Accuracy in Media

It is being widely reported that Al Gore’s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize could propel him into the presidential race, but the award is tainted and the former vice president received it shortly after a British Court issued a ruling alleging numerous errors in his film on global warming. In short, Gore’s prize is a joke, something that should be fodder for late-night comedians.

But there can be no minimizing the propaganda value that such an award can garner. If Hillary falters in her race for the Democratic presidential nomination, it could be enough for Gore to make a move, and try to seize the White House for himself. That will depend, in part, on the fickle finger of the Big Media.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has a point in saying the award to Gore is a “sad day” for the Nobel legacy, except for the fact that other recipients of the prize have been as notorious and controversial as Gore.

“Al Gore should probably get a prize for most travel in a private jet, but not the Peace Prize,” said Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He was alluding to Gore’s penchant for using so much of the energy that he blames for jeopardizing the future of the planet. Indeed, Ebell’s comments are precisely the tone that should be set. The prize is something to be mocked, not celebrated. Gore is a first class hypocrite who has not let his theory about the end of civilization inhibit his own luxurious lifestyle.

Gore won the award along with the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a controversial body, for “their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.” Such “measures,” if Gore has his way, will include higher taxes and loopholes—such as “carbon offsets”—for the rich to avoid them.

The award sounds impressive, but in the past it has gone to Yasser Arafat, a terrorist who was responsible for the assassination of U.S. diplomats in Sudan; Jimmy Carter, the failed former U.S. president who while taking millions of dollars from Arab countries has been on a rhetorical rampage against Israel; and Rigoberta Menchu, who postured as a human rights activist before many of her biographical claims were exposed as outright lies. Winning a Nobel Peace Prize does not carry much prestige these days.

However, basking in the glow of the tainted Nobel Peace Prize, Gore claims to be “gratified” by the British court findings that his global warming film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” contains a number of inaccuracies but was “substantially founded upon scientific research and fact.” (Ian Murray, in National Review Online’s Planet Gore, presents the 11 inaccuracies found by the court, and details the case brought against the film.)

Gore insists that his main theme—that man-made activity is causing the warming—has held up and seems pleased that the court only found that the film’s errors were in the area of “alarmism and exaggeration.” But if the case was so solid, why did Gore need to exaggerate? It should be noted that the U.N. body sharing the prize with Gore has also been accused of distortions and exaggerations.

As I pointed out in a recent report, the best thing to come out of the publicity surrounding Gore and the film is that it has brought many global warming skeptics in the scientific community to stand up and make the case that in fact Gore is wrong on most of the major related issues, and that there is no scientific consensus on the issue of man-made global warming.

However, if people take the awarding of the prize to Gore seriously, the publicity could have the disastrous effect of pushing the world to attempt some Kyoto-type solution to avert a potential catastrophe that isn’t really occurring, at great cost to the living standards of billions of people around the world. That is why it is necessary for our media to tell the truth about Gore and his prize.

Being interested in speculation, not facts, before the prize was announced on Friday morning, a Newsweek article suggested that it could be the stepping stone to the real prize Gore has his eye on, namely 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It pointed to the Draft Gore movement, and a full page ad taken out in the New York Times this week imploring Gore to run.

The pro-Gore push tells us something about the media and the Democrats. They seem to have a sense that Hillary might not be able to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

This may be based on polls indicating that Democrats are not happy with their choices for their party’s nomination next year, and a significant number are hoping Gore will fill that role. A plausible scenario is that Gore will wait to see if Hillary actually does sew up the nomination on February 5 of next year, the day that more than 20 states will choose their delegates. If Hillary is leading in delegates but Obama and Edwards have won enough to keep her from having a lock on the nomination, Gore could come in as a compromise candidate.

The scenario bears watching and could even occur as late as the Democratic convention next summer. If Hillary doesn’t lock it up in February, there won’t be enough primaries left to put her over the top before the convention. That is when Gore could step back into the ring. That is when he—and his media allies—could argue that the Nobel Prize proves that he is a prophet who deserves the White House and that Hillary is too weighted down by too many scandals to be a viable Democratic presidential candidate.

It could be a battle not only in the Democratic Party but in the liberal media, as backers of Gore and Hillary slug it out.

If Hillary’s media backers sense her grasp on the nomination is slipping away, that is when they might find it newsworthy to cover and comment on Gore’s controversial views on global warming—and the controversial lifestyle that goes with it.

There is much to scrutinize. The fact is that global capitalism, which has supposedly spawned the crisis he warns us about, has been very good to Gore. Playing the role of planetary savior, he is now said to be worth $100 million—a figure cited by Time magazine’s Justin Fox.

Gore’s history of lying could also be fair game. AIM previously published the “17 Lies of Al Gore.” An article in the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine attempts to rehabilitate Gore’s record and save face for him. Evgenia Peretz, daughter of Gore’s old buddy Marty Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic magazine, criticizes some of the charges leveled against Gore in the 2000 election and suggests that most, if not all, were inaccurate.

She is critical, for example, of some publications for misquoting Gore as saying “I invented the Internet.” What he actually did say was, “I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

While nitpicking the media about misquoting Gore on creating or inventing the Internet, she lets some of his more egregious lies go unchallenged. They include his claim that he didn’t know the fundraiser he attended at a Buddhist temple in 1996 was in fact a fundraiser, and that the fundraising calls he made from his vice president’s office were illegal.

With the Nobel Prize in hand, as tainted as it is, the question now is whether Al Gore will seek the prize that he has most coveted—the White House. That will depend on Democratic primary voters and the media. Hillary has every reason to be concerned.

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