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Going after Gore
September 4, 2007 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Going After Gore "Al Gore couldn't believe his eyes: as the 2000 election heated up, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other top news outlets kept going after him, with misquotes ("I invented the Internet"), distortions (that he lied about being the inspiration for Love Story), and strangely off-the-mark needling, while pundits such as Maureen Dowd appeared to be charmed by his rival, George W. Bush. For the first time, Gore and his family talk about the effect of the press attacks on his campaign—and about his future plans—to the author, who finds that many in the media are re-assessing their 2000 coverage."
posted by chunking express (168 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
And today I managed to get the link right. The article is long and interesting. It's probably easier to read it on one page.
posted by chunking express at 9:14 AM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


The mind boggles at what could have been. Perhaps something will be, after all.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:26 AM on September 4, 2007


liberal media!!!!
posted by matteo at 9:29 AM on September 4, 2007


Corporate Press Protects Self, No Film At 11
posted by DU at 9:32 AM on September 4, 2007


Two words, Turd Blossom.
posted by hortense at 9:34 AM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


One of the early disgusting anecdotes I remember from the 2000 campaign was that after some junket or other, Tim Russert opened up his suit jacket to reveal a W 2000 button to Bushie himself. I grant you that Russert can vote for whomever he damn well pleases, but there seemed to be something particularly craven about this episode, given what we came to learn about how Bush's treatment of members of the press that didn't try to curry favor with him.

I don't want carry water for the we was robbed camp, because Gore did run a singularly terrible campaign, but there's no doubt that his imperfections were magnified by an elite press corps that either (1) was just plain sick of the Clintons and everyone associated with them or (2) simply wanted tax cuts of their own.
posted by psmealey at 9:36 AM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Couldn't believe his eyes"???

If true, that betrays a startling naivety.
posted by smackfu at 9:37 AM on September 4, 2007


There's a great segment of a This American Life episode where Sarah Vowell talks about being at the school where Al Gore discussed his involvement at Love Story, and then witnessing the incredible lies and smears that occurred days after the speech. It was pretty incredible. She talks about how angry she felt, both at the perpuating lie and at Gore's reluctance to set the record straight. I'll try to find it.
posted by billysumday at 9:37 AM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


I have a hard time believing that anecdote about Tim Russert. As much as I hate Bush and company, I feel like every single impossible-to-believe story like this that gets floated by someone on some blog somewhere is bought hook, line, and sinker by people who want to add to the "Bush is evil and it's a conspiracy" arsenal.
posted by proj at 9:43 AM on September 4, 2007


It's really bizzare how friggin' stilted "mainstream" media coverage of politics is. Actually, rather then calling them "mainstream" a better term would be "incumbent" media. I think that captures their world view a lot better.

The job of the 'elite' media isn't really to inform people, rather it's to cozy up to people in power in order to maintain access, prestige and power. Politicians schmooze journalists, and hand them scoops on a sliver platter... when it serves their interests. In turn journalists suck up to politicians for those scoops and, frankly, because who wouldn't enjoy being sucked up to by the most powerful people in the world?

Certainly bloggers are not immune to this, just look at the way Kos and Krew sucked up to boring DLCer Mark Warner when he took the time to shmooze them before deciding not to run for the presidency.

---

If you look at the PR game, it functions similarly. People in the media have contacts in the corporate world and vise versa. When company launches a new product, they call their contacts, ply them with gifts, and so on hoping they'll write good things. At the high end you can look at someone like David Pogue and Apple computer, and at the low end you might see some cash strapped startup desperately emailing techcrunch or mashable.

That's less troubling because it's fairly obvious what's going on and really it doesn't matter if you're talking about iPods, or a new blog aggregator, or whatever. But for politics it ends up being pretty pernicious.

I mean, Karl Rove or whoever can call up his friends in the media, and 'promote' a political story as if it were a new product, and they'll dutifully report it, without bothering with fact checking or whatever.

You see examples of this on trivial matters like the "Peloci Plane" story, or "Kerry's botched joke" before the 2006 election. Kerry's botched joke was all the republicans had to go on, after the Foley thing, and the war, and everything else that the republicans fucked up, the media still spent time talking about Kerry's joke because the republicans pushed it. Another trivial example would be Edward's "$400 haircut"

The republicans are much more adept at this, and you can see it now with the current media trend about the surge "working" even though all metrics for general Iraq suckyness are down. "O'Hanlon and Pollock" get on TV and are presented as "War Critics turned around on the surge" despite the fact they were both always for it. It's all bullshit.

Our political landscape should not be determined by who's better at wooing journalists and PR shenanigans. It's disgraceful.

The incumbent media needs to be recognized for what it is, not an "impartial" arbiter of reality, not as a group of people passionate about informing. But (on the balance) a collection of lazy stenographers who want to maintain their power and status.
posted by delmoi at 9:44 AM on September 4, 2007 [31 favorites]


But Bush really is evil.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:45 AM on September 4, 2007


I remember reading something about Howard Dean's Yeearghh! It was played on the major news channels hundreds of times in a 24 hour period. I believe that is what destroyed his campaign.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:46 AM on September 4, 2007


The incumbent media needs to be recognized for what it is...

Duly recognized. Now what? To some extent bloggers are changing this, but a) not enough and b) surely only temporarily. There's nothing magical about the internets that prevents the problems you are talking about.
posted by DU at 9:52 AM on September 4, 2007


because Gore did run a singularly terrible campaign

Arguably, we don't know whether he ran a good campaign or not. The media told us he was running a bad campaign, emphasizing his wooden-ness and other negative qualities.
posted by drezdn at 9:53 AM on September 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


I look forward to reading this, thanks. Eric Alterman's excellent book "What Liberal Media?" has a chapter on the hatchet job mainstream media did on Gore in 200. I can't recommend the book highly enough (I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it here before).
posted by Kwine at 9:54 AM on September 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


Who are these people who call him "the Goreacle"? And can we please somehow disqualify them from ever speaking on behalf of Democrats again?
posted by creasy boy at 9:55 AM on September 4, 2007


Arguably, we don't know whether he ran a good campaign or not.

We are allowed to make our own decisions, despite what the media says.
posted by smackfu at 9:56 AM on September 4, 2007


Yes, the hatchet job the mainstream Roman media did on Tiberius Gore when he ran for Caesar back in 200!

/idiot
posted by Kwine at 9:56 AM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


I have a hard time believing that anecdote about Tim Russert.

I may have to eat a little crow at this point. When I first read about it more than a few years ago, my strong recollection was that it came from a fairly reputable news source and not Kos, Wonkette or DU, but doing a little googling now I'm not so sure.
posted by psmealey at 9:57 AM on September 4, 2007


Chomsky wrote a really interesting book called Necessary Illusions which is a very methodical criticism of just how lame and passive the US press is. Its an old book now, so most of the examples are about press coverage of US aggression in Nicaragua, but it's scary how applicable pretty much everything he has to say is today.

For Canadians interested in Media Reform, a friend of mine runs the aptly named web board MediaReform.ca.
posted by chunking express at 9:57 AM on September 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I voted for Gore in 2000, I think the 2000 election was a disgrace, and I mostly liked him in "An Inconvenient Truth." But let's face it, whether Gore's campaign in 2000 sucked or not, even now he is a pompous windbag in the worst of circumstances and teeth-gratingly self-important in the best of circumstances. And this wet sloppy kiss Vanity Fair article sure isn't going to deflate any of that self-importance.

That said, the media that covered Gore was even worse, and it's rich that Maureen Dowd has played the self-righteous indignation broken record these past 5 years over the shenanigans of the Bush White House after the working over she and her "colleagues" gave Gore in 2000.
posted by blucevalo at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seven years on, and the Democrats are still not prepared to fight this crap. What a pathetic excuse for an opposition party. They allow themselves to be rolled time and time again, and all they offer is whining and excuses. "Oh, we couldn't do anything because the media was so mean and Karl was so big and scary!!"

I am so tired of their self-serving justifications. Fight back, goddammnit. That, or resign!
posted by mondo dentro at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


We are allowed to make our own decisions, despite what the media says.

True, but without insider knowledge we couldn't actually know what is going on in his campaign without hearing it from some source.
posted by drezdn at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2007


"I created the internet" is a perfectly valid paraphrase of "I took the initiative in creating the internet".
posted by null terminated at 10:02 AM on September 4, 2007


Don't hate on Gore because he invented the Internet.
posted by chunking express at 10:07 AM on September 4, 2007


I remember reading something about Howard Dean's Yeearghh! It was played on the major news channels hundreds of times in a 24 hour period. I believe that is what destroyed his campaign.

That's an interesting thing to believe, considering the 'scream' was part of a speech he gave trying to put the best possible spin after his 3rd place finish in the Iowa caucas. After dominating the headlines as the dark-horse, he managed only 18% compared with 38% and 32% for Kerry and Edwards, respectively. Anything less than a strong second place finish would have been considered a crippling defeat considering the amount of time and money he had spent in Iowa.

Granted, the gleeful replaying of the scream was a great example of substance-lite entertainment style political coverage. But it's just revisionist to blame his defeat on the scream. He had already lost when it happened.
posted by bluejayk at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2007


...he [Gore] is a pompous windbag in the worst of circumstances and teeth-gratingly self-important in the best of circumstances.

OMG, they're even doing it on Metafilter!
posted by Goofyy at 10:11 AM on September 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can only speak for myself, but the moment at which I lost the last remnant of my innocence with respect to politics and media was in the roundup after the first Bush/Gore debate in 2000. I thought Gore performed admirably. He was steady, direct, competent and very smart, while Bush mostly looked lost, and stammered through question after question. When the pundits (Russert among them) called the debate for Bush, talked about how composed he was and moreover insisted upon focusing on Gore's eye-rolling and sighing, it was a genuine "two plus two makes five" moment.

From that point on, I knew he was in trouble.
posted by psmealey at 10:12 AM on September 4, 2007 [11 favorites]


Gore spoke out against the invasion—fervently. On September 23, 2002, he articulated all the dangers that have now come to pass. The Washington Post's Michael Kelly wrote about the speech, "It was wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible." (Kelly was killed on April 3, 2003, in Iraq when his Humvee crashed while trying to evade enemy fire.)

.
posted by mek at 10:13 AM on September 4, 2007 [16 favorites]


Any excuses the press would like to make for itself for it's behavior over the last eight years are pretty lame at this point. Self-serveing brown-nosers will always apologize when they know it's the politically expedient thing to do. They know they've lost the trust of their audience, without which they have no power to influence opinion, so it's time to make nice. The sad part is, it will probably work, P.T. Barnum was right.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:15 AM on September 4, 2007


Granted, the gleeful replaying of the scream was a great example of substance-lite entertainment style political coverage. But it's just revisionist to blame his defeat on the scream. He had already lost when it happened.

I really am not sure, so I digress. However, I swear I remember reading something about how many times they played that video clip and it was in the triple digits. Same thing with the Kerry bunny suit picture.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:16 AM on September 4, 2007


Gore lost because of the supreme court decision and Florida--not the media or misquotes.
posted by mattbucher at 10:18 AM on September 4, 2007


Boy does Chris Matthews get it wrong in this story. Snoopy never thought he was the Red Baron.

Frickin' media.
posted by salishsea at 10:24 AM on September 4, 2007


I used to live with a working journalist, and yeah, having a viable story handed to you on a silver platter as opposed to a bunch of dead end leads with no end in sight was pretty appealing when the bills needed to be paid.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:25 AM on September 4, 2007


Gore lost because of the supreme court decision and Florida--not the media or misquotes.
Sure, that's the tangible point at which he lost, but let's play "what if" and suppose that he'd gotten a more favorable reception and play in the media. This is likely to mean that more people would have voted for him, all it would have taken was a thousand people in Florida to vote differently to have changed the outcome of the election.
posted by Godbert at 10:25 AM on September 4, 2007


Gore lost because of the supreme court decision and Florida--not the media or misquotes.

The media certainly swayed more voters than the small percent that would have pushed Gore to win the majority of the electoral vote.

First, he lost by the media's portrayal.

Then he lost again because of Florida.

Then he lost a third time when the supreme court held up the decision.
posted by ruthsarian at 10:26 AM on September 4, 2007


"I created the internet" is a perfectly valid paraphrase of "I took the initiative in creating the internet".

That's an arguable point at best, but even if I agreed with you, the word bandied about was "invented," not "created." That would be anything but a valid paraphrase.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:29 AM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


I read Glenn Greenwald for a while. The shit is never ending. To the extent that I now only rarely read Glenn Greenwald because I am burned out on the never ending stream of crap.
posted by srboisvert at 10:31 AM on September 4, 2007


Gore lost because of the supreme court decision and Florida--not the media or misquotes.

That's like saying, "Team A lost because they didn't have enough points when the clock ran out. Simple as that." Of course, nothing that happened in the game leading up to that moment could possibly be relevant, could it?

I've been reading "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," and just finished the part about the press' treatment of Gore vs. Bush in the 2000 election coverage. I find that my frustration is abated a little by Franken's humorous tone, but not much.
posted by Brak at 10:31 AM on September 4, 2007


That would be anything but a valid paraphrase.

I think the main point is that he never said either. It was a false attribution.
posted by psmealey at 10:36 AM on September 4, 2007


The 2000 and 2004 elections in the USA were utterly bizarre, a nightmare. It was impossible to know what the hell was happening, or why. It was a blatant takeover with the Republican party's cunning and funding. This mess we're in was a long time in the making. There was tremendous apathy politically in the 1980's and 90's and the planet is paying for that apathy now.

The internet changed things dramatically because people can have access to information and communicate more freely than before. At least now the public can be informed of large scale or small scale totalitarian behavior/police state behavior.

The big question is, will people in America take action by voting? Will there be enough outrage about voting corruption to make a difference? Or has apathy still got the entire country paralyzed?
posted by nickyskye at 10:37 AM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


There was tremendous apathy politically in the 1980's and 90's and the planet is paying for that apathy now.

One good thing about Bush is, I guess, that there'll be no more saying "those politicians - they're all the same".

I liked the story Gore tells in the article:
How does he feel about it all? "I feel fine," he says, "but, when I say that, I'm reminded of a story that Cousin Minnie Pearl used to tell about a farmer who was involved in an accident and sued for damages." To paraphrase, at the trial the lawyer for the driver of the other car cross-examined the farmer, saying, "Isn't it true that right after the accident, you said, 'I feel fine'?" The farmer said, "Well, it's not the simple," before going on to explain that the other car rammed into him, throwing both him and his cow from his car. When a highway patrolman came by and saw the cow struggling, he shot him between the eyes. The farmer continued, "The patrolman then came to my side and said, 'How do you feel?'… so I said, 'I feel fine.'"

That seems like the sort of folky, oldtime thing Americans are supposed to like. I wonder where he picked that up from.
posted by criticalbill at 10:41 AM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lazy, vicious reporters on the Gore bus.
Superficial, gullible reporters on the Bush bus.
Outcome: deep feces.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:41 AM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


"I created the internet" is a perfectly valid paraphrase of "I took the initiative in creating the internet".

Thanks for your good illustration of how they do it: initiative in creating <> created <> invented. Voila! He lied.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:41 AM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think the main point is that he never said either. It was a false attribution.
posted by psmealey at 1:36 PM on September 4


"I took the initiative in creating the Internet" - Transcript.

I wish Gore were president, but this statement is obviously incorrect (how could he take the initiative in creating something in Congress that had been around for years before he entered Congress?). He should have said he misspoke, explained that he meant that he has tried to improve and supported the internet for years (which he has) and be done with it. The fact that this statement has been defended as correct by his supporters baffles me.
posted by null terminated at 10:46 AM on September 4, 2007


Of the many questions that this article elicits, the one that I just can't quite get off of is the following:

Why does Maureen Dowd get to keep her job at the New York Times?
posted by psmealey at 10:46 AM on September 4, 2007


Thanks for your good illustration of how they do it: initiative in creating <> created <> invented. Voila! He lied.

Is "took the initiative in creating" not the same as "took the first step in creating"?
posted by null terminated at 10:48 AM on September 4, 2007


I wish Gore were president, but this statement is obviously incorrect (how could he take the initiative in creating something in Congress that had been around for years before he entered Congress?).

You're conflating the Internet and the ARPAnet.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:51 AM on September 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh for cryin' out loud... Gore took the initiative in creating legislation that made the internet happen. That is a perfectly reasonable statement. He never said he invented the technology behind the internet, and to interpret it that way is bone headed (if not outright dishonest).

Eisenhower is credited with creating the interstate highway system. Does that mean he invented automobiles? Internal combustion engines? Reenforced concrete?

What a crock.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:54 AM on September 4, 2007 [24 favorites]


...Gore, as much as anyone else (and perhaps more) really did take the legislative initiative in helping to bring to birth the Internet. Gore was a major supporter of the technological research that helped convert the military communications system, Arpanet, into what is now the Internet. Vinton Cerf, often called "the father of the Internet" and even Newt Gingrich, have vouched for Gore's key legislative role in helping to shepherd the Internet to life.

Quoted from the Alterman book. Or on preview, what Pope Guilty said.
posted by Kwine at 10:55 AM on September 4, 2007


You're conflating the Internet and the ARPAnet.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:51 PM on September 4


No, I'm not. Gore's first term was in 1977.

Gore has contributed greatly to the Internet. However, to claim that he "took the initiative in creating the internet" means that he "took the first step in creating the internet". This is simply not true.
posted by null terminated at 10:56 AM on September 4, 2007


Chomsky wrote a really interesting book called Necessary Illusions which is a very methodical criticism of just how lame and passive the US press is.

Hopefully he'll follow it up with a look at how blogs and the new media split their time between slagging the MSM and taking their cues from it, propagating the same line of horsepucky in a lame attempt to prove their relevance and ride whatever meme wave rolls by their doorway next. The only place I've seen "Gore invented teh internets" or the "Dean Scream" is on self-identified 'leftist' sites.

Unnecessary Dilutions would make for a good title.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:57 AM on September 4, 2007


Here's a somewhat badly formatted copy of the statement that Vint Cerf gave on Al Gore's involvement in the development of the Internet. From that note:
As a Senator in the 1980s Gore urged government agencies to consolidate what at the time were several dozen different and unconnected networks into an “Interagency Network.” Working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush’s administrations, Gore secured the passage of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act in 1991. This “Gore Act” supported the National Research and Education Network (NREN) initiative that became one of the major vehicles for the spread of the Internet beyond the field of computer science.
posted by octothorpe at 10:58 AM on September 4, 2007 [7 favorites]


mondo dentro: He never said he invented the technology behind the internet, and to interpret it that way is bone headed (if not outright dishonest)
I never made this claim.

Gore took the initiative in creating legislation that made the internet happen
And which legislation was this?
posted by null terminated at 10:59 AM on September 4, 2007


You know, I wish there were more longer, in-depth articles in the UK media. But I also wish there were more shorter, more to the point ones in the US media.

I used to wonder why Americans read relatively infrequently and tended to get their political information from paid for ads. 7000 words on the new Al may be the answer. Life's too short.
posted by rhymer at 11:01 AM on September 4, 2007


Oh look, some elements in the media think they may have made a boo-boo in 2000. This is after they apologized for making a boo-boo in 2003, regarding the Iraq war claims. And the boo-boo in 2004, regarding even paying attention to the Swift Boat liars. Isn't it nice that they can admit that maybe they made a bit of a mistake when it's far too late, the damage has been done, the situation is disastrous, and they had to be cajoled into making the concession in the first place?
posted by Legomancer at 11:01 AM on September 4, 2007


octothorpe: Like I've said, Gore has contributed greatly to the spread of the Internet. Citing a piece of legislation from 1991 does nothing to support his claim that he took the initiative in creating the internet.
posted by null terminated at 11:07 AM on September 4, 2007


null terminated: I never made this claim.

I know you weren't saying that. I was just venting in general, and it looked from the sequence like I was talking to you. I can see quite clearly that your comments are focused on legislation.

And which legislation was this?

I don't know, off hand. But that wasn't my point. Generally, people make fun of Gore for "saying" he "invented" the internet as if this is prima facie ridiculous. It isn't, for the reason I mentioned.

Now, we can look into the legislative history and decide whether that is accurate or reasonable or not--but that is quite a different story from the one implied by most mocking comments directed at Gore in regard to this issue.
posted by mondo dentro at 11:07 AM on September 4, 2007


null terminated, here you go: High-Performance Computing Act of 1991.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:09 AM on September 4, 2007


mondo dentro, I agree.

I'm more interested in this from a nitpicky sort of stance. The fact that this quote was used to abuse Gore how it was is much more troublesome to me than the minor quibble I have with his choice of words.

Additionally, this was one of the few statements that Gore would be attacked for, while Bush would make hundreds of blatantly incorrect statements. And when Bush would be attacked, his defenders would say "Well he thinks in sweeping ideas, facts aren't as important to him". So....I'll stop arguing about this.
posted by null terminated at 11:11 AM on September 4, 2007


MrMoonPie: Thanks. Perhaps you're confusing the World Wide Web with the Internet?
posted by null terminated at 11:12 AM on September 4, 2007


null terminated: "octothorpe: Like I've said, Gore has contributed greatly to the spread of the Internet. Citing a piece of legislation from 1991 does nothing to support his claim that he took the initiative in creating the internet."

What he should have said was, "I had a leadership role in moving the Internet to the form that it is in today." But he misspoke. Happens to me all the time. But his misspeaking doesn't cancel the work he did for over 15 years in clearing the way what we now think of as the Internet.
posted by octothorpe at 11:12 AM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it's fair to say that the "information superhighway" was a hobby project of Gore's when he was in congress. He wrote some articles for byte magazine, participated in conferences, and possibly sponsored some legislation (haven't checked the record lately). What he said ("took the initiative... creating the internet"), seems to me some lazy verbal shorthand that tried to summarize what he really meant in too few words. It's certainly understandable.

When you contrast that with the stream of verbal missteps and ignorance spewing forth from the other candidate that year, this discussion seems more than a little pointless.
posted by psmealey at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


octothorpe: Yes, agreed. He misspoke, he has contributed greatly to the Internet, and he should not have taken any of the crap the media gave him for it.
posted by null terminated at 11:14 AM on September 4, 2007


Why does Maureen Dowd get to keep her job at the New York Times?

C'mon, she said Gore was 'practically lactating'. That shit sells papers.

I don't think the media were too harsh on Gore, although I bet he expected to get a pass from the Times.

Bush didn't get a pass either, but he did benefit from low expectations.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:17 AM on September 4, 2007


LOCK-BOX: It was a perfectly good idea, but to put it in such fucking ridiculous terms... It was Gore's Dean scream.

To get back to Sarah Vowell for a minute, I too recall an essay (perhaps the same one billysumday mentioned?) about Al Gore, and how he was the great white hope for nerds and geeks everywhere. It's true, gosh bless him, but that probably had a hell of an unfortunate lot to do with his loss as well. The dumb jock always wins.

Or the cheerleader, as the case may be.
posted by Reggie Digest at 11:18 AM on September 4, 2007


octothorpe: Like I've said, Gore has contributed greatly to the spread of the Internet.

You're missing a crucial point. It wasn't just that Gore in some way contributed to some nebulous "spreading" of the Internet, as you suggest. He created the legislative framework and cleared the path that made the development of the modern Internet--a tool now used by people from all walks of life outside of the research realm to conduct commerce, communicate, and do business--possible. It didn't just spread magically like a fungus. It required a complex legal and political framework complete with development incentives and other initiatives to happen. Gore really did take the lead in making all those necessary things happen so that we could have the Internet we all know and love today. That's what he meant when he said he took the initiative, and it's a perfectly legitimate claim to make. The Internet began life more or less as a heavily subsidized government-funded research project. It didn't just sprout up and grow from a handful of magic spores. WTF is so hard to understand about that?

/sorry - sore spot
posted by saulgoodman at 11:18 AM on September 4, 2007 [13 favorites]


LOCK-BOX: It was a perfectly good idea, but to put it in such fucking ridiculous terms... It was Gore's Dean scream.

This is exactly what I hate most about where America is today. Packaging trumps product every time.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:19 AM on September 4, 2007


he did benefit from low expectations

Not to mention name recognition.
posted by Reggie Digest at 11:19 AM on September 4, 2007


saulgoodman, I'm agree with you totally.
posted by octothorpe at 11:21 AM on September 4, 2007


Did George W Bush really have greater name recognition than the guy who'd been VP for the last 8 years?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:21 AM on September 4, 2007


Hell yes.
posted by Reggie Digest at 11:23 AM on September 4, 2007


d'oh--should've previewed. sorry for adding fuel to the tiresome gore invented the internet derail.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:24 AM on September 4, 2007


He created the legislative framework and cleared the path that made the development of the modern Internet

Nicely said.

This is exactly what I hate most about where America is today. Packaging trumps product every time.

Validating your point, Bernays and Century of the Self.

/derail

Got this forward the other day and it spooked me. Embarrassed to repost it here but as the anniversary of 9/11 looms in NYC, anxious thoughts come to mind because I suspect the Republican Party or Al Qaeda will try to squeeze any juice they can out of The Past Event to further their agenda now new elections are coming up...Any thoughts?

There are currently several billion dollars in option bets on a global basis with the speculative premise that we will see a major drop of 15-25% or greater in the next 21 days. These are not just your run-of-the-mill speculative option-plays these are very specific bets of a magnitude never seen before (the only comparison is the huge bets
taken prior to 9/11). And these types of what I call mega-trades are escalating … for instance, last week someone sold short "naked" 61,730 SPX 700 calls. Selling calls short and naked has the same result as buying puts but this is a tremendously dangerous play (and unlike buying puts will go basically undetected as this type of play will be often overlooked). Basically they are betting heavily that the market will tank and as such the calls' value will shrink and they can buy them back to cover at a significantly cheaper price. [edited the following several paragraphs detailing the "megatrades"]

This has left me scratching my head as I continue to ask myself why are there so many megatrades going off so deep in the money unless someone knows something that I do not know, that would precipitate a very large move! Now of course there are multiple scenarios as to why such an investor/trader with such deep pockets would make such a
monstrous directional bet. If it is directional and not a cash crunch spread due to margin calls or the need to raise quick cash then only a few scenarios make sense:

· The most likely is that Israel with the assistance of Bush's war-forces strikes Iran. The next scenario is that we get hit with a significant terror attack.

· Some believe that Al Qaeda will take the seven-year anniversary of 9/11 to hit us again with another monster attack. 9/11 is on Tuesday again this year as it was in 2001; and many rumors have been circulating for months that Al Qaeda was targeting US cities for some sort of nuclear attack.

· The last scenario has a major financial institution falling apart over the next two weeks. Just imagine if a Bear Stearns or Lehman Brothers were forced to file bankruptcy because of the subprime/slime contagion; the markets would react as if a bomb went off, especially in the financial sector. As who would trust any bank or brokerage firm there would be a mass exodus for the door. BSC and LEH both report earnings 9/13, and this could really make this scenario very interesting.


posted by nickyskye at 11:24 AM on September 4, 2007


Those who doubt Gore's critical initiatory role in the creation of the Internet would be well served by reading this, especially this bit from a 1989 floor debate:

Well, we could do more and we should be doing more. I'd take a slightly different view of this question. I agree totally with those who say, education is the key to it. But I genuinely believe that the creation of this nationwide network and the broader installation of lower capacity fiber optic cables to all parts of this country, will create an environment where work stations are common in homes and even small businesses with access to supercomputing capability being very, very widespread. It's sort of like, once the interstate highway system existed, then a college student in California who lived in North Carolina would be more likely to buy a car, drive back and forth instead of taking the bus. Once that network for supercomputing is in place, you're going to have a lot more people gaining access to the capability, developing an interest in it. That will lead to more people getting training and more purchases of machines.
posted by jbrjake at 11:24 AM on September 4, 2007 [9 favorites]


“Don't hate on Gore because he invented the Internet.”

Gore’s mom goes to the internet.

I liked when Gore kissed his wife there on the campaign trail. It looked at least human. I mean the actual kiss, not whether it was staged or not. Looked like two people kissing.
Then I remembered his wife was Tipper, and all the fun with the PMRC. Yeah....
It’s hard for me to feel sorry for Gore. Really hard. As in: I don’t feel sorry for Gore at all, much as I might like his position on conservation.
What bothers me is the short shrift 3rd parties got - not only in debates and such, but in asking for recounts, all that “honest election” stuff that both parties totally marginalize and the press completely ignores.
It doesn’t counter the arguments against the press and Republican machinations, and indeed I wholeheartedly agree with nearly all of that (with some recognition of Democrat machinations, albeit in a minor key), but Gore looked to me like just another rich white guy in an equation where everyone is holding on to privilege.
Right now tho’ maybe he’s doing the Carter thing, being a statesman, etc. so maybe he’s better off working outside the system. (Hell, maybe the last thing the country needs - given the set up in executive powers and the mechanisms currently in place - is a popular executive, whatever the party.)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


As a Senator in the 1980s Gore urged government agencies to consolidate what at the time were several dozen different and unconnected networks into an “Interagency Network.” Working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush’s administrations, Gore secured the passage of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act in 1991.

So, while it may be true that Gore "took the initiative in creating the Internet," it is equally true that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush took the initiative in creating the internet. Right? Or am I misreading "working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush's administrations?"

If you have to parse something to death just to "prove" that it's not a lie, it's a lie.

He created the legislative framework and cleared the path that made the development of the modern Internet

He was one of the people who participated in the complicated process of creating part of the legislative framework that played a part in clearing the path that made the development of the modern Internet . . .
posted by The World Famous at 11:27 AM on September 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Back to the point, I think there was an odd confluence of two voter groups in 2000 on the Bush side - the fundamentalists (and those in their orbit), and those who thought Bush would really be the candidate they'd rather have a beer with.

And the beer thing definitely extends to the "incumbent media", and it made a big difference. There was some video footage of the press behind-the-scenes following Bush around during the 2000 campaign, filmed by some young journalist and much later shown on (HBO or Showtime? I forget which now.) And it looked like an around-the-clock liquor bash, basically. W made a point of shmoozing up the journalist in question pretty soundly (and oddly later signed off on showing the footage). Even if you subtract the W conversations, the rest of the film showed a press corps that was profoundly unprofessional and out of control, and I'd have to lay at their feet a fair amount of the blame for the resulting election. If anybody has a link to the video I'm thinking of, please post it.

I remember a friend of mine, who was admittedly pretty young back in 2000, saying during the campaign that she couldn't really see many differences between Gore and Bush. I don't want you to get the impression that I have vacuous friends - the point I'm making is that people casually, peripherally informed about the race prior to the election were mostly getting (from the media) differences in style and tone from the two candidates, rather than differences in position. Which candidate was more fun, less "wooden". My friend is very much clearer now on what the differences between the candidates actually were.
posted by newdaddy at 11:31 AM on September 4, 2007


(Hell, maybe the last thing the country needs - given the set up in executive powers and the mechanisms currently in place - is a popular executive, whatever the party.)

Yes, because the last thing you want your president to do is something the people might agree with.
posted by Reggie Digest at 11:31 AM on September 4, 2007


And the beer thing definitely extends to the "incumbent media"

Literally. They literally were having beers with him. Maybe the beers weren't literal, at least on his part, if you take his word for it, but, yeah. Journalists are some of the only people who actually get to "hang out" with the President like old buddies. Isn't that great?
posted by Reggie Digest at 11:35 AM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


The film is Journeys with George. The filmmaker is Alexandra Pelosi.
posted by Reggie Digest at 11:40 AM on September 4, 2007


A lot of the beers were literal beers.

Well, I think this is stupid (journalists constantly boozing while covering a presidential election). Members of any other "profession" by any reasonable definition of that word would not be allowed to drink alcohol while working. Imagine the hue and cry that would ensue if a surgeon was caught drinking while working, or a bridge engineer. Why should we tolerate, much less expect, anything less from the people who are the conduits through which we form our opinions about matters this critical?

Let me say for the record that I like a cold one as much as the next guy.

Secondly, being in a position to interact with a major party presidential candidate is, whatever the pay, a priviledge a lot of journalists would kill for. If one, or a segment, of the journalistic profession can't act, well, professional, I'm sure some others could be found who would. (I feel the same way about NFL quarterbacks, just grinding an axe here.)

None of this exonerates the rank idiocy of a lot of choices made within the privacy of US voting booths, for sure.
posted by newdaddy at 11:46 AM on September 4, 2007


Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush took the initiative in creating the internet. Right? Or am I misreading "working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush's administrations?"

jesus, are you thick or just stubborn? gore led the push to create the legislation. he didn't just vote on it and then take credit. if reagan and bush co-authored, promoted or otherwise actively helped push the legislation through in anything more than an oblique supportive role, then yeah, maybe they'd get partial credit. but that's not how it went down.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:47 AM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Members of any other "profession" by any reasonable definition of that word would not be allowed to drink alcohol while working.

Ridiculous.

I work from home, but my office-based coworkers have a fridge full of beer. They are professionals.

Alcohol has well-known effects, that's why we drink it. Train drivers and surgeons shouldn't use it while they're doing those tasks.

For that matter, alcohol loosens tongues. Knowing what a politicians says when less inhibited seems like a good thing for "conduits through which we form our opinions".
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:53 AM on September 4, 2007


The only place I've seen "Gore invented teh internets" or the "Dean Scream" is on self-identified 'leftist' sites.

Leftist sites like Metafilter?
posted by onlyconnect at 11:54 AM on September 4, 2007


jesus, are you thick or just stubborn?

Hey, man, I was just reading the quote from above. And I don't know how I can be called "stubborn" after just one post.

if reagan and bush co-authored, promoted or otherwise actively helped push the legislation through in anything more than an oblique supportive role, then yeah, maybe they'd get partial credit. but that's not how it went down.

Did you read the quote?
posted by The World Famous at 11:55 AM on September 4, 2007


The filmmaker is Alexandra Pelosi.

Yes, the same Pelosi. It's her daughter.
posted by smackfu at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's a problem with this "incumbent media" thing. In 2000, Gore was closer to being an incumbent than Bush. If you're saying that the media itself had some kind of incumbency, I don't think you're making any kind of recognizable point.

You need another Label - one that actually says something relevant.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2007


If you have to parse something to death just to "prove" that it's not a lie, it's a lie.

This type anti-having-a-brain bullshit is exactly what is wrong with modern political dialog, and what this article is about. An unbiased three-year-old would be able to detect the insane manipulation of language that has been used to smear Gore with the internet claims.

And then people are so unwilling to admit that they were wrong, that when Snopes, and fucking Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn come in to back up the real meaning of what Gore said, there's a whole cadre of idiots who say "nope, he meant what I was told he meant, not what actually makes sense." It's like the high-school attitude of making fun of the nerd all over again; facts don't determine what is actually true. What matters is whether a disliked person can be convincingly ridiculed.
posted by Llama-Lime at 11:59 AM on September 4, 2007 [11 favorites]


C'mon, she said Gore was 'practically lactating'. That shit sells papers.

Do people actually buy the New York Times to read Maureen Dowd? I'd pay more for a version of the Times without her.

Dowd is a faded hipster chick who made the jump to harpie when her gentlemen callers started showing a preference for younger consorts. It seems like sole reason for existence is to take the piss out of powerful men and, wherever possible, to desperately try to feminize them. For reasons passing understanding she has always given a Bush a pass on this and seeks only to explain him in freudian psychobabble, when he may be a bigger fancy pants than Obama, Gore and Kerry combined.
posted by psmealey at 12:03 PM on September 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


Imagine the hue and cry that would ensue if a surgeon was caught drinking while working

Imagination not required, unfortunately.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:06 PM on September 4, 2007


(sorry, the world famous, for singling you out. if you review the comments up-thread, you'll see the gore invented the internet derail has already been pretty worn-out.)

I remember being disgusted with how vapid and superficial the analysis and media coverage of the 2000 elections was the entire time, but in a way, it was all ultimately kind of self-validating for me. For some time, I'd been propounding a screw-ball theory that a mass-market-entertainment dominated culture should, eventually, create an entire generation of appearance-obsessed incompetents. At the time, I thought we were only at the very early stages of the long decline into idiocy, and that I might not see clear, irrefutable confirmation of my ideas over the course of my own lifetime.

Then the 2000 elections came along, and there was all the proof I needed.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:10 PM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Dowd is a faded hipster chick who made the jump to harpie when her gentlemen callers started showing a preference for younger consorts.

I try not to be one of those spelling-correctors, but it's "harpy." The reason I'm doing this is that I read yours as "hairpie" the first time. Or is that what you meant?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:10 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


A lot of the beers were literal beers.

To be fair, this isn't just the press that covered Bush. During the Kerry campaign in 2004, I was personally responsible for delivering a case of Capital Brewery product to the press bus following a stop here in Madison, WI. While I can't account for them drinking it, I was welcomed on the bus with many a pat on the back and good cheer.

...and Kelly O'Donnell? Adorable.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:13 PM on September 4, 2007


"If you have to parse something to death just to "prove" that it's not a lie, it's a lie."

If you take a small snippet out of context, and still have to change the wording to achieve the desired effect then it is pretty clearly a lie.

"am I misreading "working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush's administrations?"

You are taking it out of context and pretending that one sentence tells the entire story. Change the wording a little and you will have demonstrated exactly how this whole thing got started.

Part of your problem is not understanding the meaning (s) of initiative. Gore's use of the word was accurate but clumsy. Here's the full quote: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system."

He is overloading the word initiative, using it to describe both the legislative actions and the initial impetus he gave to them. Awkward but perfectly cromulent use of the word. He is obviously talking about work done in a legislative context. By all accounts information infrastructure was one of his pet projects and he was its early champion.
posted by Manjusri at 12:14 PM on September 4, 2007


I love, love, love how any discussion of Gore always turns into the stupid internet invention thing. (Go to any conservative leaning web site and you're bound to find a joke embedded in the TOS or where ever about "when using Al Gore's internet." It's so...pathetic.)

The credulousness and gullibility of the "earnest American" is enough to drive anyone to drink.
posted by maxwelton at 12:15 PM on September 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


God that made me so angry. If I ever met Dowd or Connelly in person I'd probably spit on them.
posted by shmegegge at 12:17 PM on September 4, 2007


As early as 1986, at least, Manjusri.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:18 PM on September 4, 2007


Sarah Vowell's essay is "Democracy and Things Like That," and it's in her book The Partly Cloudy Patriot (backed by They Might Be Giants on the audio book).
"I didn't think of Gore this way," my friend Doug told me on the phone one day, "but he was widely perceived as arrogant. If you know something, you're not smart. You're a smarty-pants. It's annoying. It goes back to high school, to not doing your homework....It's this feeling of 'There's something I should know. I don't know why I should know it but someone knows it and I don't. So I'm going to have to make fun of him now.'"
I don't believe Gore got fair treatment from the media, but he played into their characterization in his response to the criticism of his sighing in the first debate. Saturday Night Live's parody of him was so effective that he watched the tape to prep for the second debate. He was too agreeable in the second debate (as lampooned on SNL afterwards), then too confrontational in the third debate. (This is my impression based on watching all of the debates, not on the spin.) He'd have done better if he'd just been his wonkish self in all three debates, but the apparent shifts in personalty played right into the "he'll do anything to get elected" portrayal.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:19 PM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


I hate to jump in with semantics at the eleventh hour, but taking initiative and actually creating something are fairly different.

Webster's on initiating: "to cause or facilitate the beginning of : set going." In other words, that could be setting up funding, a legal precedent, or anything else. It doesn't imply you're the one doing the constructive action, whereas "created" implies an act of creation.
posted by mikeh at 12:19 PM on September 4, 2007


a screw-ball theory that a mass-market-entertainment dominated culture should, eventually, create an entire generation of appearance-obsessed incompetents

That North America has been a consumerist culture, not a political one, isn't exactly news.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2007


When the pundits (Russert among them) called the debate for Bush, talked about how composed he was and moreover insisted upon focusing on Gore's eye-rolling and sighing, it was a genuine "two plus two makes five" moment.

Hehe, I was listening to "Radioead - 2 + 2 = 5" as I read that.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2007


George Stephanopoulos said, 'Gore, again, revealed his Pinocchio problem. Says he was the model for Love Story, created the Internet. And this time he sort of discovered Love Canal.'

All three are distortions. Did Stephanopoulos ever apologize or recant?
posted by kirkaracha at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2007


The insanity of the 2000 coverage of Gore was truly disgusting at the time, and is horrifying in retrospect. Of course we see much the same thing happening in the present election cycle.

Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler has been like a voice in the wilderness on this issue, tracking such destructive foolishness and deliberate propaganda ever since the 2000 election. Anyone interested in this sort of distortion would be well advised to keep an eye on Somerby's blog, as well as Media Matters and other web sites that look more broadly at media inaccuracies.
posted by washburn at 12:24 PM on September 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


I also remember SNL being so on-the-spot in their takes on the debates. Maybe Gore should've dumped Tipper and recruited Fey.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 12:29 PM on September 4, 2007


Good god this thread is driving me to despair. It's obvious what Gore meant. If you think he was lying, you're an idiot. If you think he mis-spoke, that's fine, arguably he did - unless you think it even remotely matters, in which case you're an idiot.

Possibly you think I'm an idiot for thinking that, in which case the proper response would be, "No, YOU'RE an idiot", and then THE CONVERSATION SHOULD END THERE. Because the statement in question is of NO IMPORTANCE WHATSOEVER.

The end.
posted by kyrademon at 12:29 PM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Incumbent media" is a quote from the Vanity Fair article, but I think it's a fair expression to indicate that Maureen Dowd, Tim Russert, Howard Kurtz etc are in positions which have a certain amount of tenure. They can make a fair (or great - are you listening, William Kristol?) number of objective errors and still retain their positions as having the ability to widely disseminate their opinions. This may give them incentive to repeat rumors and misquotes, or propagate provocative claims without really substantiating them.

And parenthetically, I think guys like Tim Russert and Lou Dobbs are doing journalism a disservice by blurring the line between reporting and editorializing.
posted by newdaddy at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2007


That's a serious ass Gore and the Internet derail. And it's almost 2007. Damn. I'd make fun Americans here, but really, what's the point?
posted by chunking express at 12:32 PM on September 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


That North America has been a consumerist culture, not a political one, isn't exactly news.

well, this particular theory had more to do with the imitative character of so many of our consumer entertainments. basically, it boiled down to this: humans learn by imitation. in the past, our primary role-models were actual humans performing real-life roles in society. now our role models are primarily actors pretending to be people performing roles in society, and increasingly, we value the actors (and their imitations of life) more than the real thing. as a result, we select for acting skills over life skills. but like i said, it's a screw-ball theory.

posted by saulgoodman at 12:32 PM on September 4, 2007


Wow, media, if only we'd known Bush would be a terrible president from the outset!

I remember getting into vicious arguments over things like the "invented the internet" and "found Love Canal." They weren't true then, and people who paid attention knew that. But kay-rye-st, they were impossible to stamp out. My girlfriend's aunts and uncles still believe 'em and bring 'em up.

My own mea maxima culpa? I voted for Nader (though only after Gore had carried Michigan, and only because I wished to endorse a shift further left in Democratic politics).

So... How long until we get to do this for Kerry? There was almost as much bullshit there as there was for Gore, and the media (as a collective bunch) did just as poor a job on him.
posted by klangklangston at 12:34 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


These are comments galore
That are in a thread about Gore
That is within the post on the media being out of kilter
That is in the community weblog metafilter
That is hosted on a server with a coffee cup on top
That regulates packets of computer numbers and chop
That is connected through a network access point
That was created by that National Science Foundation joint
That grew through technology frills
That was created by legislative bills
That lay in the house that Gore built
posted by Smedleyman at 12:35 PM on September 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


See also This old Al Gore documentary re a person who was a pretty decent guy who got amazingly shafted by the stupid media coverage of 2000.
posted by washburn at 12:35 PM on September 4, 2007


So... How long until we get to do this for Kerry? There was almost as much bullshit there as there was for Gore, and the media (as a collective bunch) did just as poor a job on him.

worse when you consider the swift boat campaign.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:37 PM on September 4, 2007


When the pundits (Russert among them) called the debate for Bush, ... it was a genuine "two plus two makes five" moment.

From that point on, I knew he was in trouble.


That was my feelings at the time as well. I didn't really know very much about Bush, having only seen a few soundbytes here and there.

After seeing him in the debate, I was actually embarrassed for him, and kind of felt bad for him, if you can believe that. He had trouble stringing two sentences together. The long, awkward pauses. The stumbling and mispronunciations. The horrible accent (which I believe to be fake, see his Texas Governor debates and compare). The inability to answer most of the questions with any substance. The smirking, GOD the smirking.

It was so one-sided as to be a drubbing. A blowout.

When the talking heads, including people I thought would have known better (like Russert) starting talking about how great Bush had done, and how Gore had "blown it"... it was like I was living in a different dimension.

From that moment on, I no longer felt any sort of pity for Bush, and I realized that we were watching the democratic system being slowly twisted from our grasp.

When election night came and went, the outcome was expected. Well, not precisely. I didn't expect the thieves in Florida to have made it quite so close. I expected them to do a much better job at throwing the election. I think they badly underestimated how many votes Gore would get in FL.

I mean, you had Pat Buchanan on TV within 12 hours saying, very plainly and even laughingly, that there was no way he got that many votes in those districts in Florida. Something was wrong, very wrong. And the media gave every benefit of the doubt to Jeb Bush and Kathleen Harris, while every election expert in the WORLD, not just the US, was screaming "FOUL! FOUL!"

Sometimes I'm cynical enough to believe the media was pulling for Bush because they know he would make enough mistakes and gaffes to give them fodder for 4 years. I think they expected another Ford administration. I don't think it ever occurred to them something important might happen and that he might actually be re-elected.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:37 PM on September 4, 2007 [7 favorites]


Something that I find interesting to think about is when Time gave their Person of the Year cover to um... us. You know, for having things like myspace and youtube to populate our information superhighway with our own thoughts and voices in a way hitherto unheard of in human history. If that's true, shall we begin to see the comment pages for cnn.com blogs flooded with calls to accountability during the upcoming election? Shall we embed youtube videos of the inevitable misquotes, mischaracterizations and outright lies in the comment threads for newspaper articles? Maybe it's time for us to be a 5th estate whose sole charge is to beat the 4th estate into submission until it promises to stop willfully lying to us.
posted by shmegegge at 12:48 PM on September 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


I don't know anything about Maureen Dowd, but untouchable incompetent employees are usually explainable as:
1. Someone powerful's responsibility (usually a relative, often an in-law)
2. An efficient conduit for illegal substances or other desiderata.
3. Lots of 'fun' to be around. For someone.
posted by hexatron at 12:49 PM on September 4, 2007


So... How long until we get to do this for Kerry? There was almost as much bullshit there as there was for Gore, and the media (as a collective bunch) did just as poor a job on him.
posted by klangklangston at 2:34 PM on September 4


Amen. Kerry was far from my dream candidate, in fact in a normal election I might not have even voted for him, and would have instead made a "symbolic" vote. But, I chastised enough Nader supporters in 2000 that I had to vote for Kerry in 2004.

The Swiftboat Veterans thing was simply unbelievable. Any news reporters or anchors that gave them more than passing mention should have had their press credentials yanked.

I watched with my mouth open saying "They're doing it again". I remember reporters trying to somehow make Kerry admit that his injuries weren't severe enough to merit a "real" Purple Heart in Vietnam.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:50 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


“Yes, because the last thing you want your president to do is something the people might agree with.”

Exactly. Like passing the Enabling Act folks, (or volks, rather) loved that. Terrorists were out to get ‘em, ya know. They had to be stopped.
But y’know, the Dems have had such huge balls recently, I’m sure there’s no way something like that would pass. Y’know, where broad powers are given to the executive and there’s one lone voice in opposition in (eq. of) the senate.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:51 PM on September 4, 2007


I remember a friend of mine, who was admittedly pretty young back in 2000, saying during the campaign that she couldn't really see many differences between Gore and Bush. I don't want you to get the impression that I have vacuous friends - the point I'm making is that people casually, peripherally informed about the race prior to the election were mostly getting (from the media) differences in style and tone from the two candidates, rather than differences in position.
This attitude was very widespread, both among people I knew personally (and myself) and in some parts of the media. Both Bush and Gore were "political machine" candidates; neither of them seemed to bring anything new and different to the table.

A lot of people were very disillusioned at how the primaries had gone; I knew people who didn't even vote in 2000 because they had really gotten behind one of the other candidates (mostly McCain or Bradley) and just felt like they'd been cheated into picking one side of the other of the same establishment coin. (I knew quite a few Bradley supporters who hated Gore more venomously than most Republicans did at the time.)

Ironically, for all the talk of how Gore and Bush were boring and didn't have a single new idea between them, Bush probably brought the most 'new ideas' to the table. They were just, you know, bad ideas.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:52 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was one of those people who didn't vote in 2000. It was a matter of having a youth where the palpable consequences of our political system weren't apparent to me, and I wasn't aware of the big issues at stake. I took exactly that "they're both two sides of the same coin" approach, and on election day (which happened to be my birthday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!) had my mind completely changed forever about my attitude to the process, when I watched the election be stolen from me in front of my eyes, and was in a room full of people (I was in college, the coverage was projected onto a screen in an auditorium) who made it clear what was at stake. The simple, sad truth is that the people who knew what was up, what was at stake and who represented what side of what issue were NOT the people on the tv screen.
posted by shmegegge at 1:06 PM on September 4, 2007


This attitude was very widespread, both among people I knew personally (and myself) and in some parts of the media.

Some of my otherwise well-educated but politically dumb-ass friends used this as the reason to vote for Nader.

I grant you that on most days, there is not much difference between the Dems and Republicans, as they do feed at the same trough, but it seemed incredibly dim-witted to me at the time to claim no difference between Bush and Gore. During the primary season, Bush had accumulated the biggest war chest of corporate contributions in history by a factor of three or four. There was no question he was owned, no question that he was pandering to haters at the extreme right (re: So Carolina primary), and no question that he was arrogant ("we don't look at polls").

Gore might have been a bit too wonky for some, but he did seem to have some progressive ideas about social security, the economy, the environment and health care. I never got any sense that he was corrupt, stupid or not up to the job, qualities that the other candidate had in spades.
posted by psmealey at 1:09 PM on September 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


A lot of people were very disillusioned at how the primaries had gone; I knew people who didn't even vote in 2000 because they had really gotten behind one of the other candidates

Good point. Experienced the same among my friends as well. It would seem the media had a hand in that with the Gore ridiculing. The snark impact had serious repercussions and when the elections were rigged in favor of Bush there was no effective national outrage. Now that Bush has been snarked into the dust it would seem that whomever avoids being a target of public ridicule may win, rather than somebody who may be sincerely effective as a political leader.
posted by nickyskye at 1:09 PM on September 4, 2007


FTA:
As for Dowd, a Democratic operative recalls running into her and having an argument with her about her columns on the 2000 debates, in which, he felt, she devoted as much attention to Gore's sighing as she did to Bush's not knowing that Social Security was a federal program. "I basically said, 'How could you equate the two?'" he recalls. "'How could Gore's personal tics deserve as many column inches as the other guy being an idiot?'
Wow. Just wow.
"Modern politics seems to require and reward some capacities that I don't think I have in abundance," says Gore, "such as a tolerance for … spin rather than an honest discussion of substance.… Apparently, it comes easily for some people, but not for me."
I've been saying this for years, and I'll say it again. The saddest part about the apparent current insanity in American institutions, if you will, isn't just that you guys out there are getting a raw deal, but that the liberal democracy ideal, as it were, is getting so sulled. Like it or not, the US has had been a model for liberal democracies the world over; for decades now, 'to be like the US' has had been a common, and in many ways, valid, response to the question, 'why do we need [say] free speech or a free press in [say] Registan [1]?'

Pretty hard to present free-speech-in-the-US as a role-model if an articulate, policy-oriented presidential candidate himself feels cynical about the entire process. (Which is not to say that Gore is flawless - I don't necessarily endorse his stance on many issues - but that I'd listen to him if he says that the political debate has turned into a buzzword wankfest).

--
[1]- A quick google search suggests that an actual city-square in Samarqand is called Registan. Wasn't referring to that, of course; in Urdu (and presumably Persian), 'Registan'would refer to any sandy desert.
posted by the cydonian at 1:10 PM on September 4, 2007


Seriously, are you liberals really still complaining about the 2000 election?
posted by tadellin at 1:13 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes.
posted by psmealey at 1:13 PM on September 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


nullterminated: there's a problem to your assertion that the Internet had been around prior to Gore's involvement: it wasn't!

Prior to Gore's involvement, there was a network called "Arpanet" and another network called NSFnet. The two were connected but there was no term about the type of connection (however, getting messages from one network to the other was called internetworking).

Gore's leadership as for the creation of the Internet really starts in 1986 (there under 3000 internet hosts at the time) with the "Supercomputer Network Study Act of 1986", which required studying whether the US had a solid infrastructure for computer networking. The report said no and, in 1988, Gore introduced the "National High-Performance Computer Technology Act of 1988" (which didn't make it out of committee) and reintroduced the same basic concepts in the "High-Performance Computing Act of 1990" (which failed in the house of representatives) and then again in "High-Performance Computing Act of 1991" (which passed both houses and was signed into law by president Bush Sr. The basic concept was to open more access to the network. Rumor has it that Gore intended to push for more privatization of the network in these bills but sacrificed those provisions in exchange for securing passage of a law that would allow for schools, universities, and business. And in 1995, as Vice-President, he was part of the team that helped transition NSFnet to private interests and create Internic for domain name assignments.

So my guess is that his claim that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet" would be justified by this. Like it or not, he was trying to push for the Internet about a decade before the general public heard of it.

full disclosure: Part of the reason I'm aware of so much of this stuff and feel so passionate about it is that the 1991 grant helped fund the node at my university and thus allowed me to get access. I was part of a group of students that helped lobby for it and got to spend some time with Gore as a result.
posted by TNLNYC at 1:28 PM on September 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


Seriously, are you liberals really still complaining about the 2000 election?

In related news --

"Souter Nearly Resigned after Bush v. Gore Decision.
According to a new book on the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin, Justice David Souter nearly resigned in the wake of Bush v. Gore because he was so distraught over the decision that effectively ended the Florida recount and installed Bush as president:
'Toobin writes that while the other justices tried to put the case behind them, "David Souter alone was shattered," at times weeping when he thought of the case. "For many months, it was not at all clear whether he would remain as a justice," Toobin continues. "That the Court met in a city he loathed made the decision even harder. At the urging of a handful of close friends, he decided to stay on, but his attitude toward the Court was never the same."'"
posted by ericb at 1:58 PM on September 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I wonder who Gore would have nominated to the Supreme Court.
posted by The World Famous at 2:10 PM on September 4, 2007


so distraught over the decision that effectively ended the Florida recount and installed Bush as president:

But not distraught or apparently, principled enough to actually resign over it. So Souter outs himself as a moral coward. For what purpose?
posted by psmealey at 2:12 PM on September 4, 2007


But not distraught or apparently, principled enough to actually resign over it. So Souter outs himself as a moral coward. For what purpose?

Well, for one thing, there's the little matter of who would have been nominating his successor had he resigned.
posted by The World Famous at 2:15 PM on September 4, 2007


I suppose that's fair enough, TWF, but I just often fail to see the point of these public confessions from people who always seem to lack the courage of their convictions when it matters most.

A supreme court justice resigning in the aftermath of such a thing and airing his complaints about the process would have been a huge deal. His sucking it up and playing along didn't net much for the Republic anyway, as it happened. And now, to whine about it and go public with his distress accomplishes even less.
posted by psmealey at 2:20 PM on September 4, 2007


A supreme court justice resigning in the aftermath of such a thing and airing his complaints about the process would have been a huge deal.

If it had gone the other way with Gore winning and Scalia then resigned, would you have thought it brave of him to do so, or merely partisan?
posted by The World Famous at 2:35 PM on September 4, 2007


Seriously, are you liberals really still complaining about the 2000 election?

Well, since rightwingers are still complaining about the 1932 election, I suppose liberals are a bit ahead of the game.
posted by blucevalo at 2:40 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


If it had gone the other way with Gore winning and Scalia then resigned, would you have thought it brave of him to do so, or merely partisan?

If my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle... and if Scalia resigned for any reason whatsoever, I'd do the fucking Macarena naked in the skating rink at Rockefeller Plaza.

The thing that frustrated me more than anything else about that decision is that the vote went straight down ideological lines. On that basis, it seemed like a bullshit decision forged in politics, not in law. When it was announced, I was hoping for a unanimous decision or a 7-2 count at least (one way or the other, didn't matter) based upon a sensible reading of existing law and precedent. What we got seemed without basis in actual fact, and was bitterly and senselessly divided as anything we'd seen up to that point.
posted by psmealey at 2:50 PM on September 4, 2007


Seriously, are you liberals really still complaining about the 2000 election?

Oh yeah, the year America died. I remember well.
posted by Brian B. at 2:52 PM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


It wasn't a public confession. This is someone who knew him talking about it. He's allowed to feel however he wants, and there is no moral courage to resigning when the going gets tough. Especially when the manufactured scandals surrounding "activist judges" was going on and any big deal he'd have tried to make after a resignation would have added fuel to limbaugh and o'reilly's fire.
posted by shmegegge at 2:54 PM on September 4, 2007


Gore didn't get a favorable reception in the media in part because he was above it all, thought he could win on principle and ideas. He was wrong. They turned him into a monkey and he lost. I fucking hope Barack or Hillary or whomever gets in there and blows a few journalists and mucks it up and drinks beer with them and cracks jokes and so that maybe then they get a favorable reception in the "MSM" and pin flash from Timmy Russert.
posted by mattbucher at 2:55 PM on September 4, 2007


Fair enough, shmegegge, that's my bad. It is still a sore spot with me. Up until that day the Court had long held my esteem and respect as an often difficult body, but one that actually stood for something above mere partisanship and deal-making. Maybe the jarring revelation that it wasn't was all part of my own political awakening, when that day in my view it become nothing more than another political cog in a very broken machine.
posted by psmealey at 3:00 PM on September 4, 2007



Maureen Dowd used to be an excellent reporter and featurewriter and for some reason, she became the protege of Anna Quindlen. Anna Quindlen was the previous "woman" on the op-ed page of the Times. She actually wrote about ideas.

Dowd, unfortunately, wouldn't know an idea if it bit her on the nose. All she can write about is shopping and personalities. She seems to think that lying about blow jobs is just as bad as lying about decisions leading to war and taking absolute executive power.

And it drives me mad because she's still the only permanent woman on the page and it's like a parody of a misogynist's idea of the triviality of women. And it's not like there's a shortage of serious, idea-driven female columnists: Barbara Ehrenreich, for example.
posted by Maias at 3:06 PM on September 4, 2007


Speaking of shitty meda, check out this article in the latest Newsweek.
posted by delmoi at 3:12 PM on September 4, 2007


well, psmealey, no one can blame you for feeling let down and disenfranchised by the state of the american justice and political systems at this point. it is most assuredly very very broken.
posted by shmegegge at 3:16 PM on September 4, 2007


wow, from delmoi's linked article:

Such fears are unfounded, however, and rest on several basic misunderstandings. For one thing, the terrorist label is nothing new, and thus will do little to change the current state of play. For another, Iran represents a much greater threat than Europe typically recognizes.

for fucking REAL?! you just casually dismissed the concerns of an entire continent with logic and unfounded party lines?! ARGH!!!
posted by shmegegge at 3:18 PM on September 4, 2007


ha.

that should have said "unfounded logic and party lines."
posted by shmegegge at 3:19 PM on September 4, 2007


Alright. I've been reading up on exactly when ARPAnet turned into the Internet and I believe I was wrong, so I take back everything I said in this thread.
posted by null terminated at 3:36 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Alright. I've been reading up on exactly when ARPAnet turned into the Internet and I believe I was wrong, so I take back everything I said in this thread.

Mission accomplished!
posted by maxwelton at 3:46 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't think it would be too extreme to suggest that pro-Bush reporters were actually given bribes. They would secretly hate Gore if bribing was the case, because of the complex psychology of moral justification. Gore would seem like a goody-goody that needs to be taken down, and Bush more like a dirty joke they like, who needs support for his image.
posted by Brian B. at 3:47 PM on September 4, 2007


check out this article in the latest Newsweek.

Deadly Persian Provocations
by Reuel Marc Gerecht


It was at that point that I stopped reading. The fact that these non-credible NeoCon bastards still get to write for huge publications despite it all is astonishing.
posted by psmealey at 3:49 PM on September 4, 2007


Just read the Newsweek article linked by delmoi. It's so often now that I feel stupefyingly foolish and naive for being a journalism major. I used to be idealistic. There's the thought of making arrangements to become a Canadian, but I figure that by the time I had cleared the red tape hurdles it will all be One Big Country under the Amero anyway.
posted by Curry at 4:02 PM on September 4, 2007


But thank God Al Gore invented blogging.
posted by Curry at 4:06 PM on September 4, 2007


I stopped reading the thread when it turned into "Al Gore did/didn't invent the internet". Did I wake up in 1999 this morning?

URGH! I wanted to punch my monitor you idiots!
posted by glycolized at 4:33 PM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Validating your point, Bernays and Century of the Self.

That documentary is available on Google Video, by the way, and as I have many times before, I recommend it most highly if you haven't seen it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:03 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


From delmoi’s link:
“...its radical president and praetorian guard...”

Some nice, nice agitprop wordsmithing there - bit mixed I know, but certainly deliberate in both the implication of (Romanesque) power and potential for internal (praetorian) overthrow. That there’s the real stuff. (Too easy to make fun of the name tho’ *cough*project paperclip*cough*)

“I don't think it would be too extreme to suggest that pro-Bush reporters were actually given bribes”

I don’t think it would be too extreme to suggest that pro-Bush simulacra-reporters were actually planted in the press corps.
(Or too extreme to suggest they gave huge plo-chops to the administration ...literally and figuratively)

Bottom line, that stuff affects everyone. I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000, but even if I had, I’d be pissed if any shennanigans (great place to eat by the way, try the poppers *accepts $500*) went on just on general principals. Whatever the party or political philosophy, the deal is that the system is of by and for the people. If it doesn’t work that way, it’s not America and I want to put it right whether my guy ultimately wins or loses as a result.
I’m reminded of the Bill Hicks “then stop bringing up Jesus to me” but Kennedy stole the election and he is messianic to a lot of Dems.
It’s a two way street. If you tolerate corruption in your own house then you have no right to bitch about it if it goes the other way. That’s why (as a conservative) I’m still sore about both those elections and most particularly the crap in Ohio - which, if y’all remember, Kerry ducked out on. (And I stopped hearing about how evil diebold was after the Dems won big in the senate).
But I think a lot of people take the country for granted and so can have an allegience to party. I gotta say, I very much liked Gore’s position on Vietnam (most particularly - tolerance for complexity ).
posted by Smedleyman at 5:35 PM on September 4, 2007


Granted, the gleeful replaying of the scream was a great example of substance-lite entertainment style political coverage. But it's just revisionist to blame his defeat on the scream. He had already lost when it happened.

Dean wasn't gutted by the media as much he was gutted by the entrenched DNC bureaucrats who had already chosen our candidate for us. Anyone who worked with any Democratic group knew who they were humping. Moreover, the "scream" was constantly replayed on LIBERAL radio. Hell, Randi Rhodes played it every 5 minutes there for awhile, and she was just one example.
posted by RavinDave at 5:59 PM on September 4, 2007


Lockbox.
posted by The World Famous at 6:09 PM on September 4, 2007


I don't think it would be too extreme to suggest that pro-Bush reporters were actually given bribes

People like Armstrong Williams were were on the payroll. So was Maggie Gallagher. So was Michael McManus. So was Dave Smith. The Bush administration also paid for illegal phony videos by fake reporters Karen Ryan and Alberto Garcia. And then there's male prostitute-cum-journalist James "Jeff 'Bulldog' Gannon" Guckert.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:10 PM on September 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


If this was a picture of Al Gore or John Kerry, everyone in the US would be familiar with it. It would have been aggressively used to defeat them.

However, it is not either of them. It is George W. Bush. Very few people have seen the photo or know he was a cheerleader. And that is why the Republicans will win the White House again in 2008.

I do not think the photo is relevant. I do not think the photo should be well known. I just think the Republicans would use it to paint a Democrat as less than masculine, while the Democrats will not use it all.
posted by flarbuse at 7:03 PM on September 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


The dumb jock always wins.

Or the cheerleader, as the case may be.


Ironic, given that Gore was the quarterback of his high school football team.
posted by deanc at 7:30 PM on September 4, 2007


The New York Times screwed America.
posted by Brian B. at 7:35 PM on September 4, 2007


Bush invented the internets.

Yes, I know it is actually a morphemic alteration, surely said by others first, but I'm sticking with invented ... mainly out of spite for this non pluralistic ... person.
posted by phoque at 8:13 PM on September 4, 2007


And then there's male prostitute-cum-journalist James "Jeff 'Bulldog' Gannon" Guckert.

Pun intended?
posted by kosher_jenny at 8:22 PM on September 4, 2007


Joining Tim Russert and Tom Brokaw in primetime election night coverage in 2000 on NBC for "political analysis" was that noted thinker Rush Limbaugh. That was their go-to guy for political insight for the national audience tuning in for election night coverage.

In what universe is that not insanity?
posted by dglynn at 9:14 PM on September 4, 2007


.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:26 PM on September 4, 2007


TNLNYC writes "Prior to Gore's involvement, there was a network called 'Arpanet' and another network called NSFnet. The two were connected but there was no term about the type of connection (however, getting messages from one network to the other was called internetworking). "

Agree with your comment. Most people thinking about the internet like it is the phone system (IE: not at all unless it goes down) don't remember what it was like when you, for example, couldn't send commercial traffic over NSFnet and the debates over what constituted "commercial".

Curry writes "There's the thought of making arrangements to become a Canadian, but I figure that by the time I had cleared the red tape hurdles it will all be One Big Country under the Amero anyway."

Unless you figure the US is ready to start bombing Canada it's never going to happen.
posted by Mitheral at 9:37 PM on September 4, 2007


Thinking that the voting public actually decides presidental elections betrays a startling naivety. See: Diebold
posted by spock at 11:12 PM on September 4, 2007


whomever avoids being a target of public ridicule may win, rather than somebody who may be sincerely effective as a political leader.

So true. This is exactly why I'm thinking that next year's election will be between Romney and Hillary. Despite all the Republican lies, corruption and death abroad, Romney will very likely win in that matchup because Hillary's negatives overwhelm whatever positives she has.
posted by psmealey at 4:17 AM on September 5, 2007


Seriously, are you liberals really still complaining about the 2000 election?

Seriously, are you really so brainwashed that you can't read that case and see it for the partisan decision that it was? Or maybe you've never read it and relied on Fox News to tell you it was the right decision?
posted by miss tea at 4:25 AM on September 5, 2007


Why do people feel compelled to reply to what tadellin writes like he wasn't a sock puppet for Karl Rove.
posted by chunking express at 4:36 AM on September 5, 2007


Michael Tomasky reviews Gore's book The Assault on Reason. ... if a Democrat wins the White House, we have to hope Gore will not abandon the concerns he raises so forcefully here and that he'll act as a prodding conscience to encourage the next president to rein in the executive branch. He has had his ups and downs as a politician, but as he has shown these last five years, he is a remarkable citizen.
posted by russilwvong at 12:01 PM on September 18, 2007


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