When former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and his partners sold their cable-television network Current TV to Al Jazeera in a deal announced Jan. 2, it made headlines around the world.
But it appears the Arabic news organization wasn’t the only media conglomerate to make an offer. According to former Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck, his own company made an offer to buy Current TV, but Gore refused to sell to the conservative pundit.
On Thursday night, Beck appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” to discuss his offer to purchase Gore’s Current TV network. The interview, available for viewing via the Hollywood Reporter, is full of slams of Gore, Current TV, and Al Jazeera.
At the beginning of the interview, Beck said that, while he believed Current TV is worth only one-half of the $500 million Al Jazeera paid for it, he still had a company executive call in and make a bid for the network.
However, once Gore’s people learned Beck behind the offer, Beck said, they completely shut him out of the equation.
“Within 15 minutes, they called us back and they said, ‘The vice president has a reputation, and under no circumstance will he ever entertain an offer from Glenn Beck,” the former Fox News commentator told O’Reilly. “We weren’t allowed to the table.”
Beck owns Mercury Radio Arts, the company that produced the show he previously had on Fox News. While Beck’s show continued to maintain high ratings, it was canceled after advertisers pulled their support because of Beck’s increasingly radical comments.
During the rest of the interview on “The O’Reilly Factor,” Beck and O’Reilly blast Current TV’s new owner, Al Jazeera. While the Arabic network has come under fire for perceived anti-American bias in some of its reporting from time to time, Beck appeared to go off the deep end Thursday night.
At one point, O’Reilly asked Beck, “How do you process it personally when you’re more loathsome to Al Gore than guys who glorify Osama bin Laden?"
“I want that on my resume. It’s a badge of honor,” Beck responded. “[Gore] said that his network and Al Jazeera were launched on the same values -- the network that was hiding information about Osama bin Laden. And, beyond that, the people who started it, and launched it, stone women and homosexuals in their streets. Wow. I’m proud to not have the same cornerstone of values as Al Gore.”
Beck went on to say that Al Jazeera is “an organization that, on the weekend, has a regular, like, Jesus show, except it’s all about Muhammad where they’re talking about, ‘Oh please, Allah, give me the courage to stone the Jews to death.”
While Beck seems to have some strong opinions on Al Jazeera, it’s worth noting that most of his statements have little basis in reality. While Al Jazeera did in fact air several tapes from terrorist leaders such as bin Laden on the basis that they were newsworthy, no evidence has come to light that the TV network had any information on the terrorist's whereabouts.
Beck’s comments about “ston[ing] women and homosexuals in their streets” are in reference to civil unrest in the country of Qatar, whose officials Beck seems to blame for lax law enforcement. Until 2011, Al Jazeera was funded almost entirely by the government of Qatar. Both before and after becoming independently owned, the network has claimed editorial independence.
No matter which way you slice it, Al Jazeera's journalists -- who have been praised by many, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for their impartial coverage -- are certainly not the people Beck is making them out to be.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.