Gore breaks silence on media coverage of 2000 election (run dam it!)

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For the first time Al Gore talks about the effect the press had on him and on the 2000 presidential election, telling Vanity Fair contributing editor Evgenia Peretz that he doesn’t blame the media for his loss and that he accepts responsibility for not being able to communicate more clearly with the public,

“Modern politics seems to require and reward some capacities that I don’t think I have in abundance … such as a tolerance for … spin rather than an honest discussion of substance. Apparently, it comes easily for some people, but not for me,” Gore says.

Peretz reports specifically on Gore’s coverage in The New York Times and in The Washington Post, each of which reported and/or referenced Gore’s supposed claims that he invented the Internet, that the two main characters in Love Story were based on him and Tipper, and that he discovered the toxic waste at Love Canal.

Asked about the debate coverage, Gore tells Peretz, “The sighs, the sighs, the sighs … Within 18 hours, they had turned perception around to where the entire story was about me sighing. And that’s scary. That’s scary.”

Peretz reports that the Gore family joked about the nonstop talk about which president you’d want to have a beer with, and Kristin, the Gore’s middle daughter, said, “Gee, I want the designated driver as my president.” But, according to Peretz, deep down they weren’t laughing.

Tipper Gore tells Peretz that following the loss, “we were roadkill … it took a long time to pick ourselves up from what happened.” Tipper also says that Al has made no moves that would suggest a run for the presidency, but adds that if he turned to her one night and said he had to run, she’d get on board, and they’d discuss how to approach it this time around, given what they’ve learned.

Gore tells Peretz that he does believe that some of his words were distorted and that certain major reporters and outlets were often unfair, and admits that the tendency of the press to twist his words encumbered his ability to speak freely. “I tried not to let it [affect my behavior],” Gore tells Peretz. “But if you know that day after day the filter is going to be so distorted, inevitably that has an impact on the kinds of messages that you try and force through the filter. Anything that involves subtlety or involves trusting the reporters in their good sense and sense of fairness in interpretation, you’re just not going to take a risk with something that could be easily distorted and used against you.”

Gore also tells Peretz that bringing up the Internet again in public was like stepping on a verbal land mine. “If I had tried in the wake of that to put expressions about the Internet in campaign speeches, it would have been difficult,” he says. “I did, of course, from time to time. But I remember many occasions where I would say something about the Internet, and as soon as the word ‘Internet’ came from my lips, the press would be snickering and relishing the mention. Not everybody in the press, but the Zeitgeist was polluted, and it never dissipated, because the stream of pollution coming into it was constant, constant.”

Full article now available here.

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2 Responses to “Gore breaks silence on media coverage of 2000 election (run dam it!)”

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