Lying Al Gore: Will the Puff Pieces End?
by L. Brent Bozell III
March 6, 1997
Al Gore is the anti-Quayle. From the day he was added to the
Clinton ticket, reporters have presented Gore as the cerebral antithesis of
his predecessor, as well as half of the "gold dust twins" (Time
magazine). So Bob Woodward's March 2 Washington Post story exposing Gore as
the Democrats' "solicitor-in-chief," an aggressive shakedown artist
of business donors, must have come as a shock.
Weird, isn't it, that Gore seems to be getting his first
vetting more than four years into his vice presidency? Within hours of Dan
Quayle's announcement, the same reporters had pored over his draft record, his
report cards, his resume, his golf trips, and his financial statements -- and
they got much of it wrong. Yet nobody's investigated Al Gore's military record
-- the strangely shortened six-month tour as a reporter in Vietnam.
Special privileges invoked? Nobody cares. Lying to a nationwide convention
audience about your sister's death spurring you to fight the tobacco menace?
Gore the environmentalist making $20,000 a year in zinc
mining royalties? Nobody cares. Even worse, getting it from Occidental
Petroleum, part of the the cozily slimy relationship between the Gore family
and the Soviet stooge Armand Hammer. In his book, "Dossier," Edward
Jay Epstein noted a Whitewater-style deal between Al Gore Sr. and Hammer:
"In 1950, Hammer had made Congressman Gore a partner in a cattle-breeding
business, and Gore made a substantial profit." (Gore the Elder later
worked directly for Hammer for $500,000 a year.) This might explain why young
Al wrote to Dad that anti-communism was a "psychological ailment," a
"national madness." Hammer's business interests in communist
countries were a family cash cow!
Al Gore had to be feeling invincible the past few years.
Reporters ignored his cronies leaning on the Immigration and Naturalization
Service to help left-wing Latino groups cram aliens through the machinery to
vote Democratic. The networks and news magazines ignored Gore's bizarre
Buddhist temple fundraiser -- until after the election. Even as Gore's initial
story crumbled into obvious lying, these outlets ignored or downplayed it.
For years, the regular pattern for the Democratic Party
press was to pile on the puff pieces for the heir apparent, with his mammoth
brain, his bottomless compassion, his self-deprecating Macarena. Last
September, Time and Newsweek competed to see who could slobber over Gore the
best. Note to airplane passengers reading these words: reach for the air
First, Time's J.F.O. McAllister: "The young Dan Quayle
never convinced the country he had the gravitas to be Veep, let along top man.
But the cerebral, private, intensely competitive Al Gore has managed the
contortionist's feat of projecting an almost perfect loyalty to his boss's
re-election without diminishing himself...Gore and Clinton, both brainy,
moderate Southerners with an abiding interest in the plumbing of government,
speak an easy shorthand and razz each other like competitive brothers."
Time didn't wonder where intense competitiveness might lead, say to
In the other corner, Newsweek's Bill Turque: "Though Al
Gore relishes politics almost as much as his boss does, tonight he's next door
in the Old Executive Office Building, doing what he really loves: thinking
about complexity theory, open systems, Goethe and the absence of scientific
metaphors in modern society...Clinton may lead the country into the next
millennium, but it is Gore who truly embodies the new century's possibilities
and anxieties." Newsweek missed Telemarketer Al's cold calls shaking down
corporate titans in between Goethe readings.
U.S. News soon joined the circus. Timothy Noah exclaimed:
"Gore's commitment to the world of big ideas is no pose. Unlike John F.
Kennedy and Adlai Stevenson, who became darlings of the highbrow set without
really earning the honor, Gore is truly engaged in the life of the mind...Had
the younger Gore not become a Congressman at 28, a Senator at 36, and Vice
President at 44, he might have become the sort of essayist who aspires to
membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters." Earth to U.S.
News: If Gore's so damned cerebral, how come he can't figure out it's illegal
to twist donors' arms on government property?
Newsweek's Evan Thomas came back for more: "Because
Gore is a reserved politician, his sometimes messianic zeal has been
overlooked. The vice president has written that his call to save the
environment began with the shock of a near-fatal car accident to his son,
Albert III. Characteristically, Gore felt it wasn't enough to save one child;
he wanted to save all the world's children."
Now that scandals are surrounding Al Gore, will the puff
pieces end? Will Gore's shifty, stammering, wholly unconvincing press
conference taint the Gold Dust Twin image? Or will the press rush to the
rescue instead? The media's credibility -- as much as Gore's -- is at stake.
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