Serving Al Gore

by Mandi Steele
September 22, 2000

The New York Times jumped to it when given the "rats" story by Gore aides. Almost like a "yes, sir" the Times put the RNC commercial's use of the word "rats" on their front-page. Media Research Center's Brent Baker said that "The New York Times demonstrated how it's at the service of the Gore campaign." This may be why the Times was not so eager to run the story linking contributions sent to Gore in exchange for a veto.

According to Internet newsmonger Matt Drudge, the Times editors "sat on" the report until other news organizations got the story. He said, "They were - what? - fourth to break this story, and it was their story."

Responding to the Times delay, Rush Limbaugh said, "We now have incontrovertible front-page evidence. The New York Times is eager to run stories that are harmful to conservatives and they sit on stories that are harmful to Democrats."

Washington Times writer Robert McCain wrote an article chiding The New York Times for their bias. He said, "Differences in media treatment of the two stories - the Bush story about 1\20th of a second of videotape, the Gore story about a $100,000 donation linked to a Presidential veto - highlight what some see as a double standard in political coverage this campaign season."

Not even mentioning Gore's name in the headlines, The Washington Post also ran the "quid pro quo" story. Limbaugh noted that the story "omitted a key paragraph from [their] original story." He went on, "Why was this mysterious paragraph censored? Maybe because it said that Al Gore made the phone call in question. That's the key paragraph of the story, and it was killed!" It is said that Gore made a call to a Texas attorney to ask for contributions in exchange for Clinton's veto of a bill Texas attorneys disagreed with. According to Gore, he never made that call although the lawyer's name was written on a call sheet made out to the "Vice President."

The impact the "rats" story had in the press is attributed to the fact that it came out in The New York Times, which some call the "nation's bulletin board." Yet, the Times decided not to inform the nation right away when it came to Democratic troubles. Also, the Post didn't want to make too big of a deal out of the story. Could it have been Gore who did call the Texas lawyer to ask for contributions? "Clearly The Washington Post doesn't want you to even ask that question, so they cleaned up the embarrassing detail from the final versions of their publication," Limbaugh said. "…the media simply won't tell you the whole story."

"I think there are innumerable cases in this campaign where one journalistic standard is applied to liberal candidates and a different journalistic standard is applied to conservatives," said Scott Hoganson, executive editor of the Internet service.

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