Hillary Clinton's race for the White House might be historic in more than ways than one. Not only would a successful presidential campaign usher in a new era of a female president, but if Clinton ends up running unopposed during the Democratic primary season it would represent a modern-day first for a non-incumbent or a non-sitting vice president.
That prospect has generated endless hand-wringing among journalists who seem nervous about covering a Democratic primary season where there are no serious Clinton challengers. But instead of acknowledging their professional desire for a story to cover ("The media wants a fight, they love a fight," notes Democratic strategist Joe Trippi), some journalists have presented their agita as concern for Clinton's political well-being. They stress that an uncontested primary would hurt her chances in 2016. And specifically, commentators suggest Clinton's press coverage would improve if she had a Democratic opponent.
The argument goes like this: If a primary challenger steps forward, the media's harsh focus would move off Clinton and onto her opponent who'd be the target of equally vigorous scrutiny.
"She needs someone else in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination -- someone to divert the news media," wrote Richard Cohen at the Washington Post. He stressed that currently, "Clinton's chief opponent is the press. It covers her like the proverbial cheap suit, if only because it has no one else to cover." The New York Times cited a Republican strategist who suggested "an absence of top-tier Democratic campaign rivals would hurt Mrs. Clinton because the glare of the news media spotlight intensifies when a single person is in it."
In other words, the current campaign dynamic of the press squaring off against Clinton and essentially acting as her opponent in the absence of a challenger is bad news for her, which is why she'd benefit from a capable opponent.
Bonus: Having a challenger would supposedly force the press to cover substantive issues as two or more candidates battled over ideas.
That all sounds logical, in theory. But somebody might want to ask Al Gore if that's what happened during the 2000 campaign when he was the prohibitive Democratic favorite and faced a single challenger, former Sen. Bill Bradley.
Ask Al Gore if the emergence of Bradley's campaign meant the former vice president's caustic press coverage suddenly lightened up as reporters scrambled to dissect Bradley with equal vigor; if Bradley's presence meant the press obediently focused on the issues instead of obsessing over trivial campaign gotcha and claims of character flaws.
They did not.
In a July 25 editorial, the Washington Times continued to push falsehoods about climate change, such as claiming that "the Climategate scandal showed that scientists manipulate data to bolster their stories of impending doom." However, numerous inquiries have found no evidence that scientists manipulated any climate change data. From the Times:
During the past several years, the Climategate scandal showed that scientists manipulate data to bolster their stories of impending doom. That, combined with the absence of actual temperature elevations, has soured the public's acceptance of Mr. Gore's central article of faith that human activity is heating the planet.
While viewers in the Northern Hemisphere are likely still to be fanning themselves when the show airs in September, those tuning in from south of the equator might still be suffering from late-winter shivers. The inconvenient truth is that global temperatures have not warmed in nearly 15 years.
The latest warmist excuse is that China's coal-burning power plants are throwing huge clouds of sulfate aerosols into the atmosphere that reflect solar radiation and counter the heating effects of man-made greenhouse gases. Yet climatologist Patrick J. Michaels points out that there is very little mixing of air flow between the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Readings in the north have risen slightly since 1998, while those in the south have fallen, with no net change. In other words, there has been no global warming.
Right-wing media have recently smeared former Vice President Al Gore and global warming activists by comparing them to Harold Camping, the fringe preacher who incorrectly predicted the Biblical day of rapture would occur on May 21. Right-wing media have previously smeared the scientific consensus on global warming as a "cult."
As the Guardian reported, former Vice President Al Gore is fighting back against News Corp. for forcing his television network off the air in Italy. According to Gore, Current TV was told it would be dropped from News Corp.'s Sky Italia because of the network's decision to hire Keith Olbermann.
Gore pushed back against the News Corp. decision, noting that the incident demonstrates how the company lets ideology get in the way of its business decisions:
In an interview with the Guardian, Gore said the Current TV news and documentary channel was told unexpectedly three weeks ago that it could no longer be carried by Sky Italia because of its decision to hire a US left-leaning commentator often critical of Murdoch's company.
He added that the decision reflected how News Corporation operated worldwide. "News Corporation is an international conglomerate with an ideological agenda. It seeks political power in every nation they operate. They wield that power to shut down voices that disagree with the agenda of Rupert Murdoch," Gore said.
In a May 9 post to MichelleMalkin.com headlined, "The Circle is Complete: Access to Al Gore's Invention Threatened by Global Warming," Doug Powers utilized a U.K. government report on wi-fi internet access being jeopardized by climate change to mock Al Gore and downplay the possible effects of "rising temperatures and stormier weather." From Powers' post:
Global warming being a threat to the Internet Al Gore took the initiative in inventing is the six degrees of separation in this claim. What's even more catastrophic, the separation of six degrees will increase by one and a half degrees to a full seven and a half degrees of separation by 2050 if we don't send the global warmists our money (snail mail only, no Internet transactions please -- if you've been paying attention you know why).
Actually it'll be kind of nice if global warming cripples the Internet a bit and spares us an intolerable onslaught of "hot 'nuff fer ya!?" Tweets.
The Daily Beast published an article, titled "Al Gore's Weird Silence," which falsely claimed that Gore has only made one public statement on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, Gore has made numerous public statements about the spill.
Daily Beast reporter Dayo Olopade writes that Al Gore's "only public statement has come in a short article for The New Republic's website comparing the oil gusher to CO2 emissions" and that Gore "has been largely silent during the worst environmental catastrophe in memory."
However, the article itself provides a quote from a Gore spokesman challenging the claim that Gore has only spoken once about the oil spill:
Kalee Kreider, a spokesperson for Gore's office in Nashville, said in a statement: "Former Vice President Gore has addressed the crisis in the Gulf in a major speech, an essay in The New Republic and through numerous postings on his Twitter and personal online journal on algore.com. He also works closely on the climate crisis, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and the oil spill through the philanthropy that he chairs, the Alliance for Climate Protection, based in Washington, DC."
It turns out that Gore's spokesperson is correct and Olopade's claim is meritless. The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Gore addressed the oil spill in his commencement speech at the University of Tennessee. Gore's New Republic piece [subscription required] -- which Olopade describes as "short" -- is a 2000+ word essay dealing with the spill. He has repeatedly written about the spill on Twitter and on AlGore.com. KBSW also reported that he discussed the spill during the Panetta lecture series in California -- a video of which is embedded in Olopade's piece.
From the June 1 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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For the 10th anniversary of his blog, Mickey Kaus takes a stroll down memory lane, giving readers who missed some of his work a second chance to become exasperated at his inanity. Here's one reminiscence:
Worst case of being spun: Watching from the press area, I thought Gore cleaned Bush's clock in their first 2000 debate. Then I went to the spin room where Stuart Stevens immediately mentioned that Gore hadn't been to Texas with James Lee Witt, as he'd boasted. Didn't that play into the festering press meme that Gore was an insecure embellisher? It sure did. I wrote a goading piece saying this was a test of whether reporters could trash a Dem as they had said they would. (It was a test they passed.)
Since a butterfly flapping its wings could have tipped the 2000 election the other way, and since Gore would have been a better president than Bush, I've been feeling guilty about that piece. It's true that a) there were other reasons Gore "lost" the debate among viewers--he grunted and sighed obnoxiously, something I couldn't hear in the press area. And b) every Dem political pro I've talked with thinks it was inexcusable-- and telling--that Gore boasted about Witt when he knew and was surely told that any new little boast would kill him. Still ... flap, flap ....
Ok. First of all, Gore didn't lose the debate among viewers. Polls taken immediately after the debate found that Gore won the debate among viewers. He "lost" the debate after reporters like Mickey Kaus began nit-picking his performance to death. Nit-picking that Kaus now admits was off-base. Still, he can't bring himself to tell the truth: Debate viewers thought Gore won. Reporters like Kaus undid that victory via what even Kaus admits was lousy reporting.
Second, how obnoxious could Gore's grunts and sighs have really been if Kaus wasn't even aware of them at the time?
Third: Every Dem political pro Kaus talks to is wrong to blame Gore. Had Gore said nothing even remotely inaccurate, the media would have made some thing up. Don't believe me? Review the Love Canal fiasco. Go ahead; I'll just sit over here, slamming my head against the wall while I wait.
Ok. Finally: Mickey Kaus thought it was an open question in October of 2000 whether reporters would "trash a Dem"? Seriously? What planet had he been living on rock had he been living under? Had he somehow missed eight years of harassment of Bill Clinton? Had he missed the Love Canal and Love Story and Internet debacles? Had he been asleep for the entire presidential campaign up until that point? If Mickey Kaus has a purpose in the world, it is that he is (supposedly) a savvy observer of the media - and he really wasn't sure by October of 2000 whether reporters would "trash a Dem"? That's a level of cluelessness that should be disqualifying.
Citing the case of Willie Horton, a black man whose image as a criminal who committed crimes while on a weekend furlough from prison was used against 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, Politico's Roger Simon wrote that Al Gore "raised the issue in a New York primary debate against Dukakis." In fact, while Gore questioned Dukakis about "weekend passes for convicted criminals," Gore did not mention Horton's name, his crimes, or his race.