Al Gore wants to be a media mogul.
Perhaps it’s time to give him a little lesson on the First Amendment.
But first, in case you missed the news, the former vice president is planning to launch an all-news channel geared to the hip, under-25 set. He’s careful not to position it as an ideological mass-media weapon.
“Liberal TV is dead on arrival,” an adviser to the project told Advertising Age magazine. “You just can’t do it.”
Gore is leading a team of investors who are just two weeks away from striking a deal with Vivendi Universal Entertainment to acquire Canadian-based cable network Newsworld International for about $70 million, Advertising Age reported.
The adviser told the trade publication the proposed network will look like a synthesis of CNN and MTV, positioning itself as “a professional news operation reaching an aware, younger, hipper audience.”
However, some observers think Gore’s association with the network inevitably will brand it as a partisan, Democratic Party operation.
I have a bigger concern, however. Al Gore is hardly a friend of the First Amendment.
For three years, WND has battled a $165 million defamation lawsuit brought by Al Gore’s top fund-raiser in his home state – Clark Jones.
The multimillion-dollar case was brought by Jones, a Savannah, Tenn., car dealer and former Tennessee State Democratic Party official. A comprehensive investigative series on Al Gore by reporters Charles Thompson and Tony Hays, published by WorldNetDaily.com during the closing months of the November 2000 presidential election, reported that Jones had allegedly been under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as a drug dealer. Jones vehemently denied dealing drugs, but TBI Deputy Director Ed Holt confirmed that such an investigation had taken place.
Jones, who had raised more than $100,000 for Gore’s campaign and, sources say, frequently bragged to other Tennessee businessmen about his close links to Gore, was reportedly humiliated by Gore’s loss of his home state, which cost Gore the election. The series on Gore and his cronies, including Jones, arguably played a significant factor in Gore’s loss, according to some Tennessee political observers.
“I don’t think it’s an accident that the No. 1 independent Internet newssite was targeted by powerful and wealthy friends of the losing presidential candidate – and that the suit pertained to an investigative series that may well have cost that candidate the Electoral College votes he needed for victory,” I said at the time. I stand by that comment today.
Understand that this lawsuit would be dropped in a flat second if Al Gore wanted it to be dropped.
Understand that WND did nothing wrong and libeled no one in the publication of this exhaustive series.
Understand that anyone who would support such a lawsuit has a real problem with a vigorous press doing investigative reporting into presidential candidates and their past.
Is this the kind of man we need behind yet another cable news network in this country?
By the way, as this costly lawsuit continues, our only recourse is to fight it every step of the way. If you would like to help us offset the enormous legal costs involved in the defense of this high-profile First-Amendment case, you may make a tax-deductible donation directly to the U.S. Justice Foundation.
Alternatively, donations can be made (but not tax-deductible) to WND’s Legal Defense Fund online, by calling WND toll-free at 1-800-4WNDCOM, or by mailing a check – made payable to WorldNetDaily Legal Defense Fund – to: WorldNetDaily.com, Inc., P.O. Box 1087, Grants Pass, OR 97528.