Irony alert: Al Gore sues Al Jazeera for fraud

posted at 5:31 pm on August 16, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Honesty, it’s difficult to know where to begin tracking the irony in this story. Al Gore launched Current TV in large part on the financial and political basis of his global-warming crusade and entrepreneurship, which predictably went nowhere even with high-profile headliners like Keith Olbermann. Gore then improbably convinced Al Jazeera — which is owned by the royal family of the oil-pumping emirate of Qatar — that the channel was worth a half-billion dollars on the basis of its penetration into cable and satellite-TV systems in the US. That deal, by the way, got cinched only after Gore began accusing some of those cable and satellite system operators of bigotry for threatening to drop Current TV’s slots if the deal went through — which would have cost Gore a $100 million payday.

Fast forward eighteen months, when Al Jazeera America is no more a household name than was Current TV before the sale. According to Gore, they’ve balked at making payments on the bloated cheeseburger he sold them, so Gore is suing them … for fraud:

Former Vice President Al Gore has filed a lawsuit against the Middle Eastern media group Al Jazeera, accusing it of fraud and breach of contract in its $500 million purchase of Mr. Gore’s Current TV cable channel.

The dispute centers on Al Jazeera’s refusal to turn over “tens of millions of dollars” remaining in an escrow account and still owed to the selling shareholders of Current TV, according to a statement from David Boies, the lawyer representing Mr. Gore and a Current TV co-owner, Joel Hyatt, who are suing on behalf of all the selling shareholders.

“Al Jazeera America wants to give itself a discount on the purchase price that was agreed to nearly two years ago,” Mr. Boies said. “We are asking the court to order Al Jazeera America to stop wrongfully withholding the escrow funds that belong to Current’s former shareholders.”

Well, if anyone knows about fraud, it’s Al Gore. After all, he’s the same man who took the half-billion-dollar deal from the Qataris while claiming not to be a hypocrite about climate change by drenching himself in oil money. He shouldn’t be surprised at the sudden refusal by AJA to pay the overpriced bill for the bill of goods Gore sold them. After all, as a wise man once intoned: “There’s no such thing as ethical oil.” Unless they’re stuffing the proceeds into your pocket, of course.

But Gore isn’t the only practitioner of irony in this tale of woe. AJA, which styles itself as a news outlet, wants the court proceedings to remain under seal:

The complaint has been filed under seal at the request of Al Jazeera, though Gore and Hyatt have filed a motion seeking to unseal it.

“We do not believe that our complaint should be sealed,” Boies said. “However, despite being a news organization, Al Jazeera America has said that the full complaint should be kept from the public file.  We have therefore filed the complaint under seal until the Court can resolve this issue. We expect that the Court will reject Al Jazeera America’s argument.”

That’s a hell of a news instinct, Al Jazeera! Even this, though, reflects back on Gore. Recall that Gore accused the cable and satellite providers of being bigots for even considering the idea of dropping Current TV from their line-ups if the sale went through. How did Gore make that argument? He insisted that AJ “has obviously long since established itself as a really distinguished and effective news gathering organization.” Don’t forget that the context of those remarks to Matt Lauer was Gore’s accusation in his book that other news outlets had sold out to Big Oil … an accusation before Big Oil came knocking on Gore’s door, of course.

All that said, AJ should pay the price agreed for Current TV, unless it has better evidence of fraud. When the deal went through, the New York Times estimated the clearance for Current TV at upward of 40 million homes in the US; today’s estimate puts it at over 60 million. Even if, as the NYT’s report yesterday notes, AJA “has been slow to develop an audience,” that has nothing to do with the deal for Current TV, which was entirely about access — access that Al Jazeera couldn’t get on its own, thanks to the lack of interest in news from the Qatari perspective in the US. “Slow” is right, but a better word might be “retreating”; they’re getting only 17,000 viewers a night during prime time this year. Compare that to what Current TV did with Olbermann two years earlier:

Executives at MSNBC had no public reaction on Friday to Mr. Olbermann’s departure from another channel. But Nielsen ratings demonstrate that Mr. Olbermann was not able to recreate his success there.

In his 40 weeks on Current TV, he had an average of 177,000 viewers at 8 p.m., down from the roughly one million that he had each night on MSNBC. Just 57,000 of those viewers on any given night were between the ages of 25 and 54, the coveted advertising demographic for cable news. Still, Mr. Olbermann ranked as the highest-rated program on Current.

Olbermann got more than three times the viewers in the demo as AJA gets overall now — and that was considered a failure. If nothing else, this proves that it wasn’t bigotry that kept Al Jazeera off of US cable and satellite systems before the Current TV sale.


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Well, if anyone knows about fraud, it’s Al Gore.

I had to stop and catch my breath here, Ed. Too funny.

hawkdriver on August 16, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Poor bastard-rejected by the voters of his own home state in the 2000 Presidential election, and now this?

Del Dolemonte on August 16, 2014 at 5:37 PM

I feel no pity for this fraudster. He got his hundreds of millions selling a lie. He’s reaping what he sowed.

sadsushi on August 16, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Ahahahahahaha.

Too damn funny, they deserve each other.

Tough pickle for Hillary, though. Does she side with Algore, or does she back up her earlier claims of Al-Jazeera being a “real news” organization?

Aizen on August 16, 2014 at 5:38 PM

This was one time I wanted only the layers to win. But David Boies? Can’t root for him.

rbj on August 16, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Al Gore is super serial about this!

WestVirginiaRebel on August 16, 2014 at 5:41 PM

It takes an Al to know an Al.

Bitter Clinger on August 16, 2014 at 5:43 PM

This was one time I wanted only the layers to win. But David Boies? Can’t root for him.

rbj on August 16, 2014 at 5:39 PM

I was surprised to discover Boies is still Gore’s lawyer. After all, some of his antics in the 2000 Florida recount debacle made me believe he went to the Law School at Moe Howard University. We only hear about the final 3 rulings against Gore by SCOTUS, but along the way to those Boies’ “arguments” were regularly rejected at the lower levels of the Florida Courts (including Federal Courts there, where many of the rulings against Gore in fact came from Democrat Judges).

Del Dolemonte on August 16, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Btw, will Al Jazeera issue a fatwa on Gore for this heresy?

Bitter Clinger on August 16, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Had the planets lined up wrong he could have been our president and what a disaster that would…..,..oh, wait..

butch on August 16, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Just call Algore “the Count”.

He went from counting ballots in Florida to counting millions from shams.

Bitter Clinger on August 16, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Lie down with dogs…

Axion on August 16, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Had the planets lined up wrong he could have been our president and what a disaster that would…..,..oh, wait..

butch on August 16, 2014 at 5:46 PM

BDS much?

How would President Gore have prevented 9/11 from happening, or failing that, how would have President Gore responded to those attacks?

Take your time!

Del Dolemonte on August 16, 2014 at 5:54 PM

AJA is the new AOL Time Warner. With Al Gore playing the role of Steve Case.

LashRambo on August 16, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Quatar funds terrorism. Anyone who gets in bed with them or RT can go to hell.

Blake on August 16, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Didn’t some conservative group want to buy Current TV to make a conservative channel but he wouldn’t sell it to them because he didn’t share their values?

Occams Stubble on August 16, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Wait…now that you mention him, Olberman on AJ would be a match made in heaven!

PattyJ on August 16, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Chuckle.

CW on August 16, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Pssssssst

Ah, the sound of my wet finger touching the hot irony.

Or it could be just the air being let out of a giant windbag. Hard to tell.

Dolce Far Niente on August 16, 2014 at 6:11 PM

Didn’t some conservative group want to buy Current TV to make a conservative channel but he wouldn’t sell it to them because he didn’t share their values?

Occams Stubble on August 16, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Yup. Glenn Beck tried to purchase it but was rejected.

Aizen on August 16, 2014 at 6:13 PM

Take your time!

Del Dolemonte on August 16, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Reference was to our present disaster. For clarity.

butch on August 16, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Al Jazeera TV doesn’t want to pay — probably because their ratings are in the toilet. Someone wrote the other day that they’re so low, they’re almost ‘unrateable’ lol.

WhirledPeas on August 16, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Uh oh …

… ‘death cult of islam’ to declare a fatwa on the ‘Crazed Sex Poodle’ in … 3 … 2 … 1 …

Pork-Chop on August 16, 2014 at 6:24 PM

I think for the first time ever, I’ll back a sure winter, Al Jazeera.

COgirl on August 16, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Mercury one pays their bills.

wolly4321 on August 16, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Al Jazeera should use as its defense, “My counsel tells me there is no controlling legal authority that says that is any violation of any law.”

anuts on August 16, 2014 at 6:37 PM

So, those that care, know that the death cult of Islam teaches that lying to infidels is A-OK in order to meet your goals as a cultist Mooslim.

I guess Algore should have studied up a little better about who he was getting into bed with.

Couldn’t have happened to a more corrupt, wacko leftist LOON and eviro-scam D-Bag. Karma’s a beeyatch.

Meople on August 16, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Well, with the oily David Boies involved it’s bound to be legit….

/

viking01 on August 16, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Irony, with a heaping side dish of schadenfreude.

eMatters on August 16, 2014 at 6:58 PM

A major scene in An inconvenient truth, showing antarctic ice shelves calving, was actually CGI from the opening scene of a science fiction movie, The Day After Tomorrow.

That alone should have been enough to invalidate his reputation, but it was ignored…

Tard on August 16, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Eric “Hustler” Holder would comment on the legality of it but he was busy looting in St. Louis.

viking01 on August 16, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Irony alert: Al Gore sues Al Jazeera for fraud

Between that headline and the pic on the homepage, I’ll admit it–my interest was piqued and I started chucklin. As I read, the chuckles turned into laughter, then guffaws.

Now I’m hurtin’ so badly…I have a crick in my back from rockin’ back and forth in mirth, my facial cheeks (not to be confused with the *ahem!* southern cheeks) hurt, my ribs are aching something AWFUL, my tummy hurts so bad I can’t straighten up very well in my chair, tears are falling from my eyes…I’m a real mess here!

Where’s Doc when you need him?

Help!

Newtie and the Beauty on August 16, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Al Quaeda

Al Jazeera

Al Gore

HMM…

Exninja on August 16, 2014 at 7:23 PM

Al Gore thinks this situation stinks!
.
It’s hard to find a current, full length picture of ManBearPig, probably because his girth is approaching that of the glutton Marlon Brando. He may be sensitive about his size but unwilling to stop consuming all the food he can stuff into his mouth!

ExpressoBold on August 16, 2014 at 7:35 PM

I’m a real mess here!

Help!
Newtie and the Beauty on August 16, 2014 at 7:21 PM

.
That’s just downright mean…

HMM…

Exninja on August 16, 2014 at 7:23 PM

.
Shouldn’t that have been Al-HMM….?

ExpressoBold on August 16, 2014 at 7:38 PM

There is no honor among…….

itsspideyman on August 16, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Not a good day for ManBearPig.

307wolverine on August 16, 2014 at 8:28 PM

As a renowned climate expert, shouldn’t he know that accusing people of fraud is libelous?

RINO in Name Only on August 16, 2014 at 8:33 PM

Animal house…you effed up, you trusted us

jaywemm on August 16, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Take your time!

Del Dolemonte on August 16, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Reference was to our present disaster. For clarity.

butch on August 16, 2014 at 6:18 PM

OK, but a sarc tag might have helped.

Del Dolemonte on August 16, 2014 at 9:27 PM

A major scene in An inconvenient truth, showing antarctic ice shelves calving, was actually CGI from the opening scene of a science fiction movie, The Day After Tomorrow.

That alone should have been enough to invalidate his reputation, but it was ignored…

Tard on August 16, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Useful Idiots, and all that…

Del Dolemonte on August 16, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Is there any chance that both parties in the suit could lose?

Wait… They already did.

Nevermind.

trigon on August 16, 2014 at 10:08 PM

When a substantial number of Current employees quit, citing abandonment and hypocrisy from Al, that should have been the wakeup call to everyone right there.

Those employees were right.

“You see that dingy way off to port? That’s the captain. He’s left the ship.”

unclesmrgol on August 16, 2014 at 10:38 PM

Al Gore invented the internet.
No one is watching Al Jazeera on cable/satellite and instead get their news from the Internet.
Al Gore is responsible and should not be paid the previously agreed upon price.

airupthere on August 16, 2014 at 11:25 PM

Caveat emptor, Qatar.
Do your research.

AesopFan on August 17, 2014 at 1:20 AM

First off Gore was selling a pig in a poke.

Second off he told Al-Jazzy it was halal pork.

Third off Al-Jazzy paid for it.

Now they want to reneg on their purchase price?

Why don’t they ask for their money back and give Current TV back to Gore?

Irony isn’t the word for it.

Too many dipsticks in the diphole is more like it.

ajacksonian on August 17, 2014 at 7:59 AM

bwahahahahaha….

crosshugger on August 17, 2014 at 9:05 AM

For some reason that awful channel now pops up on my AT&T cable news lineup. I want it gone.

And, Algore should be in jail for his flimflam man hoaxes.

Fallon on August 17, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Irony alert: Al Gore sues Al Jazeera for fraud

Yes, Al: There is a DOWNSIDE to doing business with people whose religion tells them they are free to lie to you and cheat you if you are not their kind of Islamist.

(File this one under DUH!!!)

landlines on August 18, 2014 at 2:27 PM

…and then there is an old saying:

“If you lie down with dogs, you get fleeced!”

…or something like that…

landlines on August 18, 2014 at 2:36 PM