The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

WHY DO I FEEL AWKWARD ABOUT THIS?

Gore is going for it:
An investor group headed by former Vice President Al Gore said Tuesday it is buying a cable channel and launching a news network that will offer "irreverent and bold'' programming for young adults.

The group is buying the Newsworld International channel from Vivendi Universal Entertainment for an undisclosed sum. The deal with Gore's company, INdTV Holdings, was announced during a cable industry convention in New Orleans.

Newsworld International is a 24-hour channel broadcasting international news produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. It is seen in about 17 million North American households, according to Vivendi.

Gore said the network will be "an independent voice in this industry'' with a primary target audience of people between 18 and 34 "who want to learn about the world in a voice they recognize and a view they recognize as their own.''

"This is not going to be a liberal network, a Democratic network or a political network,'' Gore said at a news conference.

The programming will continue to be provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corp., officials said.

Gore will serve as chairman of the board and said he will devote most of his time to the network. Also announcing the acquisition was Joel Hyatt, an entrepreneur and former finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee who lost a bid for the Senate in Ohio in 1994.
I'll definitely give this a chance. But I gotta say, my overwhelming feeling about this is skepticism. From the looks of it, Gore has finally figured out what he should have a long time ago about Fox News and its talk-radio bretheren: In most cases, they aren't attractive because they advertise themselves as conservatives, but rather because they advertise themselves as the center, regardless of what they actually are. Gore's been all over the media in the past year talking about starting a liberal news network which, while a worthwhile project, betrays itself to its potential viewership without any of the subtlety that has allowed Fox to exert so much influence.

It appears, from Gore's description, that he has learned the lesson here, but it may already be too late.

Who knows? It may turn out that Gore's network will just be 24 hours of Daily Show reruns, and that wouldn't be all bad. But since he bought the channel from the Canadians, they can throw an episode or two of The Kids in the Hall in there if they want.

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