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Who said Al Gore must have fallen off the face of the earth? Wrong! He’s back, bigger and better than ever, trying to become the Roger Ailes of the left.

As first reported by Time magazine, the reason Gore hasn’t been heard of lately is that he’s been busy behind the scenes, trying to put together a new media empire. The former vice president is rounding up venture capitalists to help to launch a new cable TV and radio network featuring progressive talk-show hosts.

No, Gore’s idea is not to make himself the nation’s newest cable news anchor. Thank God. Let’s face it, he’d make Jim Lehrer look like Chris Matthews. Instead, he wants to provide a forum, which does not exist today, featuring progressive voices like Molly Ivins, Al Franken, Michael Moore – and maybe even Phil Donahue.

Pundits are already having a field day, imagining the opening Gore TV line-up: Martin Sheen starring in the new primetime series, “Left Wing”; former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, hosting “Truth or Consequences”; a new comedy called “Six Feet Under,” with alternating hosts John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt, Bob Graham, Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley-Braun and Al Sharpton; plus the new reality show, “The Bachelor,” hosted by former president Bill Clinton.

Very funny! But, remember, they laughed at Ted Turner, too, for thinking Americans could swallow a 24-hour cable news channel. And they laughed at Rupert Murdoch, for thinking Americans were ready for a conservative news channel. Sure, you can laugh at Al Gore, but his idea is no crazier than theirs was in the beginning.

As vice president and candidate for president, Gore often complained about airwaves dominated by conservative voices like Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News Network, which he called a “fifth column” that injects “daily Republican talking-points into the definition of what’s objective.” So now he’s determined to do something about it – and there’s a good chance he’ll be successful.

This is not rocket science. From a business point of view, it’s like planning a new restaurant. You wouldn’t open another pizza parlor in a neighborhood that already has three of them. Same with talk radio, where no liberal voices are heard. And same with cable networks. There’s already one right-wing network: Fox; one, right of center: MSNBC; and one middle-of-the-road, leaning more and more right: CNN. What’s lacking? What’s the business opening? A good strong, liberal, radio and TV network.

And there’s certainly a big market for it. The idea, oft-repeated by conservatives, that there are so few liberals on the airwaves because nobody wants to see or hear them is nonsense. How to explain the astounding success of Michael Moore, whose liberal blockbuster “Stupid White Men” hit No. 1 on Amazon.com within days of publication and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year?

Or if there were ever any doubt about the huge, hungry and unsatisfied liberal audience lurking out there, didn’t Hillary Clinton settle that question once and for all? In just one week, Simon and Schuster recovered the former First Lady’s entire $8 million advance, selling 600,000 copies of her new book – and her book tour has barely begun.

“Living History” could become the best-selling nonfiction book ever. Who says liberals don’t buy books?

Let’s face it. America needs Al Gore’s new network, or one like it. There’s no liberal media anymore. Conservatives have taken over. All four waves of communication – radio, TV, print and Internet – tilt so far to the right, it’s hard to find a liberal voice anywhere.

Check out the opinion pages of any newspaper. There are far more conservative columnists than liberal, and they appear in far more newspapers. Check out cable talk shows. There are three conservative hosts or pundits for every one liberal. I’m one of the few.

And check out talk radio. Daily, conservative hosts include: Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy, Ollie North, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Michael Reagan, Roger Hedgecock, Bob Dornan, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Savage and others. There is not one – not one! – nationally syndicated liberal talk-show host.

Why? Not because there’s no liberal talent out there, but because the existing networks won’t hire them.

Al Gore to the rescue. Finally, somebody willing to stop complaining about the conservative media and start an alternative. It’s about time. I’m ready for Al Gore TV.

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