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From the April 1999 MediaWatch

On the Bright Side:

CNN Catches Gore Gaffes

Vice President Al Gore made two outlandish boasts in March, but unlike the broadcast networks, CNN aired a news story about them and recalled a few classics.

First, in a March 9 interview on CNNís Late Edition/Prime Time Gore insisted: "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Second, Gore told the March 16 Des Moines Register about how his father "taught me how to clean out hog waste with a shovel and a hoe. He taught me how to clear land with a double-blade ax; how to plow a steep hillside with a team of mules."

Eleven days after the Internet claim, on March 20 ABCís World News Tonight delivered the only broadcast network news show mention, but allowed Gore to put the best spin on it: "I was very tired when I made that comment because I had been up very late the night before inventing the camcorder. And anyway, nobody questioned Strom Thurmond when he said he invented the wheel."

The night before, CNNís The World Today, after hitting on the Internet, explored the farming boast ignored by the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning shows. Bruce Morton countered: "Gore is a city kid: father a Senator, he grew up in Washington, went to St. Albans, a well-known private school here, and then to Harvard. Summers at the family farm, yes, but mules and double-bladed axes? What he meant, a spokesman said, was Ďthe fact that he spent his summers working on the family farm.í" Morton recalled another boast: "Gore once claimed the two characters in the movie Love Story were based on his wife, Tipper, and himself. The author said, news to me, and Gore backed off."

He added: "Then there was his emotional account, at the 1996 convention, of his sisterís death from lung cancer in 1984." Undercutting Goreís pitch, Morton pointed out: "Gore bragged about farming tobacco as a presidential candidate in 1988, four years after his sisterís death." Morton showed Gore on February 23, 1988: "I want you to know that with my own hands, all my life, Iíve put it in the plant beds and transferred it. Iíve hoed it. Iíve suckered it. Iíve sprayed it."





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