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Time Warner Drops Current TV After Al Jazeera Purchase

By German Lopez · January 9th, 2013 · City Desk

Cincinnati’s largest cable provider announced Jan. 3 that it will drop Current TV after its sale to Pan-Arab news network Al Jazeera. 

After the deal was reached, Al Jazeera announced plans to gradually transform Current TV into Al Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus and hiring more journalists. But immediately following the acquisition by Al Jazeera, Time Warner released a statement saying it would remove the service as soon as possible. 

Al Jazeera has faced an uphill battle reaching American audiences.

In 2010, Tony Burman, managing director of Al Jazeera’s English branch, blamed hostility from the Bush administration for reluctance among cable and satellite companies to carry Al Jazeera. 

But at least part of the reluctance is due to the perception from some that the Qatar-based network is anti-American. Dave Marash, a former Nightline reporter who worked as Al Jazeera’s anchor in Washington, D.C., left Al Jazeera in 2008, saying he sensed an anti-American slant. Despite problems establishing a foothold in the United States, Al Jazeera has built a substantial following for hard-hitting news, and it earned multiple U.S. journalism awards in 2012.

Al Gore confirmed the sale Jan. 2. The former vice president cofounded the left-leaning Current TV in 2005 to provide an alternative perspective in media through user-generated content. But the network struggled, making multiple programming and personnel changes in its quest to become relevant.

TheBlaze, Glenn Beck’s media company, also tried to buy Current TV. But the network declined, reportedly saying, “The legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view.”



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