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Political Corrections, Part 2: Who Wants To Be A Mindless Republican Shill?

That's their story and they're sticking to it: the MRC really does believe Al Gore lied about "Love Story."

By Terry Krepel
Posted 10/17/2000

In my previous installment of "Political Corrections," I posed the following challenge to the Media Research Center after its insistence on spreading the lie that Al Gore boasted that he was the insiration for the lead character in Erich Segal's "Love Story": Can you explain on what basis you believe the "Love Story" fable is true when everyone from the New York Times to the Daily Howler has proven not only that any actual boast to this effect by Al Gore is non-existent but the actual inspiration to be essentially true?

Now, we have our answer: No, there is no factual basis to believe it, but we do anyway, and we'll continue to promote it as a Gore lie no matter what anyone says.

The evidence? An item in the Oct. 17 MRC CyberAlert. It recounts an episode of the game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" in which the show, as the MRC puts it, "endorsed Al Gore’s boast that he 'was the basis' for Love Story" by using it as a question. The contestant got the answer wrong -- "In my opinion, when they say Al Gore was the basis for it, that's singular; they didn't say a basis," the contestant tells U.S. News & World Report -- costing him $64,000; he has filed a grievance and hopes to return to the show.

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Political Corrections

The CyberAlert item also quotes disapprovingly of "Millionaire" host Regis Philbin saying, "Yes, it's true, it's true," then concludes: "Actually, Segal has said the character was based on Tommy Lee Jones, Gore’s roommate."

Actually, that's incomplete and therefore wrong, which is clear to everyone, it appears, but the MRC. As the Daily Howler pointed out way back in June 1999, the New York Times quoted Segal as saying that both Gore and Jones were the models for the character. And the U.S. News article quoted by MRC notes that Segal has confirmed this to ABC.

(U.S. News does get the basis of the story correct, that "Gore repeated an erroneous report that he and Tipper were the basis for Erich Segal's Love Story." MRC, apparently, considers "repeating an erroneous report" to be a "boast.")

This whole episode illustrates MRC's particularly skewed version of the world. In their eyes, any positive reference to a Democrat on a major TV network -- even on a game show -- is evidence of "liberal bias." And if you show any of this type of "liberal bias," you're in the doghouse with the MRC. In fact, in a CyberAlert just two weeks earlier, on Oct. 5, the MRC approved of another "Millionaire" question taken from Gore's book "Earth in the Balance" about banning the internal combustion engine, noting that "clueless potential voters (who) probably don’t watch TV news" might get the message.

So, look for more "Millionaire"-bashing by the MRC in the future. But don't look for MRC to correct its error. (I'd send them an e-mail about it, but we know where that's gotten me in the past.) Its slogan may include the word "responsibility," but that responsibility doesn't extend to telling the truth about those it opposes politically -- even when the facts are so clearly against them.

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