A Note on the Deal Between Al Jazeera and Current TV

The Newspaper of Record pointed out an observation with regard to the Current-Jazeera deal that this observaporter had not heard before: “[Al] Gore, one of the best-known proponents for action to combat global warming” decided to sell his struggling network “to a Middle Eastern monarch built with oil wealth.” For obvious reasons, some seized on that and cried hypocrisy. The simple fact that al Jazeera, an excellent news outlet, is wholly owned by a king and his family appears no more illegitimate than corporate ownership of media in our country. Reasonable people can disagree, but to me it is clear that neither our Free Press nor the most popular and respected TV station in the Arab world are really independent. A large chunk of the New York Times is owned by a Mexican mogul named Carlos Slím. The old gray lady is no more likely to run an exposé on him than Jazeera is going to investigate al-Thani, the Qatari royal. The principle is transnational: Do not bite the hand that feeds you.

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