PBS Anchor Tries, Fails to Get Al Gore to Blame Corporations for Lack of Global Warming Discussion in Media

Another day, another iteration of the left-wing criticism of Al Gore’s sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera. On Thursday’s PBS NewsHour, co-anchor Jeffrey Brown interviewed the former vice president and, predictably, the sale of Gore’s television channel came up. Like Matt Lauer and Andrea Mitchell before him, Brown failed to question Gore’s decision to sell to a network with a history of espousing anti-American views.

Instead, Brown rehashed the hypocrisy question, even though he knew it had been asked before: [View video after the jump. MP3 audio here]


“This money and influence question has been one that has been hitting you in the past few weeks since you sold Current TV to Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera owned by the government of Qatar, the royal family there. It gets its wealth from natural gas and oil, fossil fuels. And what a lot of folks said (and you've been asked about in the last few days, I see) is this question of hypocrisy. How can you, telling all of us that it is important to think about cutting back on our energy use, how can you sell to a company that really is backed by that very thing?”

Gore gave essentially the same answer that he gave Lauer and Mitchell when they asked him that question, praising Al Jazeera as a “truly outstanding” news network with the best climate change coverage in the world. By contrast, he said, no moderator in any 2012 U.S. presidential debate asked any candidate about climate change.

Brown jumped on this: “You wrote that and I've heard you say that recently in interviews. But therefore what?” He then tried to nudge Gore toward blaming corporate America for the lack of global warming questions: “Are you suggesting they didn't ask about climate change because they were influenced somehow by money or by big corporations?”

Earlier in the interview, Gore had decried the influence of money on politics. However, he refused to draw the conclusion that Brown wanted him to draw. Gore bypassed the question entirely, leaving Brown looking like a conspiracy theorist, one, no less, whom you and I subsidize with our tax dollars.

Below is a transcript of the segment:


JEFFREY BROWN: This money and influence question has been one that has been hitting you in the past few weeks since you sold Current TV to Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera owned by the government of Qatar, the royal family there. It gets its wealth from natural gas and oil, fossil fuels. And what a lot of folks said, and you've been asked about in the last few days, I see, is this question of hypocrisy. How can you, telling all of us that it is important to think about cutting back on our energy use, how can you sell to a company that really is backed by that very thing?

AL GORE: Well, I understand the charge. I reject it and disagree with it, but for one simple reason: In doing diligence on what Al Jazeera really is, you will find very clearly that it has long since established itself as a truly outstanding news gathering network. And let me give you one example. Their coverage of the climate crisis is the highest quality and most extensive of any television network. By contrast, we just went through here in the United States a long presidential campaign in a year that was the hottest in American history with Superstorm Sandy and 60 percent of the country in drought and massive fires in the west and 110 million – billion dollars of climate disasters and not one journalist asked any of the candidates in any of the debates a single question about climate...

BROWN: You wrote that and I've heard you say that recently in interviews. But therefore what? Because...

GORE: Therefore we in the United States...

BROWN: No, but I’m asking you-- I can't get in the head of the moderators who did not ask-- presumably they had other things, important things to say. Are you suggesting they didn't ask about climate change because they were influenced somehow by money or by big corporations? I mean, that's the "therefore what?"

GORE: I think that more diversity is a good thing and fresh points of view articulated by people who are committed to excellence in journalism is a beneficial change in the American media landscape, and a news organization that regularly and constantly explores this issue by contrast to the way it has been ignored up until-- Superstorm Sandy has begun to bring about some change but we have had a kind of odd silence about this issue and the United States is the only nation that can lead the world toward a solution on this issue. In any case, this organization has proven itself, it has a fantastic reputation. I'm proud of what Current TV was able to do. We had an excellent lineup of programming but as an independent in an age of conglomerates without deep pockets we faced a point, even though we were profitable each year, where we had to make a move. And this organization I think is a very good addition to the U.S. television dial.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.