WASHINGTON, January 7, 2013 ― So greed is good, is it? Word has it that Al Gore is set to pocket between $70 and $100 million from a deal between him (and his partners) and Arab TV. Specifically, Qatar-funded Al-Jazeera has forked over $500 million to buy Gore’s Current TV, a cable channel that floats somewhere out there in Newton Minow’s “vast [television] wasteland.”
Most Americans have never heard of “Current TV,” though we have heard of Al-Jazeera. Media pundits are already jumping all over this, complaining that with this access into our living rooms, “Islamist” Al-Jazeera may pollute our news.
You mean it can get worse than than it already is from our existing major networks? You mean news reporting can get even more biased?
You mean there will be more America-hating, more Israel bashing – even more than we already get from Tom Friedman and Bob Simon?
We don’t need Hanan Ashrawi to go on Al-Jazeera to justify terrorism. We keep getting her on CNN. So there’s nothing to fear; the harm’s been done from within. Outsiders are redundant.
I am, however, nothing but impressed by a gambler who cannot lose, such as Julian Rothschild, in The Prince of Dice, who learned how to toss the helicopter from Slim Sam Belmont in Vegas and got those dice to land on the money.
Moreover, Julian was blessed.
Most gamblers are not blessed, and I have hung around them all my life, at the racetracks, at the casinos, even wrote bestsellers related to gambling, and trust me, for every winner there are a thousand losers – but here comes Al Gore!
What luck! As Sultan Ibrahim Hassan tells Joshua Kane in Indecent Proposal, “Luck is everything.”
From the same novel, “The man is so rich that even when he loses, he wins.”
That’s Al Gore in a nutshell. He loses out for the White House, but keeps on gambling and keeps on winning.
Gore “produces” a slide show about global warming and gets it to win two Oscars, topped off by a Nobel Peace Prize and a lot of cash (reported $1.56 million).
Al Gore is a gambler’s rabbit foot.
Take me to the place where this guy shoots craps. I’ll bet what he’s betting.
Give me the numbers he’s playing at the lottery machine over at the 7-11. I’ll have what he’s having.
Give me a day at the races with this guy and even if he bets against the sensational Ramon Dominguez at Aqueduct, I’m in.
If he picks Manny Pacquiao over Juan Manual Marquez next time they meet, I will go with Lucky Al, bashfully and reluctantly, but I am with Al.
Around the track, degenerates are always asking, “Know anything?”
As for me, yes, “I know Al.”
Or they ask, “Got a good thing?”
Yup. “I got Al.”
Political railbirds tell me that Al’s windfall proves Liberal hypocrisy. Well of course it does. The man sold his principles (if he ever had any). But years ago, when I asked Homer, the racetrack chaplain and my pal, how he felt about accepting tainted money, he quickly said: “Only trouble is, t’ain’t enough.”
Like too many other politicians and “social activists,” that is, people who tell the rest of us how to behave, Al’s been faking it all along.
So then Lucky Al gets himself a cable news channel and this happens: Nothing. Nobody watches. I am told that the audience for Current TV may be around 42,000. That’s about the size of a tweet.
Who could they be, these people, other than fanatics for Keith Olbermann and Bill Press?
But wait. Apparently Lucky Al’s cable network has the means to reach 60 million American households, and that clinched it for Al-Jazeera.
Immediately after the deal, Time Warner, so I hear, announced that it is cutting any and all parts of this operation. But that came after the money was deposited and banked. Or so it appears. Isn’t there a law against such foreign intrusion into our news? Will there be an investigation? Or – is it a done deal?
My instincts, as a gambler, tell me that the horses have already left the gate. No refunds.
Jack Engelhard is a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba Deadline, The Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, his memoir Escape From Mount Moriah, and Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist is Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer, bring his words to the Communities page covering all topics, with special focus on the absurdity of human behavior, and reaches around the globe.
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