Al Gore blasts News Corp for ‘ideological agenda’
Former US veep furious after Murdoch closes down his Current TV in Italy
Former US vice president, Al Gore, has launched an unusually forthright attack on Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, saying the company has an "ideological agenda" and "seeks political power in every nation" where it operates.
Gore's fury was provoked by the announcement that Sky Italia, a News Corp subsidiary, would no longer carry his factual TV channel, Current TV. Gore says he was told privately that Current TV has been dropped because it hired left-wing US political pundit Keith Olbermann.
Olbermann styles himself as a left-wing version of the conservative shock jocks who dominate Fox News. His Countdown with Keith Olbermann, which airs on MSNBC, was set up in opposition to the likes of Bill O'Reilly and other Fox stars.
Olbermann announced in February this year that he would be joining Current TV as chief news officer and would continue to host a one-hour show there in the same time slot as MSNBC's Countdown.
Speaking to the Guardian yesterday, Gore said he was in no doubt that the decision by News Corp to drop Current TV in Italy was ideologically motivated.
He said the news came three weeks ago as a "complete shock" when his execs were told "off the record that the decision was taken on News Corp instructions from New York".
He added: "Olbermann has often been critical of News Corporation. News Corporation is an international conglomerate with an ideological agenda.
"It seeks political power in every nation they operate. They wield that power to shut down voices that disagree with the agenda of Rupert Murdoch."
Referring to Murdoch's operations in the UK, Gore said: "I know that News Corp is close to reaching an agreement to buy BSkyB.
"Now I may not be a party to that debate, but if anybody believes that [News Corp] will remain hands off if there are diverse opinions that do not agree with its ideological agenda then they are fools. This is proof positive of their abuse of power."
As for Olbermann, he rose to his leader's bluster with his own
(borrowed) rhetoric. Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, he promised: "We shall defend our (network) whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on the beaches; we shall fight on the landing grounds; we shall fight in the fields and in the streets; we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender! Rupert, you have been warned."
News Corp insists that Current TV was dropped for commercial reasons.