Saturday, March 03, 2007

Media Psychosis

Why do journalists suddenly love Al Gore?

After they tempt him into the presidential race, they'll probably try to destroy him again. And he knows it.

By Joe Conason

Mar. 02, 2007 | As a man who long endured more than his share of nasty, unwarranted abuse from journalists, the philosophical Al Gore must be amused by the happy transformation of his clippings. The same press corps that once snarled for his blood is now smooching his boots -- an implicit apology that might be gratifying to the former future president, if only he were still naive enough to value their esteem.

The sudden fashion for favorable comment won't influence any thoughtful American's opinion of Gore, but it should remind us of the dismal media performance that did such a terrible disservice to him and to the nation. Although Gore himself certainly deserves a measure of blame for the catastrophic conclusion of the 2000 presidential election and the events that led up to it, his hateful treatment by the press slanted the campaign against him from the beginning. (Perhaps only Ralph Nader is more culpable for the irreparable harms of the Bush era, but that is an arguable proposition.)

Had the recent adoration of Gore been accompanied by any sign of healthy introspection among those who once savaged him, there might be reason to hope that they've learned something from this extraordinarily costly lesson. But as usual, mainstream commentators prefer to write as if they suffer from severe amnesia (as well as database deprivation) -- and to pretend that everyone else does, too.
Consider Maureen Dowd, a perceptive and often witty columnist who understands very well how destructive the Bush presidency has been to her beloved country. Just the other day Dowd acknowledged in the New York Times that we and the world would be in considerably better shape today had Gore -- whom she described as "prescient on climate change, the Internet, terrorism and Iraq" -- ascended to the Oval Office instead of the current occupant. But she neither noted the guilt of the media in that travesty nor recalled her own starring role. This compilation of her past columns on the subject of Gore, replete with false accusations and trendy sneering, is must reading.

Particularly catty and revealing is a quote from a 1999 column in which she suggested that Gore's environmentalism raised questions about his masculinity. But that was simply one episode among dozens that continued well after the 2000 election cycle. When the former vice president dared to voice his anger about the bloody debacle in Iraq two years ago, the Times columnist sweetly lumped him in with "the wackadoo wing of the Democratic Party." He had to be nuts to be upset about the lies that led us into war, didn't he?

Dowd was not alone, of course; she merely reflected the conventional idiocy of the times (and the Times), along with many, many others. A similar syndrome can be found in the writings of Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, for example, and there are literally hundreds of other examples that can be dredged up from the archives of the Daily Howler, which debunked the Gore-bashing canards in real time and is still taking no prisoners. Even the New Yorker magazine, where the current editors have tried to give Gore his due for years now, used to publish awful junk about him. Obviously it isn't responsible for the 1994 profile of Gore by Peter Boyer, for instance, which was then recycled into perverse mainstream coverage, but the echoing effects of bad journalism can last for decades.

Historians will someday ask why the United States entered a century of enormous challenges under the stewardship of a man who was so manifestly unsuited to high office -- and why he prevailed over a man whose judgment, experience and courage were so clearly superior. False images and phony stories created by the media will certainly figure in their answers.
Those historians may also wonder why the better man declined to seek the presidency again -- even after many of his detractors had been forced to confess that the rejection they helped engineer was a mistake of enormous proportions. They may wonder why he passed up the opportunity to redress the injustice done to him and done to his country and his planet, which is clearly of such great concern to him.

The answer may be found, of all places, in the Note, that snarky weblog on the ABC News site, which often betrays the true emotions roiling the minds of mainstream journalists. Said the Note, in explaining the recent spate of positive coverage of the old press nemesis: "Basically, the political press wants to tempt Al Gore into the race, and then they will destroy him as a flip-flopping, exaggerating, stiff loser. And Gore knows this."
Sad, small, pitiful and quite probably true.

-- By Joe Conason

Thanks Micki!


Anonymous said...

DEN, you're verra welcome.

Even though I mostly agree with Joe Conason's assessment, I wish Al Gore had challenged the irresponsible faction of the media and the reichwing propaganda machine in 1999-2000. I think he also made a huge mistake by distancing himself from Bill Clinton -- the media kept yammering about "Clinton fatigue" as though it was a fact, but it wasn't.

Anyway...there are few makeovers in life, so time lurches on. The media did distort Gore's words (think inventing the Internet, for one example), but I still come back to the fact that the American people allow themselves to be easily manipulated. If a democratic republic is to function properly, the citizens have to take an active, informed, discerning role in the process -- yes, that means that sometimes one has to SEARCH OUT, LOOK UP, FIND the facts and THINK!

Think about it -- many Americans claim they knew Saddam Hussein had no WMDs prior to bush's invasion of Iraq, they read, they watched responsible TV reports, they listened, they sized up the available facts. But.......much of the media hammered away that the WMD were real, irrefutable, and dangerous. If Americans could figure that out, that the WMD claims had verifiable credibility problems, why couldn't they figure out that Gore was far more competent than george w bush during the media coverage of the 2000 presidential campaign? Why? Because the American people, by and large, feel more comfortable with nitwits and "fun to have a beer with" guys than they do with someone who is substantially better qualified. Gore was BORING, so the media said -- and the American people said in essence, "Wow, I agree with that. What a geek! Who wants a dull president?"

The media played an enormous role in setting the stage for a george w bush administration, but the American people were willing to delude themselves into believing a bush presidency would be A-OK -- afterall, there were enough people who voted for him (twice) to give the appearance that he actually won. As a country we sealed our own fate, when we agreed to being dumbed down to make life more "fun" and "interesting." It's about time we wised up.

DEN said...

Not just the people being manipulated but the media itself is manipulated by certain sinister individuals selectively 'leaking' stories that may or may not be true to present a certain perspective to the public.

In effect 'manufacturing' news.

People are easily led by the media as Faux News has proven time and time again.

It is not just what is true it is what is 'believed' to be true, and over and over people have fell for the 'believed' truth,
not THE truth.

Hook line and sinker!

DEN said...

Busy Saturday in sunny CA, Ill check back later, meanwhile try not to beat each other up too badly! LOL!

Coffee in the corner, fresh pasties on the side, be sure to pick up after yourselves, your momma doesn't work here ya know.

Alan said...

Klugman has an article today that says the same exact thing as your post. I guess it's behind the NYTimes firewall... I read it in the Houston Chronicle, but they don't post those on their web site. Anyways, it follows your points pretty close... how Americans went with personality instead of substance in 2000, and that's how we got "a man unsuited both by intellect and by temperament for high office".

Alan said...

From firedoglake...

– The tighty-whitey-righties tried to launch another smear against Al Gore, only to see it debunked before it could get into most of the news sources...
Still hard to believe Sal(tighty-whitey-rightie)adin posted that electrical bill b/s in here.

One part of the link posted above...
The "average" home electricity use quoted by TCPR is a national average that includes apartments and mobile homes. In Gore's climatic zone, the East South Central (Dept. of Energy PDF), the average is much higher, thanks to hot, humid summers and cold winters. Within that zone, Gore's usage is three (not 20) times average, and his per-square-foot usage is squarely average.
It's a short article, well worth the read, so you can knock them b/s anti-Gore statements outta the park.

Alan said...

One Friedman away from fragging and mutiny

An elite team of officers advising the US commander, General David Petraeus, in Baghdad has concluded that they have six months to win the war in Iraq - or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat…

The main obstacles confronting Gen Petraeus’s team are:

-Insufficient troops on the ground
-A “disintegrating” international coalition
-An anticipated increase in violence in the south as the British leave
-Morale problems as casualties rise
-A failure of political will in Washington and/or Baghdad.

The team is an unusual mix of combat experience and academic achievement. It includes Colonel Peter Mansoor, a former armoured division commander with a PhD in the history of infantry; Colonel HR McMaster, author of a well-known critique of Vietnam and a seasoned counter-insurgency operations chief; Lt-Col David Kilcullen, a seconded Australian officer and expert on Islamism; and Colonel Michael Meese, son of the former US attorney-general Edwin Meese, who was a member of the ill-fated Iraq Study Group…

Anonymous said...

Edwards Campaign Responds to Coulter Calling Him 'Faggot'

This is from Editor & Publisher -- some may say that Ann Coulter should be ignored. She should be ignored! However, when she makes these remarks at a major Republican get-together -- The Conservative Political Action Conference -- she should be lambasted for such hateful speech.

I'm glad that the John Edwards' campaign is not taking her crapola!

Anonymous said...

Alan, I'll check out Krugman's column -- thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Alan, I'm also glad to see that responsible Americans are striking back at the bug-eyed anti-Gore haters.

Why do so many people love to hate?

Alan said...

It's gonna be a slow long slog fixing everything bush fk'd up, and here's another step in that direction.

The Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007

On March 1, 2007, Rep. Henry A. Waxman along with Reps. Platts, Clay, and Burton introduced H.R. 1255, the Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007, to nullify a 2001 presidential executive order and restore public access to presidential records.
Time for bush 41 to start sweating?

David B. Benson said...

Micki --- Because they have been carefully taught?

√≤¿√≥arol said...

Micki, I saw a few minutes of that Conservative thing and saw Coulter introduced. I watched her spew crap for about 5 minutes before I had to turn it off or I would have had to look for the barf bucket.

Anonymous said...

Dr. B -- that's the correct answer.

On another matter...

March 3, 2007
Editorial, The New York Times

A famous hunter and outdoorsman recently voiced misgivings about people who use assault rifles to kill prairie dogs.

Everyone knows what a prairie dog is: a chubby North American rodent that lives in a communal burrow and grows to be about a foot long. “Assault rifle” is a much touchier term. It is generally understood to be the kind of gun that soldiers use in wars and terrorists use on the evening news. But the gun lobby despises “assault rifle,” considering it a false, scary label tacked onto perfectly legitimate weapons by people who want to take away others’ rights.

That is a debate for another day. The question for now is whether the hunter, Jim Zumbo, deserved what he got after he wrote on his blog that hunters should shun what he called assault rifles — semiautomatics like the AR-15, a cousin of the M-16, and civilian knockoffs of the AK-47. “Excuse me, maybe I’m a traditionalist,” he wrote, “but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity.” He added: “To most of the public, an assault rifle is a terrifying thing. Let’s divorce ourselves from them. I say game departments should ban them from the prairies and woods.”

Until he wrote that, Mr. Zumbo was one of the most admired hunters in America, a widely read magazine writer with his own cable TV program and lots of lecture appearances and corporate sponsorships. He of all people should have known that “ban” is the mother of all fighting words to gun zealots. His 250-word posting caused a huge eruption on gun blogs, and Mr. Zumbo instantly became their second-most-hated man, after the gun-control advocate James Brady. Even though Mr. Zumbo quickly disavowed his words and apologized, he lost his blog, was dumped by Outdoor Life magazine and was disowned by the National Rifle Association, after 40 years of membership. His corporate sponsors, including the gunmaker Remington, ditched him. His cable show was canceled. The N.R.A. issued a chilling statement warning Congress to take heed of Mr. Zumbo’s fate. By the time Blaine Harden told his story in The Washington Post, Mr. Zumbo was professionally dead.

The paranoia and gloating that Mr. Zumbo’s name has evoked on gun discussion boards like and speak for themselves. You will find only a handful of postings suggesting cautiously that the overnight destruction of a man’s career might not be the proudest moment for the advocates of gun rights. One or two say that instead of cementing their reputations for reflexively enshrining gun ownership above everything, they might have asked Mr. Zumbo what he was talking about. They might even have had a healthy debate. But they shot first.

Anonymous said...


Carol, are you certain you used the correct pronoun?

Gerald said...

I have to agree that the reichwing rags want Gore to run so they can destroy him. If Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize, he leaves politics a winner. He won the presidency in 2000 as everyone knows.

Nazi America is too evil to reverse its wallowing in the abyss of hell.

Gerald said...

Please answer a question! Is there any man in Nazi America who would want to marry Ann Coulter? I am serious in asking this question.

David B. Benson said...

Gerald --- How rich is she?


Gerald said...

DBB, I never thought about the money. Good point! I guess I am old-fashioned and I believe that a person marries for love. I would say that Ann Coulter is well healed in terms of money.

Gerald said...

Where God Is

Laura Knight Moretz’ son Thomas and his best friend Josh both attended the Temple Emanuel Preschool. But when the 3-year-old started asking questions about religious differences, she wondered how to explain things.

Writing in Guideposts magazine, Moretz, a Presbyterian, recounts that she told Thomas, “You know Josh and his family go to Temple Emanuel? “Well, our church and the synagogue have the same God, just different beliefs about Jesus.”

A few days later, the little boy asked her, “Mama, where God is? Where God is?”

“You tell me, Thomas. Where is God?”

He laughed and answered, “God is in my heart. …The rabbi told me.”

Moretz hugged her son, saying, “He’s a smart guy. And so are you, Thomas.”

Faith in God is a tremendous gift –
and so is knowing that God is big enough to fill all hearts.

Those of steadfast mind You keep in peace – in peace because they trust in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4)

Eternal God, source of all love, help us to respect others’ faith in Your presence and action in their lives and ours’.

It does not matter what your religious beliefs are because the true belief is that God should be in all our hearts. Our hearts should be filled with love for all our brothers and sisters in God.

I have been critical of three Nazi governments from America, England, and Israel. These governments are TOTALLY EVIL. Yet, in these countries are good people who want to do what is good and right for all human beings. We must remain vigilant against the the evil ways of these three governments.

Please keep God in all our hearts!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Gerald and Dr. B -- I would hope that no man alive would marry Ann Coulter for money. What man in his right mind would choose to spend time with a polemical bile- spewing motor-mouth like AC?

I give men more credit. No, I believe there is no man who would marry AC -- no matter how rich she might be.

This is kind of funny. My husband was on a flight recently and Ann Coulter was seated across the aisle from him. No one paid any attention to her. She preened and flitted her hair and crossed and uncrossed her legs and flitted her hair some more but no one paid any attention to her.

As they disembarked the plane, the guy in the window seat next to her, said to my husband, "Thank god I had my headphones with me. I didn't want to hear one word from her."

David B. Benson said...

Micki --- What man in his right mind indeed!

There's the rub...

Gerald said...

Praying Each Day: March 3

Gerald said...

micki, thank you for sharing your husband's flight experience.

I do mind that people have different opinions and that they voice their opinions. Listening to Ann Coulter leaves me the impression that she has total hatred in her heart. Plus, I believe that she lies. What a combination for anyone to possess - hatred and lies? How does a person go through the day full of hatred and lies? I sent Ann Coulter a prayer and after she received the prayer she seem to be filled with more hatred in her heart. I will copy the prayer and post it for you.

DEN said...

OK I'm back, how did you get to the Coultergeist? EWWWWWW!

Got Gerald praying and Dr. Benson considering marriage?

She would have a Pre-nup 4 sure.

No money in that self absorbed pit of humanity worth having, not one dime.


gerald said...

Here is the prayer that I have sent to Ann Coulter.

I said a prayer

I said a prayer for you today and I know God must have heard
I felt the answer in my heart, although He spoke no word!
I did not ask for wealth or fame I knew you would not mind
I asked Him to send treasures of a far more lasting kind!
I asked that He would be near you at the start of each new day to
Grant you health and blessings and friends to share your way!
I asked for happiness for you in all things great and small
But it was for His loving care I prayed the most of all!

DEN said...

Gerald from what I can see she/he can use all the help she/he can get, a heart installed and a brain transplant.

Rush Limbaugh would be a great match, since they both need the same things.

David B. Benson said...

Huffington Post today has a brief report on global warming and U.S. carbon dioxide emissions rise projections.

Mostly does not look good...

gerald said...

Senator Carl Levin (D) calls for hitting Syria. I find that there is little difference between the Nazi GOrPs, aka, the Repugs who go around smelling womens' bicycle seats and the Nazi Demons, aka, Democratic Party.

Does any American politician possess any sanity?

G.K. Chesterton says, "God speaks sanity to a world of lunatics."

We have lunatics running our asylums.

Our politicians must all be psychos!!!

gerald said...

den, I would match up Ann Coulter with Bill O'Reilly.

gerald said...

How you like to be a fly listening to Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly's conversations? You screwed up minds babbling at one time!!!

gerald said...

My wife keeps saying to me, "Nothing is going to chage in politics." I really must listen to my wife. We have only crazy politicians across Nazi America.

gerald said...

Change is the correct word!!!I left out the "n"!

DEN said...

Bill O'LIElly is a better match, he like loofa's, I bet she/he like loofas too.

The Loofa twins, they can both scrub their man parts together.


gerald said...

TWO screwed up minds babbling at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Micki --- What man in his right mind indeed!

There's the rub...

LOL! Dr. B, you could be a humor writer, when you're not being serious.

Saladin said...

"Tighty, whitey RIGHTIE?"

DEN, is that was passes for commentary here? Don't worry, I won't be back. That's really too pathetic to even address.