In Italy, It’s Al Gore Vs. Rupert Murdoch

Former veep angry Sky Italia dropped Current TV

Al Gore is on the offensive against Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation following the sudden news that Gore’s liberal-leaning television network, Current TV, will be pushed off Italian airwaves based on the network’s recent hiring of Keith Olbermann.

According to Gore, Current TV was abruptly told that it would no longer be carried by Sky Italia, a News Corp. holding and the only satellite television platform in Italy, because of its decision to bring Olbermann on board next month. In his time as an anchor on MSNBC, Olbermann was open about his liberalism and frequently criticized News Corp. and Fox News for its conservative bent. "News Corporation is an international conglomerate with an ideological agenda," Gore told the Guardian. "It seeks political power in every nation they operate. They wield that power to shut down voices that disagree with the agenda of Rupert Murdoch." 

A spokeswoman from Current TV told Adweek that on Thursday night, Gore would be appearing on the top-rated Italian news program Santoro on RAI, the Italian state-owned broadcaster that is the largest television company in Italy. Though Gore’s clash with News Corp. occurs in the midst of a dramatic election season in Italy, with a run-off vote scheduled for less than two weeks from now, Santoro bumped its election coverage to arrange for Gore’s last-minute appearance on the show.

Current TV has broadcast a number of documentaries that have painted Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his government in a negative light, including Citizen Berlusconi, which is about the hazards of placing a media titan in elected office. Now, between Berlusconi’s vast personal media holdings and the reach of state-controlled media in Italy, Current TV finds itself needing Berlusconi as it looks to find a new carrier in the country.

Gore co-founded Current TV six years ago; it launched in Italy three years later.