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3601 S. Congress off E. Alpine Penn Field under the water tower check our site for monthly calendar Ruin Naga, International Headquarters Come Visit us for LUNCH! In addition to our organic coffee, pizzas, empanadas, pastries and pies, we now prepare made to order sandwiches, salads, and even black bean gazpacho. A4 continued from page 7 original populists, and we came into public view during reconstruction after the Civil War… and suddenly Albert, who could put me to sleep in the year 2000 when he was running … Suddenly, there he is up there at NYU. And he sounds like a President we didn’t get. But waitisn’t Gore always re-inventing himself? Dissembling? Flipping and flopping? That’s the other take on Albert Alfred Gore, Jr., one that’s been promulgated and reiterated over the past dozen years. In case after case, it has been shown that Gore got a bum rap for lies, exaggerations, or reversals that he either didn’t make or were the sort of minor inaccuracies common in politics. It didn’t matter. Once established, such a “metanarrative”the overriding story line which the chroniclers of news are hard-wired to seekbecomes a defining, and in some cases, distorting force. It’s now clear that Al Gore is one of those cases. In the annals of media analysis, the reviling of Gore is one of the strangest chapters. There’s widespread acknowledgement that many reporters, especially in the print media, deeply dislike Gore; that stories were written which misstated or skewed facts to his disadvantage; that during the 2000 election, reporters tended to be harder on him than Bush. \(According to data gathered by the Pew Research Center, the nega tive-to-positive ratio of Gore’s campaign coverage in early 2000 was twice One of the most egregious examples Gore’s alleged claim that he invented the Internetwas repeated in the media for years after it was shown he made no such claim. “It’s no surprise that GOP operatives would willfully misinterpret a statement from a Democratic presidential candidate. What’s amazing is that the press went along with it so uncritically,” wrote Eric Boehlert in a 2001 article in Rolling Stone. Admitted Time’s Margaret Carlson during the campaign: “You can actually disprove some of what Bush is saying if you really get in the weeds and get out your calculator, or you look at his record in Texas. But it’s really easy, and it’s fun, to disprove Gore.” Why such glee at Gore’s expense? No one seems to know, but his personality invariably gets the blame. While his friends are said to describe Gore as warm and funny, reporters seem to know a different Gore: aloof, nerdy, holier-than-thou and a bit hapless. One of the themes of Maraniss’s book is that Gore is the kind of guy who gets nailed for throwing spitballs even when everybody else in the classroom is throwing them too. “To me, that’s just a cop-out. It’s kind of an excuse as to why this mysterious process is going on. They \(reportand pretend that they’re not doing it,” says Bob Somerby, a D.C.-area comic and college roommate of Gore’s whose Web site has obsessively documented the spin on Gore since 1998. Somerby believes hostile media coverage, not campaign missteps, cost Gore the election. “They hate himthey hate him even more in the mainstream media. They misbehaved incredibly during the last campaign. No one really understands yet how amazing that campaign was.” All during 2000, the issue of sincerity dogged Gore like toilet paper stuck to his shoe. Reporters place a high value on “authenticity” but they are easy enough to fool, often mistaking a politician’s continued on page 26 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7/2 /04