Every once in awhile, network television can still produce some hard-hitting interviews. Case-in-point: Matt Lauer confronted Al Gore on his "hypocrisy" surrounding the sale of his former network Current TV to Al Jazeera, which is in part owned by the oil-rich country of Qatar.
Skeptical? Just read some of Lauer's tough questions:
• Was that [buying Current] always just an investment to you? Maybe I was naive, I thought it was something you had an ideological interest in in, so why did it become just an investment at the end?
• And yet even as you sold to Al Jazeera, you in the book blast other television news programs saying this [he then read this quote from Gore's new book]:
• And the critics jumped. 'Here's the guy who just sold Current TV to Al Jazeera, which gets an undetermined amount of funding from the country of Qatar, which gets its money from oil reserves.' Isn't there a contradiction in that?
• But if they get funding from a country that bases its wealth on fossil fuels, and fossil fuels are the enemy you target in climate change, isn't there a bit of hypocrisy in that?
How did Gore respond? He squirmed a bit and said things such as:
• "As an independent network, the only independent news and information network, we found it difficult to compete in an age of conglomerates. And I’m very pleased Al Jazeera has established itself as a really respected news gathering network.”
• “I certainly understand that criticism. I disagree with it. I think Al Jazeera has, obviously, long since established itself as a really distinguished and effective news gathering organization. And by the way, its climate coverage has been far more extensive and high-quality.”
• “Well, I get the criticism. I just disagree with it, because this network has established itself. It’s objective, it’s won major awards in countries around the world and its climate coverage, as I said a moment ago, has been outstanding and extensive.”
Watch the hard-hitting interview below:
This story has been updated.