If you were channel surfing Wednesday night, and you're a Time Warner Cable subscriber, chances are you ran across a sudden black hole in your digital tier.
Current, the network launched by former Vice President Al Gore in 2005, has been sold to, of all things, Al Jazeera, which plans to relaunch the channel as Al Jazeera America later this year. However, because of alleged ties to Al Qaida, among others, Time Warner isn't taking any chances. According to a report on Yahoo! News, TWC closed off the channel space previously occupied by Current on Wednesday, as the network, barely over 7 years old, signed off for good.
Was this move political? It certainly seems that way. While Al Jazeera reps have said that they have the same goals, there is some skepticism, considering that the core Al Jazeera network in the Middle East has been used by the late Osama bin Laden and his followers for propaganda purposes, leading many to think that Al Jazeera America would serve a similar purpose here, despite claims to the contrary. The downside, though, is that, according to cable consultant Cathy Rosenberger in an interview with the New York Times, and excerpted by Yahoo!, "there is a limited amount of interest in international news in the United States".
Despite that, TWC recently added BBC World News as a channel, slotted right alongside sister network BBC America. This, obviously, was the result of the network having a half hour newscast airing on PBS for a long time, and getting enough of a response, such that TWC was willing to take a chance on it.
Hmmmmm, ya wonder if there's a double standard at work, kids?