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Thursday, March 30, 2006
Smearing Al Gore Never Gets Old
Topic: NewsBusters
A March 30 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham complaining that "No one requires Hillary to apologize when she clumsily hops over the line of rhetorical civility," Graham made the following claim: "We saw in the 2000 election cycle that one way national reporters protected Democratic presidential contender Al Gore was to ignore wild or embarrassing things he said in public." As evidence, Graham linked to a March 1999 MRC item complaining that "Al Gore's gotten a free pass on gaffes."

First, March 1999 is not quite the "2000 election cycle." Second, Graham ignores that by the time we actually reached the 2000 election cycle, some of the items of the MRC's list were routinely bandied about in the media. Third, some of Gore's alleged "gaffes" weren't gaffes at all -- something we don't recall the MRC ever reporting to its readers.

One of the alleged gaffes is Gore's statement that "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."We can go back to the very first ConWebWatch article in April 2000 for proof that it's actually true, confirmed by the "father of the Internet" himself, Vinton Cerf.

Also on the list "Gore told Time's Karen Tumulty he and Tipper were the inspiration for Erich Segal's novel Love Story." Also essentially true -- author Erich Segal confirmed that Gore was a model for the lead character -- but the MRC's depiction of the claim is false. Gore wasn't bragging about it; according to the New York Times, Gore said he had heard that author Erich Segal had said that and that was "all I know."

Additionally, the MRC claimed that Gore said "he was a farm boy who plowed steep hillsides with mules." As Bob Somerby points out, that's true, too, confirmed by arguably hostile Regnery-published Gore biographer Bob Zelnick.

If one is going to make accusations of bias, it helps to have facts on hand. In this case, Graham and the MRC don't.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:27 PM EST

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