Al Gore cashes in on Current TV

Why timing of sale is significant


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," January 3, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: All right. Brace yourself, folks. Al Gore's failed cable venture Current TV has just defied gravity. It's been sold to Arab-owned Al Jazeera for a reported $500 million. And his take could be up to $100 million of that.

The New York Times is reporting that Gore and his partner, of course, wanted the sale done before President Obama increased taxes on the rich. Ironically, just a couple months ago, Mr. Gore said this.


AL GORE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The single most popular proposal we had was to reduce taxes on working people and lift the higher rate. Let's give an incentive to work. And let's ask the most fortunate in our society, including me and you --


GORE: -- to do our fair share. And we ought to do that again.


PERINO: In a statement, Gore and Current cofounder Joel Hyatt say their network shares the same goal with Al Jazeera and they are proud and pleased about the purchase.

I guess you can't expect them to say anything else.

And, Eric, you would expect them to do what humans would do, which is to try to get a deal done before the taxes went up, right?


PERINO: Is there not anything hypocritical here?

BOLLING: I'm not sure if it's hypocritical. Al Gore, love him or hate him, the guy has put together quite a portfolio. He's done well with some of the green energy companies he's invested in. He's done well with this.

I did -- we're trying to point out here, as he tried to get that sale done to the group, Current TV tried to get the sale done before the end of the year so that they could be subject to lower capital gains tax, lower tax rates, et cetera, et cetera. Would that be hypocritical? Maybe, maybe not.

I think the real important point here is Current TV sold for $500 million -- $500 million.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: It's interesting.

PERINO: Right. This is a network that Time Warner Cable, which provides the service, was actually going to, was looking for a way to get out of providing Current TV because they had such low ratings. And how is it that a vanity network Current the sells for $500 million?

GUTFELD: That's a lot of massages. I mean, Al Jazeera, I mean, come on, they're stupid.

Here's an interesting story. I think we did it last year. There were these coffee beans that were being digested by elephants. And kilo of them, of these digested coffee beans, were being sold for $1,100 a kilo. So, the Current TV deal now shatters the record as the most expensive piece of crap ever.


BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Is that where you were going to that whole thing?

GUTFELD: It was hard. I'm on cough medicine. I got through it, though.

PERINO: So, Al Gore is going to serve on the board, as Al Jazeera makes its entry. They are now, Bob, they're going to have access to possibly up to 40 million households that would be able to now see Al Jazeera, which has been called anti-American and anti-Israeli and pro-Islamic in some cases. They get some praise for the foreign policy coverage.

But what do you think of this?

BECKEL: Well, first of all, what they paid for here was the carriage. Another was they paid for that $40 million or $48 million whatever you believe the number to be. A single household is worth a lot of money. It's got a value on the marketplace to have it in there.

Now, Eric and I were talking about this on the break. It may be these cable operators and not just Time Warner, by the way. They may decide when the contract is up with Current, which is owned by Al Jazeera, they will drop it.

But I assume Al Jazeera thinks that they're going to be able to put on a product that's going to be able to sell. But it's not a lot of money -- I mean, it's a lot of money. And think about cable television, just what this network alone is worth.

BOLLING: And that's a good point. If Al Jazeera pays $500 million for Current. Think about this. In the neighborhood, if a house down the block, small house, sells for a lot more money than anyone in the neighborhood thought it would sell for, it raises the value of all the houses in the neighborhood. That's a massive price tag on a place like this.

PERINO: Andrea, do you think people in America, are they longing for another network? I mean, they weren't watching Current TV, anyway. And that was with the former vice president, Al Gore. Are they going to watch an Arab, Qatar, however you say it, it's financed by that government, financed by oil money.

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: That's the point I've been waiting to wait. Isn't this the most important point, that Al Gore has been lecturing us on green energy? That's how he made his money, that's how he became a multimillionaire. And yet, the government of Qatar owns Al Jazeera.

Qatar, big oil producing company, a member of OPEC, that strong-arms the United States all of the time. I mean, the hypocrisy of this makes you want to puke.

Will it be success? Will people go to it? Hillary Clinton loves it. She said once that it's successful because it's, quote, "real news." And then she went on to say, you may not agree with it, but you feel like you are getting real news instead of a million commercials and, you know, argument between the talking heads and the kind of stuff we do on our news.

She thinks she's talking about "The Five"?

GUTFELD: Do you know what they should call it, though? Air Qatar.


BECKEL: That's very good.

You know, one thing about this, though, let's keep this in mind. Most networks, including our own, did not spend that much time covering foreign policy stuff. There is a constituency out there for foreign policy. And it may be that they are carrying foreign news, maybe something to sell.

BOLLING: How about the BBC?

GUTFELD: They suck.

BECKEL: Well, the BBC, we carried BBC.


BOLLING: My point is there are 40 million households have to figure out, do they want to -- do they want to tune in to Al Jazeera network's coverage of foreign policy which may or may not --


TANTAROS: If you want an anti-West outlook? Sure.

GUTFELD: Can I read some of the code words from their press release. They're going to present diverse points of view, i.e., left wing to leftist. Stories that no one else is telling. Every story off the Media Matters press release, obviously.

The facts and truth that lead to a better understanding of the world around us. Please, America, bow more.


PERINO: Al Jazeera is not the only government that is trying to get access to American market. The Chinese finance media company Xinhua actually has the biggest billboard in Times Square, and they're trying to make a move.

And America has done some of this, through the State Department. Remember they created Alhurra, in response to Al Jazeera. And they just -- they cannot get a foothold. It's because it doesn't feed in the biases about -- being against America, and against Israel.

BECKEL: You remember The Washington Times when it was still around, I guess it still is around.


BECKEL: But it was a conservative paper in Washington. It was owned by Reverend Son Muhn, who is Korean. I think every country wants a piece of this market.

GUTFELD: You know --


GUTFELD: You know what you get for $100 million, though? You get a mini fridge, and a camera and old pair of Olbermann's depends.

PERINO: That is the other thing, is that if you look at the people that Al Gore has assembled on his network, he is not a good manager. He didn't hire great people.

BECKEL: But he obviously can make money.

TANTAROS: Wait, I can Olbermann's depends?


PERINO: I have Time Warner Cable, so I'm clearly switching cable companies.

TANTAROS: I was trying to elevate the dialogue.


GUTFELD: You tried but you failed.

PERINO: Once again.

BECKEL: No, Greg, you brought it so low, tough to get it up.

GUTFELD: I know.

BECKEL: That's right.

PERINO: We're going to --

TANTAROS: Oh, gosh.


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