FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2011
Lawrence and Howard transformed: As we’ve often said, it pretty much couldn’t happen again:
No Democrat will ever be mugged by the mainstream press in the way Candidate Gore was.
That isn’t entirely true, of course. Hillary Clinton was mugged quite hard in the fall of 2007, and very few liberals even noticed. But for the most part, it’s hard to imagine a Democratic nominee getting lied about in the way Gore was all through Campaign 2000.
Last night, the opening segment on the Last Word showed why that couldn’t happen.
As you may know, several Republican have been making stupid, bogus claims about Barack Obama. In one example, they have pretended that Obama said that we Americans have been lazy in recent years.
Having established this bogus premise, they have pretended to be upset at Obama’s repulsive, vile statement.
For twenty straight months during Campaign 2000, this was done to Candidate Gore. Last night, two players who engaged in this war against Gore rose in full-throated defense of Obama. Lawrence O’Donnell was in standard high dudgeon about the current misconduct. Soon, he invited Howard Fineman to help him express his vast rage.
O’Donnell went through a careful exposition about what it means to quote someone out of context. He forgot to tell you that this is exactly what he and Fineman did to Gore during Campaign 2000.
Ah, Campaign 2000! Fineman did this endlessly, playing a nasty second banana to the disgraceful Chris Matthews. O’Donnell did it in an especially outrageous way just a few weeks before the election (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/3/05).
Last night, the lads were helping us see how awful it is when people engage in such conduct. They were truly outraged!
To watch this 16-minute segment, click here. In fairness, Lawrence’s lesson was quite well explained. Just understand this as you watch him: He is describing his own conduct from Campaign 2000. And his helpmate, the graying but still agile Fineman, engaged in this conduct endlessly.
Soon, Alex Wagner was brought on to smile her winsome smile and agree with everything everyone said. Team players like Wagner will never say, “Wait a minute! Isn’t this the same damn thing you baboons did during Campaign 2000?”
Wagner isn’t allowed to say that—and you aren’t allowed to know.
The basic background:
As of March 1999, the mainstream and conservative press corps had come together in their loathing for Bill Clinton, who had escaped removal from office. There was no longer an ounce of difference between these groups when it came to this tribal agreement. Sally Quinn had described the state of affairs in her important report for the Washington Post in November 1998.
Quinn’s 3200-word report is an important historical document.
Candidate Gore represented their last shot at Clinton. From March 1999 through November 2000, they engaged in the very type of conduct O’Donnell described in last night’s segment. They invented a string of ridiculous statements by Gore, then pretended to be outraged and disturbed by these troubling statements.
No one—and we do mean no one—rose to challenge this group misconduct. It went on for twenty straight months.
Today, things are different. The mainstream press has separated from the conservative press corps again (see example below). Beyond that, we now have a liberal web—and we even have a liberal news channel! It’s hard to imagine a Democratic nominee being treated the way Gore was. Last night, we saw why this could never happen:
Two of the ugliest anti-Gore hacks have been paid to come back to your side.
How times have changed: In 1999 and 2000, the New York Times led the way in the lying about Candidate Gore. Yes, the Washington Post was worse. But the Times ran a close second.
Today, allegiances are different. In this morning’s Times, Richard Oppel offers a full news report about the GOP’s recent nonsense. In our hard-copy Times, the headline on his report is astounding:
“Perry’s Latest Attacks on Obama Depart From Reality”
That headline is accurate, of course. But all during Campaign 2000, the Times played on the other side.
Katharine “Kit” Seelye kept departing. George Bush went to the White House.
When Fineman was still just a pup: In December 1999, a punishing theme locked into place—the theme that Candidate Gore was a LIAR.
The press corps used a story Gore told some high school students to lock this theme into place. The story concerned the work he had done, two decades before, on the toxic waste problem at Love Canal. The “press corps” misquoted Gore’s story in four different ways. They also adopted the RNC’s mocking paraphrase of Gore's remarks, on a straight word-for-word basis. (“Al Gore said he discovered Love Canal!” It came straight from the RNC’s press releases on the first day of this nonsense.)
Over at our companion site, we’ll soon be posting our chapter 6, which deals with this deeply significant episode. It's an astonishing story. Matthews played a very key role in the matter. Fineman sat by his side, stroking his inner thigh, helping the great man recite all his lines.
Today, Joan and David are always on hand to tell you how upright and fine Chris is. The winsome Wagner is brought on the air to agree with what everyone says.