Skip to comments.Gore’s TV War: He Lobs Salvo At Fox News
Posted on 11/26/2002 11:02:56 PM PST by BADROTOFINGER
Gores TV War: He Lobs Salvo At Fox News by Josh Benson
Among the many problems facing the Democratic Party, according to former Vice President Al Gore, is the state of the American media.
"The media is kind of weird these days on politics, and there are some major institutional voices that are, truthfully speaking, part and parcel of the Republican Party," said Mr. Gore in an interview with The Observer. "Fox News Network, The Washington Times, Rush Limbaughtheres a bunch of them, and some of them are financed by wealthy ultra-conservative billionaires who make political deals with Republican administrations and the rest of the media . Most of the media [has] been slow to recognize the pervasive impact of this fifth column in their ranksthat is, day after day, injecting the daily Republican talking points into the definition of whats objective as stated by the news media as a whole."
Mr. Gore has been airing his views during a nationwide promotional book tour that marks his re-emergence in public life after a self-imposed exile following his loss in the 2000 Presidential election. Now, as Mr. Gore considers another Presidential campaign, hes determined to confound his ponderous image by unveiling a new Al Goreone who doesnt hesitate, as he puts it, to "let er rip."
Hence his controversial criticisms of President Bushs foreign policy, and his surprise announcement in favor of a government-run universal health-care system. And hence, in a phone interview with The Observer, his extensive criticism of the media, which is hardly a conventional way of launching a national political campaign.
Actually, Mr. Gore may have little reason to hide his views about the media, for his re-emergence, while generating a massive amount of attention, has also inspired ridicule from commentators of all ideological persuasions. Conservatives seemed delighted by his return, remembering his awkward candidacy in 2000, and many liberals have been quite frank in wishing that he would simply disappear.
But Mr. Gore has a bone to pick with his critics: namely, he says, that a systematically orchestrated bias in the media makes it impossible for him and his fellow Democrats to get a fair shake. "Something will start at the Republican National Committee, inside the building, and it will explode the next day on the right-wing talk-show network and on Fox News and in the newspapers that play this game, The Washington Times and the others. And then theyll create a little echo chamber, and pretty soon theyll start baiting the mainstream media for allegedly ignoring the story theyve pushed into the zeitgeist. And then pretty soon the mainstream media goes out and disingenuously takes a so-called objective sampling, and lo and behold, these R.N.C. talking points are woven into the fabric of the zeitgeist."
And during a lengthy discourse on the history of political journalism in America, Mr. Gore said he believed that evolving technologies and market forces have combined to lower the medias standards of objectivity. "The introduction of cable-television news and Internet news made news a commodity, available from an unlimited number of sellers at a steadily decreasing cost, so the established news organizations became the high-cost producers of a low-cost commodity," said Mr. Gore. "Theyre selling a hybrid product now thats news plus news-helper; whether its entertainment or attitude or news thats marbled with opinion, its different. Now, especially in the cable-TV market, it has become good economics once again to go back to a party-oriented approach to attract a hard-core following that appreciates the predictability of a right-wing point of view, but then to make aggressive and constant efforts to deny thats what theyre doing in order to avoid offending the broader audience that mass advertisers want. Thus the Fox slogan We Report, You Decide, or whatever the current version of their ritual denial is."
"We understand that Gore is frustrated," said R.N.C. spokesman Kevin Sheridan. "Hes the leader of a party without a message. But if he thinks that the Republican National Committee can control the American media, then perhaps he needs a break from the book tour."
Fox spokesman Rob Zimmerman said, "We wont dignify this with a response."
A spokesman for The Washington Times didnt return calls for comment. Rush Limbaugh was traveling and not available for comment.
A Left Hook
Of course, some of the harshest criticisms of Mr. Gore have come from distinctly non-conservative quarters. Mr. Gore seemed particularly stung, for example, by an op-ed written by Frank Rich of The New York Times, suggesting that his new spontaneity was a charade. "When people write a line like one that I read this morningquote, People do not change, period, end quotewell, theres a difference between learning from experience and self-reinvention," Mr. Gore said. "People do change, particularly in America. If you dont learn from the experiences you have in life, then youre not trying very hard, and if you dont make mistakes, youre not human . If people who make their living criticizing anybody and everybody want to add me to their list, thats all right. Hell, theyve got to make a living."
Democrats sympathetic to Mr. Gore frequently maintain that "political insiders"the media, big donors, professional politicianspaint an overly pessimistic picture of his viability as a candidate and suggest that his position has been strengthened by the partys poor showing in the midterm elections several weeks ago. "There are all these people in the party who have been adamant that we need a fresh face," said Joe Andrew, who headed the Democratic National Committee during the Clinton administration. "I think a lot of those people are taking another look at Al Gore now, saying that, Well, at least theres someone out there with big ideas, who looks good on TV, who looks more comfortable with himself. I think its simply a fundamental reaction to the sense that he is a serious candidate with serious ideas."
But while Mr. Gore has a solid core of support, many Democrats do want a fresh face to take on George W. Bush in 2004. The same formal and informal polls that show Mr. Gore with substantially larger backing than any other Democratic hopeful also show that a great many donors, opinion makers and party leaders are uncommittedand leaning toward Anyone But Gore.
Its possible that no amount of criticism will keep Mr. Gore out of the race, but theres little question that "Gore fatigue" already has become a rallying point for his potential opponents. "At this point, people are uniformly looking for a different face and a different agenda, an agenda that requires a backbone," Vermont Governor Howard Dean, a potential Democratic contender, told The Observer.
Asked about Mr. Gores efforts to make a fresh start as a straight-talking, independent-minded Democrat, Mr. Dean said, "I think it will be kind of a tough job for someone who was a sitting Vice President to call himself an outsider."
Mr. Gore acknowledged his image problem among powerful Democrats, and that the onus will be upon him to recapture the loyalties of those who supported him in 2000. "Maybe I bear the blame for some of it," he said. "I havent been very good about calling all of the insiders over the last two years, and maybe some of them have a beef with me because of that. I know they have been courted assiduously by some of the others who are considering a run for the White House, and it may be that some of them have already signed up with other people. If I do decide to run again, I think theres a lot of support, but Id also have to work really hard to get a bunch of them committed back to me."
Mr. Gore also reckoned that he would have to prove himself all over again to key political and media players. "Im well aware that the political insiders and political-journalism community have a considerable amount of influence, and even though Im stronger at the grassroots level, I think that if I did run again, I would have to convince those two groups that Ive learned enough in the last couple of years to run a better campaign than I did last time. I dont think that theres a thing that I could say and no words I could choose that could accomplish thatthe way to convince them would be in actually doing it."
For now, Mr. Gore can only attempt to explain what motivates the ceaseless lampooning he continues to face from Americas columnists and commentators. "Thats postmodernism," he offered. "Its the combination of narcissism and nihilism that really defines postmodernism, and thats another interview for another time, if youre interested in it.
You may reach Josh Benson via email at: email@example.com.
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Yet I wonder if the FBI's continued digging for fraud on the South Dakota Indian reservation might have anything to do with these bizarre outbursts?
I wonder what Algore's (or Tipper's) response would be if a reporter ever asked them if they thought that lying was acceptable? If they ever got within 50 feet of a reporter that asks decent questions, that is...JFK
The world according to Gore--Fox news is not the mainstream media, despite having the highest ratings of any cable news chanel. And Republican ideas have no legitimate place in the "fabric of the zeitgeist". Zeitgeist. A real man of the people that Algore.
Secondly, Gore is so upset about FOX, yet I dont remember him getting upset over the Turner/CNN days. This is how these people deal with jealousy. Next thing you'll hear them trying to push another "fair media doctrine"...oh wait, they cant...THEY HAVE NO POWER! Bwahhahahahahah
"EAT IT GORE!" From Will Farrel on SNL as President Bush
LOL.....exactly what I was thinking. How many of Albore's Palm Beach voters understand the zeitgeist that poor Al is now battling!
Uh, yeah, Al. If we should decide we're interested, we'll call ya.
What the heck was that answer about? Trying to prove he can pronounce words George W. Bush probably can't? That oughta garner about six more votes. 531 to go.
Sounds like the left wing in America which Al Gore, whether he likes it or not, is one of the standard bearers. Would that he would work to change it rather than use it...