March 1, 2007
-- by Dave Johnson
By Dave Johnson and James Boyce
There's a tragic but true old expression that a lie can make it half way around the world before the truth can even get its pants on. Sadly, this has been proven true again this week with the $mear attack on Vice President Al Gore and his energy consumption.
Today, we noticed that the lie has made it to Germany. How did this happen and, more to the point, why does it continue to happen?
As Media Matters continues to speak out about every single day - and we all owe them thanks - the corporate media in America absolutely fails to serve the interest of the public. How could they spread this lie? How does a small, unknown organization with a $100,000 budget issue a press release containing a $mear on a respected former Vice President of the United States and have their lie echoed around the world within hours? Pathetic. (Just look at their IRS form! No officers, directors or trustees? Very little information? A P.O. box? Is it normal for an organization to spend that high a percentage of their funds on "meals?") One reporter asking one question about this group, or about the facts behind Gore's energy use, and the story is over. But they didn't.
Furthermore, it's our collective fault. As we noted in our post a few days ago, no one should have been surprised when Al Gore was attacked for the positive press he and his movie received last weekend. An Inconvenient Truth was sure to win an Oscar. Gore would then speak to a billion people about the problem of global warming. The well-funded global warming denial industry would respond, and $mearing people is their standard method of attack. They destroy our leaders.
And yet, there was surprise and a lack of preparation to fight back. How many times will one of our leaders be attacked and be marginalized before we get it through our thick heads that this is a pattern? How many times will this happen before we start to do something about it?
Al Gore was mocked as "ozone man". Max Cleland destroyed. Howard Dean screamed out of town. McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, and Bill Clinton $meared and $meared and even impeached. Then the lies about Al Gore during his campaign against Bush. Then John Kerry swiftboated. Now Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama and John Edwards attacked. They destroy our leaders.
And not only are the targets of the attacks often caught off guard, but the Democratic institutions and leaders are often nowhere to be found when it happens!
Where was the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday as these lies gained hold? Where was any Democratic-oriented Group? There were the progressive bloggers, Media Matters and CAP's Think Progess and very few others -- the usual suspects -- and this is all that Gore and our other leaders have watching their backs. They sure aren't watching each other's.
Last fall, we (James, Dave and Taylor Marsh) worked together on The Patriot Project. We struggled mightily to raise money to help veteran candidates like Joe Sestak, Patrick Murphy, Charlie Brown, Jack Murtha and Chris Carney. We raised money online but traditional donors didn't help us. The progressive bloggers are also largely unfunded and are the targets of strategic marginalization attacks themselves. The progressive donor base continues to play it safe and avoid controversy, funding the large, stale, DC-based "traditional" organizations.
And the attacks continue.
When John Kerry was the focus of the machine when he botched his joke, the wingnuts misrepresented what he said and pretended outrage, the right's online sites echoed and amplified the smear, the Drudge Report spread it widely, Limbaugh blasted it out, and then the networks dutifully picked it up and spread the lie to the rest of the country. And not only did no Democrat come to his aid, some actually piled on.
When Nancy Pelosi was $meared with the lie that she "demanded a luxury jet" the wingnuts misrepresented what she said and pretended outrage, the right's online sites echoed and amplified the smear, the Drudge Report spread it widely, Limbaugh blasted it out, and then the networks dutifully picked it up and spread the lie to the rest of the country. But how many leading Democrats and organizations joined forces to protect her?
How many similar episodes have we seen in just the last few months? Where are the Democratic institutions? Where are the other Democratic leaders? Don't they understand that they're next?
And this week here was Al Gore getting blind-sided and the silence was deafening. One more sad but clear example of what ails our party and our leaders.
It is a tragedy.
First the wingnuts came for Bill Clinton,
I remained silent;
I am not Bill Clinton.
When they made up stuff about Gore,
I remained silent;
I am not Gore.
When they lied about John Kerry
I didn't speak up for him;
I complained about how he ran his campaign.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out;
I am a Democrat.
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I don't understand what the lie is. He really does use that much electricity. Power companies really do have to generate that electricity. The market for electricity is essentially continental. By increasing demand, he is inducing suppliers to increase supply. This harms the planet.
The "source" of the electricity doesn't matter. Carbon offsets are a lie that people tell themselves to make themselves feel better. The pollution really happens and Al Gore loses credibility because he lives a lifestyle that he condemns.
If Al Gore were authentic, he would be living in Thomas Leavitt's great grandmother's house. I'd like you all to give me one legitimate reason why he isn't.
Of course, jaymuntz's first comment to the post mentioning Thomas' great-grandmother's house is:
"Who is our environment FOR, anyway?? Ha ha.
You've provided no evidence that our lifestyle is unsustainable. We don't need to do any of the things you described.
This kind of wackiness is the reason why many sensible people don't trust any environmental claims. They lump in the sensible (i.e. - the need to tackle global warming) with the insane (this post).
This type of rhetoric harms the environmental movement - and thusly harms the environment.
Please shut up - for the good of the Earth!"
Posted by: Dan S. at March 1, 2007 8:07 PM
Jaymuntz's statement that "the source of the electricity doesn't matter" is an absolute idiocy, from which mockery is powerless to add or subtract.
Jaymuntz says he doesn't understand what the lie is, which is a damned lie to begin with, because he is a sub-rational troll tactician, wielding a monkey wrench.
Jaymuntz mocks authenticity; and he is definitely not protesting on its behalf.
But this gibberish has lost its power to surprise. If Al Gore were stripped, lashed, and crucified for our sins; people like Jaymuntz would laugh. I am sickened unto death by the sneer, the mockery, and the unforgivable dishonesty of people like Jaymuntz. No troll has walked a mile in Al Gore's shoes, or advanced a narrative that benefits the human race.
Posted by: Copeland at March 2, 2007 1:36 AM
I believe global warming is a serious problem. However, I believe the solution will be technological. I don't believe there's any thing wrong with Al Gore's lifestyle. My fear is Al Gore and others are going to impose major restrictions and changes to our lives which are unnecessary and will make our lives worse (i.e. do more damage to us then global warming is likely to do).
The "Truth" isn't really that "Inconvenient" because we have the wealth and resources to find the solution to this problem. However, Al Gore's message is that fixing the problem is a matter of personal action, and since that's the case, his lifestyle is hypocritical.
I will say, Jaymuntz, that your second comment is about ten times more coherent than the first one. I apologize for making my reply so personal, and calling you a troll.
For one thing, people who have seen the film, "An Inconvenient Truth", are aware of Al Gore's tireless effort over a number of years, spanning thousands of miles, as he made his continuing slide presentations in countless cities throughout the world. What is clear to me, concerning the organized smears directed at Gore, is that fundamentally he is a public servant, while those who are savaging him and concentrating on smear campaigns are not familiar with public service themselves.
However, I am not exaggerating when I describe the primitive psychology of our political adversaries. In modern American history, in living memory, we have not seen anything so essentially anti-civic, predatory, or lawless, as this perverse subset of republicans who have held power for the last six years. They truly do not govern. They make war, absorb and disperse revenue, and subvert the democratic process. Political reversals and ongoing exposure of their crimes seem to have a negligible effect on a dogged pursuit of their objectives.
You will have to understand my touchiness; but after years of facing these opponents who mock authenticity and civic responsibility, who raid the public treasury, extort overseas resources by means of foreign occupation, and use character assassination as one of their chief political resources--there is simply no margin left--for a lack of vigilance.
"My fear is Al Gore and others are going to impose major restrictions and changes to our lives which are unnecessary and will make our lives worse".Here, Jaymuntz, I recognize your honest feeling, and I respect your willingness to express an anxiety about our future. But I have to disagree; it won't be that far in the future before global warming will do more damage to us and our descendants than we can accept. The ecological and economic structure through which Americans and all people relate to the planet must change. Restrictions, as the result of new regulations and laws, will not particularly make our lives worse (as you fear), but I believe our lives must be lived differently. And first of all, we will have to wean ourselves from unfair imperial advantages, which the military dominance of our nation has made far too easy for us to obtain.
Economic dominance, by means of force, will make hypocrites of us all. We can't go on living in a world where we subtract resources and dignity from other nations, and at the same time cover our eyes, living in a strictly imaginary world of self-righteousness and superiority.
Posted by: Copeland at March 3, 2007 7:52 PM
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