Al Gore defended his sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera during an appearance on Tuesday's "Today."
Gore was on to discuss his new book, "The Future," but Matt Lauer went a bit off-topic and talked about the roughly $500 million sale of the low-rated network to the Qatari channel. Current TV will soon be dissolved to make way for Al Jazeera America, the network's most aggressive attempt yet to crack the US market.
Lauer noted that Gore had pulled in a reported $100 million from the sale, and wondered why he had pulled the plug.
"I thought it was something that you had an ideological interest in, so why did it become just an investment in the end?" he asked.
"Well, it didn't," Gore said. "I'm really proud of it. We found it difficult to compete in this age of conglomerates, and I'm very pleased that A Jazeera has established itself as a really respected newsgathering network."
Lauer noted what many Current staffers had reportedly complained about: that Gore, a fierce advocate for tackling climate change, had sold his company to a network funded in large part with oil money.
I certainly understand that criticism," Gore said. "I disagree with it, because I think Al Jazeera has obviously long since established itself as a really distinguished and effective newsgathering organization -- and by the way, its climate coverage has been far more extensive and of high quality than any of the networks here."
"Isn't there a bit of hypocrisy in that?" Lauer pressed.
"I get the criticism," Gore repeated. "I just disagree with it ... its climate coverage has been outstanding."