It’s called the free market, Al, you have the right to hire Olberdouche, and Murdoch has the right to dump you from Sky Italia. You can’t have it both ways.

(Guardian) — Former US vice-president Al Gore has hit out at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, accusing it of “an abuse of power” by forcing his liberal TV station off air in Italy because it did not fit in with the media giant’s “ideological agenda”.

In an interview with the Guardian, Gore said the Current TV news and documentary channel was told unexpectedly three weeks ago that it could no longer be carried by Sky Italia because of its decision to hire a US left-leaning commentator often critical of Murdoch’s company.

He added that the decision reflected how News Corporation operated worldwide. “News Corporation is an international conglomerate with an ideological agenda. 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,” Gore said.

The decision, he added, was “a complete shock” but Current TV executives were told “off the record that the decision was taken on News Corp instructions from New York”. The primary reason, he said, was “because Current is launching Keith Olbermann next month”.

Olbermann — who styles himself as a leftwing alternative to the rightwing shock jock journalism of Fox News — worked at rival cable news network MSNBC until he left abruptly in January. This came after he was briefly suspended by MSNBC in November for making donations to three Democratic candidates in the midterm elections without seeking prior approval, in breach of company rules. “Olbermann has often been critical of News Corporation,” Gore added.

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