On the June 5 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, during a discussion of New York Times columnist Bob Herbert's June 5 column (subscription required) about former Vice President Al Gore, National Review columnist Deroy Murdock asserted, "I wonder if he's gotten over the big drawback that I think essentially kept him out of the White House in 2000, which is sort of the stiffness, the woodenness, and also his, sort of, playing fast and loose with the truth, you know, saying that he was the inventor of the Internet and that sort of thing." But Gore never claimed to be "the inventor of the Internet."
In the wake of the Academy Award nomination and subsequent victory for Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth (Paramount Classics, May 2006) and his congressional testimony on global warming, Media Matters documented the media's revival of old smears and falsehoods that may have been decisive in the 2000 presidential campaign, including the common characterization of Gore as a "liar" or "exaggerator." Specifically, as Media Matters has noted previously, the assertion that Gore claimed to have "invent[ed] the Internet" has been thoroughly debunked.
The program was guest-hosted by MSNBC contributor and columnist Mike Barnicle, and the panel also included former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D-MD) and Human Events editor at large Terence P. Jeffrey.
From the June 5 edition of MSNBC's Hardball:
BARNICLE: Al Gore was in The New York Times today, in Bob Herbert's column, claiming he's not good at politics. So the question is -- he told Bob Herbert, "I don't think I'm really good at politics, to tell you the truth." He also said that "what politics has become requires a level of tolerance for triviality and artifice and nonsense that I find I have in short supply." Stark honesty, sour grapes, or pure politics, Terry?
JEFFREY: I think it's politics. I think he's sort of toying with running for president still. He obviously is pretty good at politics. The guy got elected to the House of Representatives, Senate, vice president, almost got elected president of the United States.
I thought, actually, in that piece, he made a very excellent point about Iraq that I wish some of the other Democrats would listen to. He said the problem is, even if you want to get out of there, the job of a president is to deal with what is now a very complex situation and not make it worse with what you do. And I think I -- I'd like to see other Democrats answer the dilemma that Al Gore put forward, because I think it's an honest one.
MURDOCK: I think Al Gore's -- I wonder if he's gotten over the big drawback that I think essentially kept him out of the White House in 2000, which is sort of the stiffness, the woodenness, and also his, sort of, playing fast and loose with the truth, you know, saying that he was the inventor of the Internet and that sort of thing.
One positive for him is that he is obviously the most eloquent advocate for the global-warming theory. I happen to not agree with it, but that is a pretty coherent viewpoint, and it's one that he could use to advance a whole number of issues. So it at least gives him a coherent philosophy or coherent set of policy positions to put forward, for better or for worse.