It can’t happen here, not this time!


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.

Howard Fineman!

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.


  1. Posting Chapter 6 ! I have heard this for about a year. Hopefully, it's finally true.

  2. Oh would you please STFU Mr. Snipes.

    Please and Thank You.

    Moving on.

    Now, if Bob would like to detail how Obama played the role of Bradley to Hillary's Gore during 2008, we'll be getting somewhere.

  3. Yeah, we got rolled in 2000.

    The press was complicit and so was the Supreme Court.

    2004 wasn't much better but at least the press corps by that time had caught onto the tricks of the right wing echo machine and pushed back against the swift boaters and their despicable followers who wore purple band-aids to mock the only candidate who killed someone in defense of this country.

    Then we had 2008 and the stomping of Hillary Clinton led by former neocon Arianna Huffington and the cool kids at MSNBC. Still, she almost nabbed the nomination. (Funny how you'll almost never see the Huff Post criticized here for their actions in 2008)

    Now it seems, during the 2012 election cycle, there is outright opposition to the nonsense the right wing echo machine tries to get to be mainstream memes.

    Its taken over a decade for people to catch on but it looks like they finally have.

    I agree with Mr. Somerby that it wasn't just the right wing echo machine that buried candidate Gore in 2000.

    However, this is the 2012 cycle not 2000, and it looks like people have woken up a bit.

    Hope springs eternal, right?

  4. “No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.” --H.L. Mencken

  5. I agree with The Real Anonymous. Definite progress. Though I also maintain that the public never took these media clowns very seriously anyway. Despite their routine and relentless Clinton-bashing, which went on for most of his presidency as I recall, the public adored Bill. He finished with higher average approval ratings throughout his presidency than Saint Ronnie. His Gallup approval peaked at around 70% DURING IMPEACHMENT! The public knows more than their betters in the media.

    Saint Bradley didn't win a single state, and Saints McCain and Dole never did make it to 1600.

    Hillary essentially finished tied with Obama, and would've won had it not been for her Iraq war vote. She'd have taken Iowa and been off to the races.

    Gore? He couldn't overcome the trashing that others managed to surmount. Nader didn't help. I love Al, but he wasn't the first, and won't be the last, to get unfair and dishonest treatment. His old boss managed to soldier ahead through it pretty well, and had a very effective presidency.

    And plus: Didn't Al really win the 2000 election anyway?

  6. I agree with Geoff. These tired old codgers and gasbags were ignored by lots of people 10 years ago--they are even more irrelevant now.

    Of course the propaganda is somewhat effective because they monopolize the culture and bombard our ear holes with their crap. The high school drama play as told by Maureen Dowd and Chris Mathews appeals to fewer and fewer people and more people recognize the fascist agenda of the American media.

  7. I agree with Bob that our political media is largely a foolish clown show that serves the plutocrats. This long predates Campaign 2000.

    Plenty of pols sainted by the clowns don't prevail. Long
    List of them. Plenty pilloried, smeared, and distorted by the clowns do prevail. This is in no small part because the public doesn't respect or trust the clowns.

    Gore was an unfortunate and tragic case of someone who was loathed by the clowns and didn't prevail. Again: Nader didn't help. I've argued that Gore didn't always help himself, nor did his lawyers in Florida. But others, like Clinton, did prevail. And many media darlings couldn't even compete.

    The public holds the clowns in even lower regard than
    Bob does.

  8. Although Mr. Obama wasn't accusing all Americans of laziness, I think he displayed arrogance? According to the Times, he said:

    But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here — and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America.

    Who is the "we" that he called lazy? Mr. Obama spoke these words to a group of business leaders. Taken literally, he was accusing these business leaders and himself of laziness. But, of course, he didn't mean to include himself. He used the word "we" the way a parent says to a young child, "Now we have to stop crying and get our PJs on."

    However, IMHO Obama should have included himself. After all, isn't one of the President's responsibilities to sell America and to attract new business into America? And, it's worth noting that this problem only manifested itself after Mr Obama became President.

    Furthermore, Mr. Obama has taken several actions that discourage foreign companies from doing business in America, such as delaying approval of free trade deals for years, passing Obamacare, with its unknown potential burdens on business, and holding up a multibillion-dollar U.S.-Canada pipeline project. Nor has he taken leadership in reducing the high corporate income tax rate -- a step that most people believe would encourage foreign investment here.

    Note also, that the President did not identify a single instance where any business leader did less than s/he ought to have done to attract foreign business to America. IMHO Mr. Obama made a baseless accusation, meant to defer blame away from himself. Unlike Harry Truman, Mr. Obama's slogan seems to be, THE BUCK STOPS THERE.

  9. David in Cal said...
    "Although Mr. Obama wasn't accusing all Americans of laziness..."

    But that's exactly the spin the right wing echo chamber was putting on his comments.

    They got caught lying and were called on it in many forums which is also the point.

    Who cares if you think Obama is arrogant?

  10. I thought you never noticed the mistreatment of Hillary by the media or simply you didn't care

  11. Bob repeatedly covered the horrible treatment Hillary received from the media in 2008, in particular from Dowd and Olbermann. He might be the only person who bothered to mention it.

    Search his archives.

  12. Hillary made a bet on her Iraq war vote and lost ( barely). Not much more complicated than that.

  13. Had she voted against the war, she'd have won anti war Iowa, run the tables, and no amount of Dowd and Chris lunacy would have stopped her or mattered.

  14. No, Geoff, it's not quite as simple as that. Obama won the nomination over Clinton because his campaign did the best job in the history of U.S. presidential politics of organizing in the caucus states, while they ran neck-and-neck in the primary states (at the end of the primary season, more people actually voted for Clinton than Obama, 18.2 million to 18.0 million).

    All of which is completely beside the point that the usual clowns in the media didn't try to do their usual dance on the head of a Democratic candidate they didn't like.

    Remember the shameful Oct. 30, 2007 "debate" in which Clinton not only had to debate her six opponents, but Brian Williams and Tim Russert as well.

    Remember how every time anyone even remotely associated with Clinton's campaign responded when Obama invoked the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. that it was evidence of the rampant racism within the Clinton camp?

    Remember how Clinton's win in New Hampshire was attributed to both the "Bradley effect" --- racist voters telling pollsters one thing, then voting for the white candidate once in the booth?

    Or her tears when speaking from the heart? Nothing but a cynical ploy to win the votes of women.

    We also had the usual round of trivia that was supposed to expose the evil heart of Hillary Clinton: She claps all the time in public. Her laugh is a cackle. She didn't tip the waitress at the diner in Iowa.

    And when it was all over, Clinton delivered the most stunning concession speech and endorsement of her opponents imaginable --- then immediately made joint campaign appearances with Obama, and it still wasn't enough for the pundit class who wondered what dark motives were behind it. It suddenly was spun into a non-endorsement and merely positioning herself for 2012.

    Meanwhile, Demcrats like myself were looking at this competition in an entirely different light from the media. We were presented with two outstanding candidates -- a young leader with vision unlike any we had seen since JFK, and a truly remarkable woman with an outstanding record of accomplishment IN the White House.

    And for many of us, it just about came down to a coin flip.

    I will agree that for SOME Demcratic voters and caucus attendees, Hillary's vote authorizing the president to go to war in Iraq was the difference.

    But for many, many others, their were many, many other factors. Which was why the Obama/Clinton race was so close.

  15. One addendum: Had Clinton voted against the war resolution in 2002, the Obama/Clinton race would still have been very, very close.

    To say that Clinton would have "run the table" discounts not only the superb campaign that Obama and his staff ran, but Obama himself.

    Hillary Clinton didn't "lose" the nomination. Obama won it against an excellent opponent. Hillary Clinton

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