquisitions from blowhard journalists trying to hide the fact that they work for an antisemitic company with a nasty penchant for rationalizing Islamofascist terrorism.
A half-billion dollar purchase goes belly up in a mere 32 months. Impressive.
UPDATE: Silly me, I totally forgot about the announcement earlier this week that The New Republic, the self-proclaimed “inflight magazine of Air Force Once,” is on the sale block. It turns out that when not using his Facebook billions in a futile attempt to purchase his husband a Congressional seat, TNR owner Chris Hughes managed to alienate most of the magazine’s writers and half their readership, yet he still couldn’t transition the magazine into a more modern outlet of journalism. Quite the week so far for schadenfreude in regards to annoying leftwing media.