Saturday, May 07, 2005

Al Gore Gets Down

Al Gore Gets Down
By Ari Berman, The Nation. Posted May 4, 2005.

With Al Gore's progressive cable channel, what began as an effort to challenge the right-wing domination of the corporate media has transformed into a business proposition to lure a youth audience. Story Tools

During a town hall meeting on MTV in 2000, Al Gore dismissed a question about the rapper Mos Def. Throughout his career, Gore viewed hip-hop music, even when practiced by a politically conscious artist like Mos Def, as an undignified form of political expression. "Gandhi once said you must become the change you wish to see in the world," Gore said of hip-hop. "I don't think it's good enough to say, 'Well, we're just reflecting a reality.'"

Five years later, on a spring night in San Francisco, none other than Mos Def was anchoring the pre-launch party for Gore's new youth cable channel, Current, reflecting a reality of a different sort--that of the television business, where hipness trumps values. Gore was there too, trying to pump up enthusiasm for what he claims will be an entirely new approach to news and culture. Looking bulky but relaxed, Gore asked the diverse young crowd, "How many of y'all would like to see an opportunity to talk about what's going on in your world that you can participate in with television?"...