Coverage of Al’s Speech Gets Gore’d

While the White House rallied to criticize Al Gore for his remarks attacking the administration, bloggers rallied to criticize the media's coverage of the speech.

On Monday, former Vice President Al Gore gave a speech at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. in which he criticized the Bush administration for, among other things, overstepping its authority as granted in the U.S. Constitution.

“As we begin this new year, the executive branch of our government has been caught eavesdropping on huge numbers of American citizens and has brazenly declared that it has the unilateral right to continue without regard to the established law enacted by Congress precisely to prevent such abuses,” said Gore. “A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government.”

Yesterday, while the White House rallied to criticize Gore (“I think his hypocrisy knows no bounds,” said White House press secretary Scott McClellan), bloggers rallied to criticize (drum roll, please …) the media’s coverage of the speech.

“Fox News Channel and their mindless clones at CNN and MSNBC will now try to paint Al Gore as out of control and a fringe player,” Cenk Uygur wrote on the Huffington Post. “This is the same playbook they used against Howard Dean. If anyone aggressively questions this extremist administration, the conservative talk show hosts and their minions at the cable news outlets claim they are the ones that are extreme.”

“The media have fallen for it hook, line and sinker every time so far,” he added. “Part of fighting harder is calling them out on it. If the media try to do this again — put them in their place.”

Others were upset that the media had failed to put Gore in what they thought was rightful place — specifically, on the front page.

“Former vice president Al Gore gave what I believe to be the most important political speech in my lifetime, and the New York Times, ‘the newspaper of record,’ did not report it,” Paul Craig Roberts wrote on “Not even excerpts.”

“For the New York Times, it was a nonevent that a former vice president and presidential candidate, denied the presidency by one vote of the Supreme Court, challenged the Bush administration for its illegalities, rending of the Constitution and disrespect for the separation of powers,” added Roberts. “So much for ‘the liberal press’ that right-wingers rant about. If a ‘liberal press’ exists, the New York Times is certainly no longer a member.”

Ditto, apparently, for the Washington Post.

“Did Rupert Murdoch buy the [Washington] Post when no one was looking?” asked Warbly. “In the last week the Post has employed pretzel logic to call for Fascist Alito’s elevation to the high court, allowed Howie Kurtz to reprint an unfounded smear against Rep. Murtha and now reprints one truncated sentence of Gore’s smackdown of the Bushy misinformation … the Washington Post, enabling Fascism since 2000.”

Today, however, in the New York Times, Maureen Dowd did get around to writing about Gore.

“The Democrats were throwing haymakers at the White House this week, but they will never succeed as long as they’re perceived as the party in skirts,” wrote Dowd. “Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton called the Bush administration on its apparently bottomless store of imperial sins. They made a lot of good points. They just didn’t score any.”

Apparently this was not the kind of coverage liberal bloggers were hoping for.

“I really don’t understand why, when it comes to the Democratic opposition, you continue to parrot Republican talking points,” wrote The Low Road in a direct address to Dowd. “Gore was the victim of an extensive smear campaign that had little to do with facts. For whatever reasons, celebrity journalists disliked him, favored Bush, and took every opportunity to portray Gore negatively. You know this well, since you were one of the players. Why now continue with the personal slander, when we all know better, instead of sticking with the eloquent message Gore delivered?”

Finally, one blogger noticed the seemingly obvious origins of Gore’s speech, which apparently nobody in the mainstream media had picked up on — specifically, her own blog.

“Of course he says it more succinctly, and he’s calling for investigations and oversight, not impeachment,” wrote They Get Letters, in a post entitled ‘Al Gore Reads My Blog.” “[B]ut I said it first!”

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Felix Gillette writes about the media for The New York Observer.