I'm proud of what we did with Current TV, and I'm proud of the sale because Al Jazeera is an outstanding and highly respected news-gathering network, and I think its addition to the TV dial will be a big plus.
Current never reached a huge audience. Why not?
Primarily because we are in an age of conglomerates, and an independent network that does not have the ability to promote itself with free advertising on sister networks faces a severe disadvantage. In spite of that, we were profitable every year, we won every major television journalism award, we had a fantastic investigative team, we did a great job.
What did you learn as a media entrepreneur?
Viewer-created content cannot yet serve as the basis for a news network. YouTube lost money for years, but they were purchased by Google and have been a great success since then, but not with news gathering.
Glenn Beck is sore that you wouldn't sell Current to him.
[Laughs.] And your point is?
He says you're hypocritical for making a lot of money and living well while telling people they need to change their lifestyles for the sake of the planet.
I'm proud to have had a successful business career in several fields. I make no apology for that. But I walk the walk. I have solar panels all over my house; I even have a solar-paneled little houseboat for recreation. I have geothermal wells underneath my driveway and an electric car. I do understand the challenges of making this transition to a decarbonized world, and renewable energy is a difficult one, but I am doing my part.
So your carbon footprint will stand up to anybody's in the First World?
Some people depreciate the significance of carbon offsets, but when you investigate them thoroughly, I think they are valid, and I minimize my carbon footprint and then completely offset what cannot be eliminated.
A Hollywood question: "An Inconvenient Truth" won an Academy Award. So do you get to vote for the Oscars?
No, but I would sure vote for Tommy Lee Jones to get best supporting actor.
You have a personal stake in it: He was your college roommate.
I'm completely objective!
Follow Patt Morrison on Twitter @pattmlatimes
This interview was edited and excerpted from a taped transcript. An archive of Morrison's interviews can be found at latimes.com/pattasks.