My favorite part of a lengthy interview that Jose Antonio Vargas of The Huffington Post recently conducted with Al Gore came when Vargas asked, “What do you read?” He didn’t get much of an answer.
“Oh, gosh,” Gore said. “Well, I have a custom-designed iGoogle page that has lots of different sites on it that I scan all the time. Some of them come and go, but a lot of them stick around.”
Vargas then prompted the former vice president, who apparently couldn’t remember the names of any of his favorite liberal Web sites or blogs. “Like Daily Kos?” Vargas said.
“I think it’s a great site, and I think it serves a great role,” Gore said. “But I read sites that probably I know for a fact people don’t. RealClimate.org. I wish more people read it.”
Imagine if a politician running for office had been asked such a simple question yet answered so curtly and vaguely.
Oh, wait, you don’t have to imagine. Just think Sarah Palin, Katie Couric and the Palin-is-stupid feeding frenzy that ensued after the two met mano y mano. By way of reminder:
Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?
Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.
Couric: What, specifically?
Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.
Couric: Can you name a few?
Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.Then it’s off to the bus where Palin sits down for a wide-ranging interview.
Unlike Gore, who only has sitdown interviews with friendly reporters like Vargas, Palin was in enemy territory with Couric. She later explained her reaction to Couric’s question: “I knew that whatever I threw out there, whether it’s the USA Today or New York Times or whatever I said, that’s just more fodder for someone to not only mock, but tear apart and presume to at least claim that that is a reflection of my own beliefs, so you know, so I just felt like, let’s just move on to the next question.”
Palin explained herself again and again and again this fall on her book tour. She even made the manufactured controversy a punchline in her appearance before journalists at the Washington Gridiron Club. But she is still portrayed as an imbecile who doesn’t read newspapers, simply because she either didn’t have a ready answer to Couric’s question or wouldn’t give it.
Rest assured that the media will not treat Gore the same way as Palin for mustering the name of only one obscure, alarmist blog on global warming when asked what liberal Web sites and blogs he reads.
[Cross-posted at Hot Air’s Green Room]