A Blast From the Past: The Media vs. Al Gore

Paul Krugman writes in passing that reporters who covered the 2000 election “liked Bush and didn’t like Gore, and as a result they treated Bush with kid gloves while gleefully passing on every smear against his opponent.” Andrew Gelman pushes back:

Far be it from me to question something that was “obviously true to anyone who lived through it”—as a non-T.V. owner, I think it’s safe to say that I did not actually live through the 2000 election campaign—but . . . really??? Even if it’s true that reporters liked Bush and didn’t like Gore (again, I’d like to see the evidence), one thing we do know is that twice as many journalists are Democrats as Republicans.

Hoo boy. I’ve told Bob Somerby before that I think he obsesses too much over the 2000 election, but I guess someone needs to if the media’s treatment of Gore in the 2000 campaign still isn’t common knowledge. So for those of you who think Krugman was over the top, here are some reading assignments:

  • Robert Parry, writing in real time, on the press corps’ contempt for Gore (“The national news media have repeatedly portrayed the vice president…as a willful liar who may even live in a world of his own delusions”).
  • Evgenia Peretz, seven years later, describing the treatment of Gore by Kit Seelye, Ceci Connolly, and other campaign reporters (“They just wanted to tear Gore apart,” said a major network correspondent).
  • Jonathan Schwartz summarizing the great debate incident (“The media groaned, howled and laughed almost every time Al Gore said something”).

And for the longer version of all this, there’s Bob’s own “How He Got There” — not a finished product yet, but up to Chapter Six anyway. Read and be amazed.