Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Vanity Fair on media coverage of Al Gore in 2000

It's really good, especially if you haven't heard it all before. That being said, it will make you mad, especially the part at the end where you find out that the 2 reporters most responsible for torching Gore's credibility still work in the nation's marquee newspapers. The snippets of their work that Peretz quotes here make you want to vomit, and make you wonder how anyone could ever trust a word they say. It isn't just the stories themselves, though they were sometimes egregiously twisting the truth to slap Gore around, but the language they use in their articles is the kind of bile you normally expect only from the most naked partisans.

But hey, judge for yourself:
Building on the narrative established by the Love Story and Internet episodes, Seelye, her critics charge, repeatedly tinged what should have been straight reporting with attitude or hints at Gore's insincerity. Describing a stump speech in Tennessee, she wrote, "He also made an appeal based on what he described as his hard work for the state—as if a debt were owed in return for years of service." Writing how he encouraged an audience to get out and vote at the primary, she said, "Vice President Al Gore may have questioned the effects of the internal combustion engine, but not when it comes to transportation to the polls. Today he exhorted a union audience in Knoxville, Iowa, to pile into vans—not cars, but gas-guzzling vans—and haul friends to the Iowa caucuses on January 24." She would not just say that he was simply fund-raising. "Vice President Al Gore was back to business as usual today—trolling for money," she wrote. In another piece, he was "ever on the prowl for money."

She was working for The New York Times, by the way.

Especially interesting, however, is what the media decided was so wrong with Gore. The problem, you see, is that he's just so damn smart and knowledgeable:
Maureen Dowd boiled the choice between Gore and Bush down to that between the "pious smarty-pants" and the "amiable idler," and made it perfectly clear which of the presidential candidates had a better chance of getting a date. "Al Gore is desperate to get chicks," she said in her column. "Married chicks. Single chicks. Old chicks. Young chicks. If he doesn't stop turning off women, he'll never be president."

And he's just insufferable the way he won't shut up about issues!:
And Gore just kept going on about issues. Alluding to five speeches he made in two months on education, crime, the economy, faith-based organizations, and cancer research, Seelye wrote, "Mr. Gore becomes almost indignant when asked if his avalanche of positions might overwhelm voters." The Washington Post's David Broder later found Gore too focused in his convention speech on what he'd do as president. "But, my, how he went on about what he wants to do as president," wrote Broder. "I almost nodded off." As for the environment, while Gore was persuaded by his consultants not to talk about it as much as he would have liked, whenever he did, many in the media ignored it or treated it as comedy. Dowd wrote in one column that "Al Gore is so feminized and diversified and ecologically correct, he's practically lactating." In another, referring to his consideration of putting a Webcam in the Oval Office, she wrote, "I have zero desire to see President Gore round the clock, putting comely interns to sleep with charts and lectures on gaseous reduction."

Why am I not in any way shocked to hear that David Broder, the "dean" of political punditry, was exasperated by Gore talking about policy?

And of course, who could stand a president who not only knows the names of foreign leaders, but doesn't mangle them with poor pronunciation?:
For the Times's Frank Bruni, the sighs weren't as galling as Gore's familiarity with the names of foreign leaders. "It was not enough for Vice President Al Gore to venture a crisp pronunciation of Milosevic, as in Slobodan," he wrote. "Mr. Gore had to go a step further, volunteering the name of Mr. Milosevic's challenger Vojislav Kostunica."

The scariest revelation of all: these same clowns will be narrating the upcoming election, too.

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