Al Gore pulled an old play out of his Clinton-era book of political tricks, in an interview with the New York Observer last week.
The reason he and his Democratic Party cronies are having a tough time lately, he explains, is because of a vast, right-wing media conspiracy against them.
No, he didn’t use exactly those words, as Hillary Clinton had six or seven years ago. But his take is pretty close. Same play, new spin.
“The media is kind of weird these days on politics, and there are some major institutional voices that are, truthfully speaking, part and parcel of the Republican Party,” he said. “Fox News Network, the Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh – there’s a bunch of them, and some of them are financed by wealthy ultra-conservative billionaires who make political deals with Republican administrations and the rest of the media. … Most of the media [has] been slow to recognize the pervasive impact of this fifth column in their ranks – that is, day after day, injecting daily Republican talking points into the definition of what’s objective as stated by the news media as a whole.”
He said it. I’m not kidding. It’s no joke.
Al Gore honestly believes that the media are stacked against the Democrats – against bigger government, against taxing and spending, against more Washington control over the people. At least he says it with a straight face. Who knows what he really believes?
If all this sounds similar to Hillary’s old “vast, right-wing media conspiracy” chatter, that’s because it is. Listen as Gore explains how the “communication stream of conspiracy commerce,” to borrow another Clinton phrase, works in 2002:
“Something will start at the Republican National Committee, inside the building, and it will explode the next day on the right-wing talk-show network and on Fox News and in the newspapers that play this game, the Washington Times and the others,” he says. “And then they’ll create an echo chamber, and pretty soon they’ll start baiting the mainstream media for allegedly ignoring the story they’ve been pushing into the zeitgeist. And then pretty soon the mainstream media goes out and disingenuously takes a so-called objective sampling, and lo and behold, these RNC talking points are woven into the fabric of the zeitgeist.”
Some time back in 1994 or 1995, Bill and Hillary Clinton dreamed up the idea of blaming their political and personal problems on the media – “the vast, right-wing media conspiracy,” if you can believe it.
Their nightmare scenario was chronicled in a 331-page report co-published and distributed, at taxpayer expense, by the Democratic National Committee and the White House counsel’s office. The report was titled, “The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce.”
This was a report distributed to select U.S. reporters in an effort to discredit a new breed of investigative journalists digging into what was already emerging as the most scandal-plagued administration in the history of the United States.
Let me quote from the opening lines of the report that placed yours truly at the center of the storm:
“The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce” refers to the mode of communication employed by the right wing to convey their fringe stories into legitimate subjects of coverage by the mainstream media. This is how the stream works. First, well-funded right-wing think tanks and individuals underwrite conservative newsletters and newspapers such as the Western Journalism Center, the American Spectator and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Next the stories are reprinted on the Internet where they are bounced all over the world. From the Internet, the stories are bounced into the mainstream media through one of two ways: 1) The story will be picked up by the British tabloids and covered as a major story, from which the American right-of-center mainstream media (i.e. the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times and New York Post) will then pick the story up; or 2) The story will be bounced directly from the Internet to the right-of-center mainstream American media.
After the mainstream right-of-center American media covers the story, congressional committees will look into the story. After Congress looks into the story, the story now has the legitimacy to be covered by the remainder of the American mainstream press as a “real” story.
Now, this wholly unbelievable conspiracy theory is back.
Yes, forget about the New York Times. Forget about USA Today. Forget about the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times and NBC and ABC and CNN. Forget about the Associated Press and Dan Rather. Forget about all of the political partisans of the establishment press and their extreme biases for bigger government and the politically correct social policies Al Gore favors. Forget all about that.
That’s the kind of forgetfulness required to believe Al Gore.