Full Transcript of the segment is below:
GLENN: So Al Gore made a nice little sum of money last night, it was announced.
STU: Just a hundred mill, though.
PAT: Just below the surface of this deal there are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.
GLENN: Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal. Al‑Jazeera has agreed to purchase the U.S. cable channel current TV in an effort to expand their Qatar‑based news service U.S. audience.
Now, I just want you to understand this. Current TV is a miserable failure and it spent a ton of money, got into 60 million households and then had no viewership and so they went up for sale. Al‑Jazeera is not going to take over Current and use their current shows or even call it Current. It’s going to be Al‑Jazeera USA. All they were buying was access to your home. 60 million households is what Al Gore got that thing up to. That’s a lot of households. To put that into perspective, at one point wasn’t that HLN? Wasn’t that 60 million wasn’t ‑‑
STU: I think HLN was higher but like a Fox News is in 90 million give or take. So that’s like full distribution is 90 to 95 million, in that range.
GLENN: Yeah. 60 million is huge distribution. So they are not going to ‑‑ what they sold were the 60 million households. Not the programming or anything else.
STU: Yeah, programming will be, quote, dissolved.
GLENN: Dissolved. Okay. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but a person familiar with the matter said Al‑Jazeera paid a few hundred million dollars for Current TV. I don’t know what I can say and what I can’t say. The network was co‑founded by Mr. Gore and the entrepreneur Joel Hyatt in 2005 and it has been recently struggling with low ratings.
Al‑Jazeera, which is owned by the government of Qatar became famous in the U.S. about a decade ago in its Arab language outlet aired videos of Osama Bin Laden in the wake of September 11th.
Now let’s put this into perspective of what Al‑Jazeera is. Al‑Jazeera is a Qatar government outlet that ran every terrorist video and hates America.
PAT: Absolute anti‑American propaganda piece.
GLENN: Al‑Jazeera’s making a strong push in the American market to ‑‑ with its purchase of Current TV, blah, blah‑blah, blah‑blah.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. From the Wall Street Journal. Remember I’ve said, “Oh, someday I’m going to write a book, and I’ll tell you some things that are happening behind the scenes.” Well, a few people here at this network know a story that the Wall Street Journal now has revealed. So I can tell you a little bit about it. But someday I will write a book. Here’s what the all street journal has printed. Mr. Hyatt said they agreed to sell Al‑Jazeera in part because, quote, Al‑Jazeera was founded with the same goals we had with Current.
GLENN: Think of that. This is the co‑owner with Al Gore. We believe that they were founded with the same goals, including to give voice to those whose voices are not typically heard and to speak truth to power. Other suitors who did not share Current’s ideology were rebuffed. Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze approached Current about buying their channel last year but was told, quote, the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view.
PAT: That is astounding.
GLENN: Let me ‑‑ let me tell you what happened. How many months ago? I don’t know how many months ago. When we found out that Current TV was going to go up for sale, it was rumored to be, what, $250 million is what they were asking, and I don’t have $250 million lying around, but we wanted access to 60 million households and so we discussed it and we thought we can somehow or another find $250 million, $300 million. Somehow or another we might be able to do it.
Now, we didn’t know if we were willing to trade whatever it is we would have to trade to be able to get access to that kind of money. Do I want that kinds of debt? Do I want a partner? What am I going to have to give up? So we were very ‑‑ we were exploring and we thought, well, before we put any real thought into this, let’s call Al Gore. Let’s call Current and find out. And I wasn’t involved in any of the negotiations by any stretch of the imagination. We have people who are negotiating all of these things. We called them and said let’s just look. Because wouldn’t I love to buy Current. And so our people called, and a rough outline of the conversation is this, and I’m only telling you this because the Wall Street Journal has said that it is there. We have conversations that are confidential and we don’t ‑‑ I’m not going to tell everybody’s story on the air. The Wall Street Journal is reporting this story. So I want to give you the full story.
So we call up, and I don’t even know who we talked to but, you know, it was the person handling the negotiations. And our person says, “We would like to talk to you about buying Current.” Great, great, fantastic. So who is Mercury exactly? “Umm… (mumbling)… but let’s talk about, so how much are you…” “Excuse me. Who is Mercury exactly?” “It’s a wholly owned subsidiary of Glenn Beck.” “Excuse me?” “It’s Glenn Beck’s company.” “It’s Glenn Beck’s company?” Silence. “That one is going to probably have to go to the vice president. Al Gore’s probably going to have to answer that one. I don’t… we’ll call and we’ll get an answer and then we’ll call you back.” No kidding, within 15 minutes, brrrppp, we get a call back. “Yeah, umm‑umm, no, not even interested. We ‑‑ our legacy is too important and there would quite frankly be too many people, too many friends that the vice president would have to explain why he’s selling to Glenn Beck.”
STU: I’m sure there would be.
GLENN: Our legacy is too important. We’re not ‑‑ no. No.”
Okay. Not surprised.
GLENN: Not surprised. Not a shock that, I mean, I wouldn’t sell to Al Gore. I’m not going to sell to Al Gore.
STU: Yeah, you’re going to sell the plays to Al Gore? No.
GLENN: Now, now let’s look at it, let’s look at this. If I’m ‑‑ let’s use a neutral nonpolitical party. If I’m Walt Disney and I believe in creating Walt Disney World and it’s ‑‑ and I’m going to sell it now, I don’t sell it to Wal‑Mart. And Wal‑Mart says, “You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to take the parking lot, we’re going to plow all that stuff under and we’re going to put a big huge box store at the end where that castle thing is. We’ll just put a Wal‑Mart there.” I’m not going to sell it unless I have ‑‑ unless my park is out of business and I have no choice anyway because I’m just out of business. And so I’m a capitalist and I say highest bidder gets the land, man. I tried something, it didn’t work, I’m going to go ‑‑ I’m going to go try to figure out how to add a third hour, I’m going to try to figure out how to, you know, how to open a park and make it work. I’ll come back to this at some point. So ‑‑ but it’s highest bidder because I’m a capitalist.
Then I sell it to Al Gore. Then I sell it to Al Gore because I’m going to take that money out and I’m going to start something new again.
STU: Right. You don’t test the ideological purity of people when you sell your home. They can come in like you’re selling your land to the highest bidder.
GLENN: I have sold homes to people I do not like. I don’t care. I don’t care. So here’s the thing. That’s not what happened. That’s not what happened. He didn’t sell to the highest bidder. We were not allowed to the table. He didn’t sell to the highest bidder. He looked for, who do I ideologically align with.
PAT: And that is Al‑Jazeera. That is amazing.
GLENN: The vice president of the United States of America tells you that he is more ideologically aligned with Al‑Jazeera than an American broadcaster who believes in America, just doesn’t believe in what he does, believes that America is a good place, that America is ‑‑ has a bright future ahead of it if we just do the right thing, a guy who believes that global warming is nonsense. But being responsible with our planet is a good thing. Finding new ways to pioneer energy is a good thing. He finds ‑‑ Mr. Global warming finds that less connectible than a foreign government that makes all of its money through oil and gas reserves. That’s amazing.
PAT: Just that part is astounding.
GLENN: That’s amazing.
STU: And not to mention the guy who is ‑‑ was vice president of the United States and was 537 votes away from being president during 9/11 is ideologically aligned by his own definition with the network that Osama Bin Laden went to every time he wanted to get a message out.
GLENN: That’s incredible.
PAT: And they were credible, too.
STU: Of course.
PAT: They weren’t ‑‑
STU: This is his distribution channel.
GLENN: Mmm‑hmmm. So now listen.
GLENN: We in the end didn’t have a choice when it came to this network, but we in the end continued to ‑‑ I mean, we had a ‑‑ believe me, we had lots of laughs. We wear this as a badge of honor. We wear this as a badge of honor. We had lots of laughs, but in the end we decided that we would have to give up too much control to somebody if we had to borrow that kind of money. We’re just not going to do it. I’m not going to do it. I’ve been reading an awful lot about people like Edison and people like Walt Disney. You know, Walt Disney, I don’t know if most people know this. Walt Disney was so frustrated in the late 1950s that he almost left his own company. He almost left Walt Disney studios, Walt Disney productions because he couldn’t take it anymore. He couldn’t take the ‑‑ he couldn’t take the micromanaging, he couldn’t take the shareholders and having to answer to anybody else. He almost left. They almost sold RKO to him. RKO, if anybody ever ‑‑ you know, It’s a Wonderful Life is an RKO picture. RKO was huge, huge, and then it hit a rough spot and it just disappeared. And I never knew what happened to RKO. Who knows.
Well, they approached Walt Disney and said, “Would you want to ‑‑ are you interested in buying RKO, the library and also all the studios and everything else?” And he said, you know what, yeah. And he sat down at the negotiating table as Walt Disney. Not Walt Disney company. Walt Disney. And was going to leave the Walt Disney company and go to RKO and start a new movie company because he was so frustrated with Hollywood and everything else in his own company that he couldn’t do it. And he had leveraged himself and everything else and he was frustrated. By the way, RKO eventually was sold to Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. That’s Desilu Studios, for anybody who cares.
So we’re not going to ‑‑ I’m just not going to give control, which is so frustrating. I had a meeting this morning Stu was in and he was mocking me yesterday on the air and this idea that I have, and I’m not giving up on it, is mid‑seven figures, maybe closer to eight figures in cost, and I’m telling you we need to figure out a way to do it. Now, I don’t know how to do it. I had the another meeting right after Stu left the office where I’m like, “Get these people on the phone. They will know how to.” Anyway, we’re just not going to get ourselves into debt and we’re not going to do crazy things that will have us answer to anybody but our principles. We answer to our principles alone. And I am proud to say that Al Gore finds my principles reprehensible but aligns himself with the principles of Al‑Jazeera.
Now here’s what I want to tell you: We were looking for a shortcut to get into 60 million homes. There is no shortcut. There is no shortcut. If you want to retain your soul and your principles, there is no shortcut, and we know that. What we want to say to you is in a few weeks there will come a time where we ‑‑ we want to ask you to look at your cable provider or your satellite provider and ask, out of the nine million channels that I’m paying for, are they providing ‑‑ are they providing the news and information and the entertainment that you want, that you want. Because you’re the ones who control the ‑‑ it’s not the corporations that control all this stuff. You do. If you say to your cable operator, “I want this channel and I don’t want ‑‑ I don’t want you to take off Al‑Jazeera. I don’t want you to take off Current TV.”
I mean, did anybody ask themselves, why did I do a deal with DISH where I was debating Eliot Spitzer? Do you have any idea what hell that was for me? I mean, my business partner said, “Glenn, I can’t believe you’re doing this and I can’t believe you’re doing it with a good attitude and I am so sorry that I have to ask you to do this.” And I said, you’re not asking me to do it. I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to do it. I believe in what I’m doing. I am not going to say I believe in Eliot Spitzer or Current TV, and I’m not going to debate him. I’m just not going to do that. However, I believe in DISH. I believe DISH said, “Here’s Current TV and here’s TheBlaze and we believe in diversity. We believe in providing what customers want.” That’s why I did it. Because they’re carrying us. Because they believe in you.
In a couple of weeks we’re going to ask you and if ‑‑ you know, I just want you to look at your cable operator or whatever and if you have ‑‑ if you’re so moved, call your cable operator and just say, “Hey, are you going to carry TheBlaze?” We’ll ask you in a couple of weeks if you would look into that for us. But there are no shortcuts in life. No shortcuts in life. And a victory again, a strange victory. Again, Al‑Jazeera, as we predicted, there will come a time when they will not be afraid to reveal who they really are. Al Gore says that he is more aligned with Al‑Jazeera than anybody else that came to the table and wanted to buy Current TV. Wow. Congratulations, Mr. Vice president of the United States of America. Back in a minute.