Saturday, April 29


Eleanor Clift's interview of Al Gore. There's so much here that's interesting, but I found this Q&A particularly enlightening. Al talks about why some political issues generate no media coverage:

Q: In 2000 and in 1988 when you ran, you really didn’t talk about the environment that much. I think you were counseled that it was not a good issue. Any regrets about that?

A: That’s the conventional wisdom that I want to challenge because in both cases I talked about it extensively. And to take 2000 as an example, there were numerous speeches and events and proposals and multipoint plans that were not considered news, and if a tree falls in the forest and it’s not heard, then later on people think it didn’t happen. John Kerry went thru a very similar experience in ’04 because the way the issue has been covered has been plagued with some of the adjectives that you began with—it’s marginal, it’s arcane, it’s irrelevant, ridiculous—and so if a daily news cycle is devoted to that issue, then one candidate has his message out there and the other is mysteriously missing. There’s another factor that’s often overlooked in 2000. Then governor George W. Bush publicly pledged to regulate CO2 emissions and to forcibly, with the rule of law, reduce them—and publicly said "this is a serious problem and I will deal with it." Now, the other way that issues get covered in the media is if there’s conflict, and if there’s a sharp difference. And one is tempted to conclude that [Karl] Rove crafted those positions that were immediately abandoned after the election—in the first week after the inauguration, the first week—one is tempted to conclude that Rove wrote those positions in order to take from that issue any sense of contrast or conflict and thereby make it non-newsworthy. It certainly had that effect, whether it was intentional or not. I can’t look into their hearts—I’ll let the grand jury do that. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.

Clift speculates on a Gore run for the presidency:

“It’s like the [line in] “Mrs. Robinson”: ‘Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you’,” says a Democratic strategist recalling the Simon & Garfunkel song from the movie, “The Graduate.” [Emphasis mine]

Oh, yes.

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