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Wednesday, September 17, 2008
MRC Misstated Gore Then, Defends McCain Now
Topic: Media Research Center

A Sept. 17 NewsBusters post by Jeff Poor complained that an NBC report noting McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin's claim that the BlackBerry was "the miracle that John McCain helped create" didn't also "explore McCain's work on the Commerce committee and any influence he may have had over technological innovations."

By contrast, the MRC quickly distorted Al Gore's 1999 claim that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet" as a congressman into the false assertion that Gore said he "invented the Internet" (as it did in a June 1999 CyberAlert) while ignoring "any influence he may have had over technological innovations." The MRC did its best to perpetuate the falsehood:

  • A February 2000 "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham complained that Tom Brokaw "did not report Gore's claim to have invented the Internet." Why would he? That's not what he said.
  • An April 2000 "MagazineWatch" by Paul Smith stated: "If Gergen seriously believes people will miss Clinton’s science speeches, he must also believe that Al Gore did invent the Internet."
  • Brent Bozell asserted in a June 2000 column: "Gore portrays himself as the technical genius who invented the Internet."

And Bozell tried to change the subject in an October 2000 column complaining about anyone who tried to correct the record:

He didn't really say he "invented the Internet," they complain, he "took the initiative in creating it." The real point here isn't the complete lack of distinction between "inventing" and "creating" the Internet. It's that Gore said this on March 9, 1999, to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, and Blitzer didn't even blink. He didn't follow up. His eyebrows didn't even move. He just asked another question. The statement went completely unreported on television for ten days. 

A June 2000 CyberAlert referenced "Gore's Internet invention claim."

The MRC clearly wants to keep Holtz-Eakins' claim from turning into a "McCain invented the BlackBerry" meme. Too bad it couldn't be bothered to hold themselves to a similiar standard of accuracy in discussing Gore's claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:55 PM EDT

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