Al Gore Accuses Al Jazeera of Bribing Cable Companies w/His Money
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.
This is the story of Al Gore, Al Jazeera and the Forty Thieves. To begin with, Al Gore pulled in special favors to get Current TV on a lot of cable networks. Al Jazeera specifically bought Current TV to get its state propaganda channel carried on major carriers.
Those carriers however had no interest so Al Jazeera had to bribe them, particularly Time Warner Cable, and it did so with Al Gore’s money.
Al Gore is not happy. Not happy at all.
Last week, Al Gore and Joel Hyatt filed a lawsuit against Al Jazeera for withholding $65 million in escrow from the $500 million purchase of Current TV.
What was it doing with that money? Spending it to get cable companies to carry their Jihad network.
Although Al Jazeera has run into issues with distributors, Gore and Hyatt attempt to forward the proposition that they did everything they could to help launch Al Jazeera America. The lawsuit says that Hyatt personally intervened to get all of the distributors but TWC to consent to the Current TV sale. There’s also word that DirecTV only picked up Al Jazeera America after a “ransom payment” came from Current.
Then there’s strong hints (in a section that contains numerous redactions) about the ramifications of Al Jazeera America’s distribution deal with TWC.
Initially, upon news that Al Jazeera would acquire Current TV, TWC dropped the news channel. The cable company already had an agreement with Al Jazeera over another network called Al Jazeera English, but it allegedly wasn’t a very favorable one. That prompted termination. A few months after TWC took Current off its dial, the cable company came around to an agreement to carry Al Jazeera America. But the deal had issues. “Like the prior AJE-TWC Agreement, the AJAM-TWC Agreement was ill-advised, one-sided and unprofitable for Defendant,” says Gore’s lawsuit.
That might have raised larger problems for Al Jazeera thanks to the inclusion of “most favored nation” provisions in Current’s old contracts with distributors. Under those MFNs, if Current TV gave one distributor a better deal, it was required to allow the other distributors the same.
“Defendant actually informed its other distributors that their respective MFN provisions had been triggered by the wildly one-sided terms of the new AJAM-TWC Agreement,” says the lawsuit. “As a result of the triggering of these MFN requirements, all of AJAM’s distributors received an enormous windfall — overnight, they went from [redacted] …The AJAM-TWC Agreement therefore effectively denuded the extensive revenue-generating distribution agreements that Plaintiffs had built for Current TV, turning what had been pure revenue for Current Media into net expenditures for Defendant.”
And now that Al Jazeera wishes to claw back tens of millions of dollars from the purchase of Current?
According to the plaintiffs, this represents “an attempt to get the Former Members [like Gore and Hyatt] to foot the bill for the financially disastrous post-acquisition business decisions” of Al Jazeera’s executives.
From some of the assertions, you can tell that Gore’s lawyers are preemptively defending against obligations that they had to Al Jazeera. So it’s not entirely obvious who is screwing whom.
It’s possible that Gore did not manage to hold up his end of the deal. It’s also likely that Al Jazeera execs are so used to blowing oil money that they showed very little discretion, especially once they decided that it would come out of Gore’s pile.
Either way the whole thing is turning into a hilarious comedy with Al Jazeera having paid for a cable network that has fewer views than most YouTube channels and Al Gore getting screwed out of both his environmental reputation and his money.
Gore and Hyatt allege that Al Jazeera hired a consultant who helped them realize they could “curry favor with the distributors at no cost by helping the distributors make claims against the sale proceeds remaining in the Escrow Balance, which proceeds rightfully belong to the Former Members.”
In other words, those lawsuits by AT&T and DirecTV against Al Jazeera, which Al Jazeera has fought tooth and nail to keep away from media outlets intent on inspection? There might have been more going on.
Al Jazeera allegedly concocted a plan to encourage distributors to file baseless claims so that Al Jazeera in turn could access escrowed money.
And so everyone got screwed.
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