For example, Time magazine and others have made much of Gore’s dabbling in talks about starting up a possible cable alternative news source to compete against Fox News. (Funny, that was what everyone else in the civilized world thought MSNBC and CNN were for.)
But according to sources, Gore is doing more than dabbling. He’s actually been holding pretty serious meetings with pretty serious people about an L.A.-based news/talk show cable outlet.
How serious? Well, Steven Rattner is a fairly high profile media investor who also happens to be a liberal Democrat who threw a ton of money at Bill Clinton, and then Gore. He manages an investment firm that has had serious dealings with Comcast Corp., one of the largest cable TV providers in the country. And through Gore’s meetings with Rattner, the Democratic presidential loser has managed to wrangle several meetings with Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.
“Gore can have all the money in the world, but if the cable operators won’t carry the network, it’s useless to talk about it,” says a source familiar with Gore’s discussions. “Right now the talk is less about the network and more about would people carry the network on cable if it existed.”
More to the point, would Gore be able to broadcast on a digital platform, which is the standard by which most cable operators want new channels to operate on? “If Gore’s operation won’t be digital, it would make it tougher to get him into a system. Digital is key to his,” says the source.
Comcast has a huge reach across the country, and Rattner has ties to other media businessmen. And he has some sway financially. His investment firm is said to have placed more than $50 million of its money in Comcast’s expansion.
“It’s not that hard seeing this thing happening down the road,” says the source. “But what everyone should realize is that this is more likely Al being bored and looking for something to do. He’s like Clinton — he likes to see himself in the news.”p> McENTEE THE MACHIAVEL
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