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More Excuses for Gores Lies
Newsweek and Time offer weak defenses of Gores penchant for making things up. Jonathan Alter grumbled: "If these slips had been made by any other politician, they would have caused barely a peep." Margaret Carlson claimed: "In my warped view, Gore fell within the margin of political error by scoring 95% for anecdotal accuracy."
A common theme in this weeks newsmagazines was their focus on Gores now well-known exaggerations and lies. One of Gores chief apologists on this issue, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, continues his tortured defense of Gores misstatements and complains that the media is spending far too much time and space correcting them.
"Now none of this is the slightest bit unusual in politics. In fact, if you scan transcripts of presidential speeches, press conferences and debates over the past half century, they are studded with fabrications. Some are to protect national security (Ike on the U-2 in 1960), some are to protect the presidents own skin (Nixon, Clinton) and some are just boasting (Jimmy Carter falsely claimed to be a nuclear engineer). Ronald Reagan, who once claimed he had helped liberate Nazi concentration camps, practically turned falsehoods into an art form. Which brings us to Velcro Al, whose every misstatement sticks to him. Several of the reports of his lies have themselves been exaggerated. Take last week. After dozens of trips with FEMA chief James Lee Witt to other disaster sites, its understandable how he might confuse them, and say he had accompanied Witt to the Texas fires. (In fact, Gore was briefed in Texas by one of Witts deputies.) And the embellished story about the Sarasota, Fla., student who had to stand in class in her overcrowded school was the result of bad staff work; no one double-checked the original story. If these slips had been made by any other politician, they would have caused barely a peep."
Margaret Carlsons article in Time on "Gores infuriating fibs" took Alters arguments a step further by making the outrageous claim that Gores false anecdotes were 95 percent accurate (if this were the case, why did Gore go on record the next day admitting he was wrong about going with James Lee Witt to the Texas fires?) followed by a slap at Reagan and concluded by claiming Bush is the worse liar of the two.
"Gore served up several juicy targets -- that standing-room-only classroom in Florida, Winifred Skinner's picking up cans to buy medicine, his being in Texas during the floods with James Lee Witt. Bush's truth squad quickly put the word out that Gore had not gone with Witt but with FEMA's regional director (although he had gone on 17 other Witt trips to disaster areas). In fact, Kaylie Ellis isn't still standing at Sarasota High School, but her lab built for 24 is squeezing in 36, and other students are still deskless. Kids at that other school Gore mentioned are eating lunch at 10 a.m., not 9:30. And when a well-off son appeared to cast doubt on Winnie's need to recycle aluminum, she reiterated her desire not to take charity from anyone. In my warped view, Gore fell within the margin of political error by scoring 95% for anecdotal accuracy, although I don't want to suggest for a second that his overall affect, especially the sighing, didn't make me want to shake him....For Gore, there's zero tolerance for anything but the literal truth. Reagan, the President who told the tallest of tales, won his debate by employing the famous line There you go again against Jimmy Carter, who told the fewest tales. Reagan claimed he took pictures of Nazi death camps and was happy like other vets after the war to be able to finally rest up, make love to my wife..., though he never left the country....In the end, Gore's fibs, which have to do with his life, should matter less to voters than Bush's fibs, which have to do with our lives."
-- Uncle Bob (email@example.com), October 16, 2000
LOL, consider the source. The Media "Research" Center, another right-wing propaganda machine.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 16, 2000.
Neither Gore nor Bush have enough respect for the truth to rely on it to win the election. They both stretch it into whatever shape they think will do them the most good. From streching to breaking is a small step. They both live so close to that edge that they cross it easily - almost without noticing the difference between their "normal" version of the truth and a complete misstatement - rather like a St. Paul resident who shops in Minneapolis.
-- Brian McLaughlin (email@example.com), October 16, 2000.