One of America's great legal rackets is cable/satellite television, where somewhere around 100 million Americans pay for literally dozens of channels they never watch. As you well know, to do business with any cable/satellite provider means being forced into expensive tiers and/or packages that include channels we wouldn’t watch for free. Because of this, we're not only forced into subsidizing junk; we're also subsidizing programming that works against our own political and cultural beliefs, like MSNBC, CNN, OWN, MTV, etc.
Most of us only have access to a single cable outlet, and that outlet's only competition is a couple of satellite providers that offer similar packaging and pricing. And it is this corrupt set-up that allows cable channels to thrive regardless of how many people watch them. It's a legalized con that's been in place for decades, and everyone but the consumer has made out like a bandit
You see, the primary goal of a cable channel like Al Gore's Current TV is not to attract viewers, it's to attract distributors. If you can convince DirecTV and a handful of cable giants to carry your lousy network, you're an instant gajillionaire because those distributors pay you what's known as a subscriber fee. I've read that Current TV -- a dismal failure that on a good night attracts 40,000 viewers -- was still able to make $100 million per year because -- on top of advertising -- it was carried in somewhere around 40 million homes and received a subscriber fee for each household.
Long story short: The value of a cable company has little to do with how many people actually watch and everything to do with how many people have access to watch.
This is important background to have if you’re going to fully understand just how reprehensible Al Gore's behavior was in securing the sale of Current TV to Al-Jazeera.
Forget the fact that this tax-the-rich hypocrite tried to save himself millions by jamming the sale through before taxes rose after the end of the year; forget the fact that a former vice president of the United States sold out to an openly anti-American cable network embraced by terrorists; forget the fact that Mr. Global Warming sold out to a network funded solely with oil money… In order to personally pocket a reported $100 million, Gore resorted to racial blackmail:
Al Gore’s Current TV was never popular with viewers, but it was a hit where it counted: with cable and satellite providers. When he co-founded the channel in 2005, Mr. Gore managed to get the channel piped into tens of millions of households — a huge number for an untested network — through a combination of personal lobbying and arm-twisting of industry giants.
He called on those skills again after deciding in December to sell Current TV to Al Jazeera for $500 million. To preserve the deal — and the estimated $100 million he would personally receive — he went to some of those same distributors, who were looking for an excuse to drop the low-rated channel, and reminded them that their contracts with Current TV called it a news channel. Were the distributors going to say that an American version of Al Jazeera didn’t qualify, possibly invoking ugly stereotypes of the Middle Eastern news giant?
“The lawyers for the carriers couldn’t find their way around it,” said a person briefed on the negotiations who described them on condition of anonymity.
Al Jazeera is an anti-Semitic, anti-American scourge throughout the Middle East, and it was one of our biggest enemies during the darkest days of the wars in Iraq an Afghanistan. But in order to secure $100 million he doesn’t need, Gore threatened to accuse providers of racism if they dared drop the channel, which would've most certainly resulted in a lower selling price.
Imagine a former United States' vice president giving Axis Sally a platform just after the end WWII and threatening a radio or television network if they refused to hand over their airwaves as a platform for her.
That's exactly what Al Gore's done -- all in the name of tolerance.
You see, we have to tolerate hate and intolerance directed towards America and Israel, in the name of diversity. But what will not be tolerated is intolerance of Al-Jazeera's hate and intolerance, because not tolerating hate and intolerance directed towards America and Israel is its own form of hate and intolerance.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC
***This post has been updated for clarity.