A Blast From the Past: The Media vs. Al Gore

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Paul Krugman writes in passing that reporters who covered the 2000 election “liked Bush and didn’t like Gore, and as a result they treated Bush with kid gloves while gleefully passing on every smear against his opponent.” Andrew Gelman pushes back:

Far be it from me to question something that was “obviously true to anyone who lived through it”—as a non-T.V. owner, I think it’s safe to say that I did not actually live through the 2000 election campaign—but . . . really??? Even if it’s true that reporters liked Bush and didn’t like Gore (again, I’d like to see the evidence), one thing we do know is that twice as many journalists are Democrats as Republicans.

Hoo boy. I’ve told Bob Somerby before that I think he obsesses too much over the 2000 election, but I guess someone needs to if the media’s treatment of Gore in the 2000 campaign still isn’t common knowledge. So for those of you who think Krugman was over the top, here are some reading assignments:

  • Robert Parry, writing in real time, on the press corps’ contempt for Gore (“The national news media have repeatedly portrayed the vice president…as a willful liar who may even live in a world of his own delusions”).
  • Evgenia Peretz, seven years later, describing the treatment of Gore by Kit Seelye, Ceci Connolly, and other campaign reporters (“They just wanted to tear Gore apart,” said a major network correspondent).
  • Jonathan Schwartz summarizing the great debate incident (“The media groaned, howled and laughed almost every time Al Gore said something”).

And for the longer version of all this, there’s Bob’s own “How He Got There” — not a finished product yet, but up to Chapter Six anyway. Read and be amazed.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate