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Why Al Jazeera bought Al Gore's Current TV (+video)

Al Jazeera's purchase of Current TV, the news network cofounded by former Vice President Al Gore, boosts Al-Jazeera's reach in the US nearly ninefold to about 40 million homes. Jazeera plans to add more US bureaus and transform Current TV to 'Al-Jazeera America.'

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With its purchase of left-leaning Current TV, the Pan-Arab news channel Al-Jazeera has fulfilled a long-held quest to reach 60 million US homes. But Current's audience immediately got a little smaller.

The nation's second-largest TV operator, Time Warner Cable Inc., dropped Current after the deal was confirmed Wednesday, a sign that the channel will have an uphill climb to expand its reach. Now, Current TV reaches about 40 million US homes.

"Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service. We are removing the service as quickly as possible," the company said in a statement.

Still, the acquisition of Current, the news network that cofounded by former Vice President Al Gore, boosts Al-Jazeera's reach in the U.S. beyond a few large U.S. metropolitan areas including New York and Washington nearly ninefold to about 40 million homes.

Gore confirmed the sale Wednesday, saying in a statement that Al-Jazeera shares Current TV's mission "to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling."

Al-Jazeera, owned by the government of Qatar, plans to gradually transform Current into a network called Al-Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists. More than half of the content will be U.S. news and the network will have its headquarters in New York, spokesman Stan Collender said.

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