Goal of Al Gore's Current TV? 'Compete with MSNBC from the Left'
It's too bad -- the Al Gore of the mid-1980s would have likely built a populist vehicle to compete with ratings leader Fox News. (Maybe PJTV or Reason TV should look at going cable to give it a try from the right, though why go technologically backwards?) Instead, ideology has caused him to build a channel to compete with MSNBC, a channel mostly watched by coastal elites and the Occupy Wall Street crowd when they're not occupying their bedrooms at mom's house. It's very much akin to radio's Air America (remember them?) thinking that their opponent was Rush Limbaugh, when in reality, it was NPR and the rest of the MSM, which serves up the same leftwing news, but in dulcet tones, rather than with spittle-flecked in-your-face invective.
Incidentally, this passage from Kurtz's article is a riot:
What is clear from the correspondence is that the relationship was dissolving amid a flurry of mutual recriminations. Gore had welcomed Olbermann as the new face of a little-watched network, anointing him chief news officer and giving him an equity stake in the operation. Gore had dealt with big egos in politics, but he and Hyatt told colleagues they had never dealt with anyone quite like Olbermann.
Translation: Keith Olbermann makes the even more misogynist Bill Clinton seem like a grown-up in comparison -- and, similarly, Eliot Spitzer a welcome alternative. Especially when you add these details to the equation:
According to Mediaite, a source at Current TV said the former Countdown host went through eight different car services while working at the network, complaining that the drivers “smelled” and “talked to him.”
Furthermore, though Olbermann’s $250,000 studio was built to his exact specifications, he allegedly refused to use the set when there were lighting problems back in December. Not only that, but he refused to let guest hosts use the elaborate studio.
Current TV is also claiming that Olbermann refused to publicize the network and the show when he wasn’t hosting his program (and he took about half of January and February off). They say he even barred his staff from sending out related Twitter updates, and prevented guest hosts from promoting the show. (Jealous that they would get better ratings, perhaps?)
As the late Andrew Breitbart told me when I interviewed him for the first time in 2005, and as John Nolte repeatedly notes at the Breitbart-created Big Hollywood, ideology trumps bottom-line profit time and again when it comes to Hollywood. The same is true on cable TV as well. (See also: Winfrey, Oprah -- and CNN as well.)
Update: If Spitzer doesn't do the trick, there's another former NBC "newsman" nearly as petulant as Olbermann, whom Current could turn to.