Al Gore believes Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. dropped Current TV from Sky Italia because the former vice president hired Keith Olbermann.
The media conglomerate claimed the decision was “purely commercial,” as Current asked for more fees while prime-time viewing had fallen 40% in the past year.
In a statement obtained by The Wire, Current disputes these numbers:
“News Corporation is taking liberties when they claim Current TV asked Sky Italia for double the carriage fee. In fact, we never offered any number to them before we were summarily informed that they were dropping us. News Corporation is further taking liberties by claiming that Current Italy’s ratings “dropped” by conveniently comparing only the first quarter of 2011 to 2010 in its entirety. In actual fact, Current Italy’s ratings increased by 550% in 2010 compared to 2009.”
In an effort to fight the removal of “Italy’s only independent information channel,” Gore traveled to Europe in support of Current.
“In democracies depends on independent journalism that is untethered and unafraid,” he said in a release. “We at Current have dedicated our international media platform to unleash truth tellers. I came to Italy to personally ask Current’s loyal viewers here to tell Sky they want to keep Current.”
Gore fears the decision will leave Italy without a viable source of non-News Corp. news. He’s probably correct.