There’s nothing wrong with getting rich, mind you, or in turning a turkey like Current TV into a big payday; on the contrary, doing well by doing good is pretty much a universal goal.
But now, of course, he and his partners have sold Current for $500 million to al-Jazeera, the state media company of Qatar, which has the largest per capita carbon footprint of any country in the world, and is financed by the dirty fossil-fuel business Gore so abhors.
And just how does raking in $100 million petrodollars, Gore’s reported share, mesh with his life’s mission? In an interview last year, Gore said the importance of “reducing our dependence on expensive, dirty oil” can really only be understood in light of the “main reason for doing this, which is to save the future of civilization.”
Although the deal’s been widely criticized on the right, most of my progressive friends have a more tolerant, or even admiring, reaction: “After what happened to him,” in the recount of 2000, one friend told me, “I’d forgive him almost anything.” Another, a politically active environmentalist, was even more positive: “I don’t think the community is too upset,” he said. “My personal sense is he got a good deal.”
There’s no question about that. But given his many financial opportunities, why do something that so undercuts his message and credibility?
He said in a statement that the common goal of Current TV and al-Jazeera is “to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.”
Translation? When put out to pasture, oh do graze in the tall grass — and don’t get too fussy about who signs the checks.