We gaze on the lessened form of Glenn Kessler!


Fact Checker doesn’t want to pick on Bobby Jindal: American journalistic culture is massively broken. The guild which sustains it is deeply involved in a form of the walking death.

For a peculiar new example, consider yesterday’s post by the former Glenn Kessler, major domo of the Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog.

In theory, the Fact Checker site exists to tell us when people have made misstatements. And sure enough:

Two Sundays ago, Bobby Jindal made a misstatement on Fox!

Kessler wasn’t required to critique Jindal’s misstatement. Yesterday, he decided to do so. This is the plainly inaccurate statement which sits atop Kessler’s post:
“Maybe they’ll bring in Al Gore, you know, the guy who says he invented the Internet, maybe they’ll fix the Web site [HealthCare.gov].”
–Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), on “Fox News Sunday,” Oct. 27, 2013
There are several problems with Jindal’s statement, which was, in fairness, a bit of a quip.

First, Gore never said he “invented” the Internet, as Kessler notes in his post.

Back in March 1999, that became the Standard Paraphrase for a clumsy, off the cuff statement Gore made in an interview. The Standard Paraphrase really took off as the mainstream press corps launched its War Against Gore.

Soon, Kessler’s colleagues began putting the word “invented” inside quotes, although it had never been spoken. A more genuine person might still be embarrassed by all the misconduct in which his colleagues engaged.

Kessler isn’t that person.

The second problem with Jindal’s statement is even more obvious. In our view, Gore never said he invented the Internet. But he most certainly doesn’t make that famous claim now.

But that’s the way Jindal chose to present it as he clowned and pimped and diddled himself among the poodles on Fox. Fourteen years later, Jindal is still repeating this bogus claim—and he’s putting Gore’s alleged statement into the present tense!

There’s no reason why Kessler had to discuss what Jindal said. In the Babel he and his colleagues have made, it’s the norm when a clowning clown makes inane remarks on TV.

Still, Kessler did decide to critique Jindal’s statement. Fourteen years later, Jindal is still repeating a bogus claim on a major Sunday program.

Here’s what Kessler said about that as he began his critique:
KESSLER (11/4/13): Jindal’s dig at the troubled Affordable Care Act manages also to ding former vice president Al Gore for a statement he made nearly 15 years ago. We’re not trying to pick on Jindal, but Gore did not actually say this, though people may differ about whether he came close to saying this.

As a lawmaker, Gore did play an important role in fostering public use of the Internet. Nevertheless, here it is, years later, and Gore is still paying penance for an offhand remark, poorly phrased. So how is it that this flub continues to resonate—and what warnings does Gore’s experience have for other politicians?
He's not trying to pick on Jindal! Really? Why not?

There you see the puzzling world a broken soul creates. Note what Kessler does there:

First, he says that Gore is being dinged “for a statement he made nearly 15 years ago.” Then, in his very next breath, he says that Gore didn’t “actually” make the statement.

Apparently, Candidate Gore made the statement in some non-actual way!

In fairness, we know what Kessler meant as he strained to keep faith with the guild. As he notes, some people say that Gore “came close” to making that famous statement.

Personally, we wouldn’t say that. But then, we never claimed that Candidate Romney said he enjoys firing people.

Whatever! Kessler knows that some will say that Gore came close to making that statement. Surely, though, he knows that Gore isn’t parading around making that statement today.

Gore made the statement in question once, in an offhand remark, in passing. Fourteen years later, Jindal is still repeating an embellished version of what Gore actually said—and he’s claiming that Gore still says it!

This is the kind of low-IQ bullshit that has made a joke of our national discourse. And how does the Washington Post’s Fact Checker respond to this bogus claim?

Of course! He responds by saying he doesn’t want to pick on the perpetrator! He goes on to discuss the reasons why Gore’s “flub” “continues to resonate”—and he is extremely dishonest in the way he does even that.

"We’re not trying to pick on Jindal, but Gore did not actually say this.” It’s one of the truly comical statements!

Kessler is a hollowed-out soul, like so many around him. A servant to the guild, he ignored their dissembling fourteen years back, in real time, when it counted.

He didn’t speak up about this invention. He didn’t speak up when his colleagues pretended that Gore said he discovered Love Canal.

He didn't say how blindingly stupid that bull about Love Story was. He didn’t reject the ugly, misogynistic sliming of Naomi Wolf.

He didn’t challenge the ranting deceptions Chris Matthews produced every night. His colleagues pimped this shit for two years. Kessler didn't say squat.

People are dead all over the world because of what this empty soul did. But so what! Fourteen years later, Bobby Jindal is still at it, making an obvious bogus claim—and Kessler, the Washington Post’s alleged Fact Checker, doesn’t want to pick on him!

We’ve spoken about the guild’s walking death. You see its face in Kessler’s slick, empty jotting.

("We’re not trying to pick on Jindal, but Gore did not actually say this."

If you’re interested: Note the number of people in comments who think this two-year attack on Gore’s honesty came from the GOP, or from Fox.

Fox played almost no role in this. It still trailed CNN in the ratings. In October 2000, O’Reilly was more fair to Gore than anyone else on TV.

As Kessler knows, the War Against Gore mainly came from the top of the mainstream press corps. But Kessler’s required to skirt that fact.

In comments, the children are fooled.


  1. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .

  2. "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. You know, if someone doesn’t give me a good service that I need, I want to say I’m going to go get someone else to provide that service to me."

  3. Given that Al Gore didn't actually claim he invented the internet, it would be awfully helpful if every person (including you, Bob) who refutes this publicly would say what he DID say. The precise words. Not everyone was paying close attention in the years 1998-2000.

    1. Interview with Wolf Blitzer, CNN, March 9, 1999:

      "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

    2. IMHO Al Gore does deserve part of the blame for this false story. He made an ambiguous statement that could be interpreted to claim more credit than he deserves.

    3. The premise of TDH's war on "the war on Gore" is precisely that 1) Gore's statement isn't in the slightest ambiguous and 2) the ridicule the statement attracted requires a deliberate misinterpretation of the words. Only a dishonest person would claim and only the ignorant would believe that Gore meant that as a Senator, he was knocking out C-language code to implement the TCP/IP protocol in the BSD Unix kernel. Honest and informed people understand that Gore was referring to his work on and support for the Supercomputer Network Study Act of 1986 and the High Performance Computing Act of 1991. The blame goes to less-than-honest journalists who refused to inform.

    4. There was nothing ambiguous in context in his 100% accurate statement that "during my service in Congress I took the initiative in creating the internet." He did, and everyone acting in good faith knew that at the time. He was clearly the leader in Congress on establishing the laws that made the internet possible. It was a classic case of eliminating the context, changing a word, and turning a perfectly accurate statement into a flat-out lie -- and throwing it out there to see if it will stick. Nobody can be blamed for not anticipating everything liars might do, or how lazy and lying elite members of the press will repeat it over and over and give cover to the originators.

    5. urban legend, fyi:


    6. Here's the problem with that statement that Bob and his tribe never mentions.

      "I took the initiative . . ." Al Gore. All by himself. Never mind the decades of research done by hundreds if not thousands before him, including critical research in microchip technology and its application, as well as the software for user-friendly operating systems that made computers both practical and affordable for both business and home use.

      Yes, Al Gore played a critical role in passing the legislation that brought the Internet out of the laboratory and into commercial use. But he also had a lot of help, on both sides of the aisle.

      But when a guy seeks sole credit for such a dramatic revolution, it is not a big leap to "I invented the Internet", which is why it was so easy to spin his self-aggrandizing remark and why it has stuck all these years.

    7. "I took the initiative" does not equal "I claim sole credit".

    8. Of course not. Not to a Bobinista.

      But again, to lots of other people, it sure sounded like Gore was claiming sole credit for the Internet. Which is why the "invented the Internet" stuck and continues to stick.

    9. The most salient question is that why can't the media ignore bullshit like this?

      They knew what Gore did, they knew what he was trying to express. Ask for a clarification, get it, broadcast it, let go in making it a controversy.

      The media isn't suppose to behave like political partisans grabbing for a bone.

      They substitute this sort of nonsense for reporting. They endlessly wax idiotic on this stuff, rather than informing us.

      Someone quoted Gingrich defending Gore in this. I can't remember the details but Newt did the same thing for Romney when running against him. I remember him telling a CNN reporter that his interpretation of a Romney gaffe was bogus.

      Maybe this is what it is going to take from politicians on both sides in order to keep the media from turning campaign coverage into a Maury Povitch fodder.

      They show no inclination to do their jobs as it lays.

  4. Ever Google "Invent Synonym"?

    Guess what the first word in the definition of invent is. Guess what the second synonym is.

    Gore won the primary which followed the internet flap, got the nomination, won the popular vote and got milions and millions more votes than the man who picked him to be VP got just four years before
    while running for re-election. Yes, making fun of Al's pretentious self back patting to Wolff Blitzer is responsible for untold dead Iraqi's.

    There is also an Al in Al Qaeda. And when you Google "Al", Mr. Gore doesn't make the first page anymore. Al Roker does.

    How he got there isn't the question for Somerby. It's why he never left.

    1. 8 years of Bush -- that's why we care about Al Gore's election.

      When historians look back on this decision point, the biggest tragedy will not be the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. It will be that we lost the opportunity to do something about carbon emissions and delayed addressing global warming at a critical period when we might have prevented the effects of climate change from causing starvation, flooding, extinction of animals and plants, and massive damage to millions of people's lives.

    2. So how big of an issue did Al Gore himself make of global climate change during the 2000 campaign?

  5. On September 1, 2000, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addressed the American Political Science Association. His remarks were broadcast on C-SPAN:

    GINGRICH: In all fairness, it’s something Gore had worked on a long time. Gore is not the Father of the Internet, but in all fairness, Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet, and the truth is—and I worked with him starting in 1978 when I got [to Congress], we were both part of a “futures group”—the fact is, in the Clinton administration, the world we had talked about in the ’80s began to actually happen.

  6. You can see Russia from my house.