Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Al Gore love

Al Gore love is in full swing right now, with a new Draft Gore for President push (including a full-page ad in today’s New York Times) and a possible Nobel Peace Prize later this week (the winner will be announced Friday). I’m still reading his brilliant new book, The Assault on Reason, and it continues to amaze me. It’s essentially a history lesson: a reminder of the principles upon which the United States were founded, and how tragically far the Republicans have deviated from them (as they, perversely, wrap themselves in the Stars and Stripes and claim to be more patriotic than anyone else).
     But why would Gore run for President again after he got so screwed back in 2000? Vanity Fair’s October issue includes a stunning report on how the media — especially the so-called “liberal” media (including the New York Times and Washington Post) — distorted and manipulated their coverage of the 2000 election in order to paint Gore as a dull, arrogant dweeb compared to George W. Bush (who was often called “a different kind of Republican”). Of particular interest in the report is how the media created the “I invented the Internet” story. Gore never said it, despite papers like the Times and USA Today attributing the quote to him. The distortion became, in Vanity Fair’s words, “a devastating piece of propaganda that damaged Gore at the starting gate of his run.” What’s most shocking is that Gore did have a tremendous input in pushing the Internet into the mainstream.

As a senator in the 80s, Gore sponsored two bills that turned this government program into an “information superhighway,” a term Gore popularized, and made it accessible to all. Vinton Cerf, often called the father of the Internet, has claimed that the Internet would not be where it was without Gore’s leadership on the issue. Even former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich has said that “Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet.”

Vanity Fair interviewed Gore for the story and asked him about his feelings eight years after the media, the Supreme Court and the American people got it all so terribly wrong:
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?’ I said, ‘I feel fine.’”

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