Thursday, January 3, 2013

Time Warner Cable unplugs a Current

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?


Samuel Wilson said...

There's also an English-language news channel from Russia on the cable lineup somewhere -- or at least there was before the turn of the year. I'm sure someone will deem that one an enemy-propaganda channel at some point. Time Warner also did away with the old Ovation culture channel, so the disappearance of Current may have been planned before the al Jazeera purchase was reported yesterday.

hobbyfan said...

As I understand it, TWC's contract with Current had expired, and with the purchase by Al Jazeera, TWC wasn't about to renew, I think.

I think that Russian channel is still there, but Ovation? Outta here? What happened?

magicdog said...

I'm definitely not one of current's audience, but my small dish makes it available anyway.

Al Gore was also offered money for the channel by Glen Beck - who owns Blaze TV (also available on dish) but apparently he felt he was more aligned politically with Al-Jazeera. Fancy that. It's also been reported Gore wanted to rush the deal, as the 2013 tax hikes were looming and he wanted to keep the money he would have made from the network's sale. Fancy that! He's acting like a one percenter!

Be very afraid as this is allowing radical Islam an even bigger foothold in the US.

hobbyfan said...

As I noted, Time Warner dropped Current due to their contract expiring, and haven't committed to Al Jazeera America. I'd think that, if it is a political issue, they won't. AJA will probably bomb out here even faster than Current did.