Aired January 12, 2013 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKNhqPjnANY
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of January 13th, 2013.
I never liked Al Gore. Something about him – the smugness, the silver spoon, the hypocrisy – (we’ll get to that). And for all his left-wing democratic ideals, he married a woman whose claim to fame was begging Congress to put warning labels on record albums. Because in 1985, the greatest threat to our country was not Russia or the Middle East or poverty or famine but the Ramones. So there was always something shifty about Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. Lord knows, his jet-setting lifestyle seems a little out of sync with his altruism about sustainable energy, but okay, it’s not as if we expect him to live in a hut. Neil Young can build electric cars, but he’s still tooling around in a `56 Crown Victoria.
Anyway, most of what skeeved me about Al Gore I couldn’t put my finger on. I think a lot of liberals felt that way when George Bush stole the presidency out from under him. After eight good years under Bill Clinton – we didn’t know how good we had it – people still couldn’t bring themselves to pull the lever for Mr. Internets. True, the former vice president scored brownie points by making a movie about global warming. It left most people global sleeping but still, it was the right message that should have been listened to then and now. And with a whole TV network at his disposal, Gore had the chance to make a real difference in the content and dissemination of news around the world.
That his network, Current TV, failed financially is no shame. But his response was mind boggling – he sold it to Al Jazeera. That’s right, ground zero for Arab propaganda, Al Jazeera, now gets a bigger hoofhold in America. Al J paid Al G 500 million dollars for the privilege of reaching Comcast, Dish Network, Verizon and your local Etch-a-Sketch.
Now, let’s be fair. Most of the time, Al Jazeera functions as an objective journalistic outlet that covers the Arab world more directly than Rupert Murdoch or Reuters ever could. But make no mistake: Al Jazeera was founded and financed by people very close to the ruling family of Qatar. Yes, the network is privately owned – by the cousin of the Emir. And American journalists who have worked for Al Jazeera have complained that everything on it has an anti-American or anti-Israel slant. Remember – this was the place Osama bin Laden would mail his Mp3s to.
“Oh Rabbi,” I hear you say, “if the Zodiac killer sends his messages to the San Francisco Chronicle instead of to the cops, do you blame the paper?” No, and you can’t fault Al Jazeera for running with the story, even if their superstar was a mass-murdering lunatic that they could have helped bring to justice. As such, you can be wary of a network that lives to pish on the Western world. And if I want to watch Israel bashing in the guise of news, I don’t need Al Jazeera; I’ll just put on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now.”
Al Gore did not have to do business with these people. If there can be entire networks devoted to game shows or old soap operas, surely Gore could have found a buyer with a 24-hour skateboarding channel, or a new MTV that actually plays music videos. And hey, Tipper’s now history, so you can even leave the obscenities in.
The biggest obscenity is that Mr. Gore, who has spent 30 years warning the world about oil being so scarce, how drilling depletes our natural resources and changes the weather, how pollution is melting the arctic, how there are so many cleaner and more efficient ways to make energy – this Al Gore just pocketed half a billion dollars from a company founded on the profits of oil drilling, consumption, fake shortages and price fixing. Not to mention a country governed under family dictatorship and Sharia law.
For years, I felt bad that I didn’t vote for Al Gore in the 2000 election. I went with Ralph Nader, because I believed his rap about Democrats being just as lousy as the Republicans – that both parties are owned by the same mega-corporations and drug companies. Nader was right, but eight years of Dubya also proved him wrong. I used to wonder how different America would have been had Al Gore been president instead of Bush. Now I know. He would have sold New Mexico to Saudi Arabia and made Mahmoud Ahmedinejad chairman of the B’nai Brith.
I am not one to advocate censorship. I’m not saying, “Hey everyone, call your cable provider and threaten to go back to rabbit ears if Al Jazeera gets a channel.” But the price of freedom is vigilance. If Current TV now morphs into wall-to-wall Intifadeh, with the most popular show being “Two and a Half Men Blowing Up Three and a Half Synagogues,” you know what to do. After all, the Arabs have spilled rivers of American blood. Must they now have blood and Gore?
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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