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YOU KNOW THEM, AL (PART 3)! Alan Murray embarrassed himself trying to avoid what Gore said:


WHAT ALAN DOES BEST: Chris Matthews knew what Gore had said. Al Gore was the former vice president of the United States. Less than three years ago, he received over 50 million votes for president—half a million more than his opponent. And what had Gore said in last Thursday’s speech? According to Matthews’ accurate account, “Al Gore said today that George W. Bush has basically deceived the American people with false reasons for war, with false economic information.” Al Gore “accused the president of basically lying about the reasons for the war.” And not only that: “I agree with all of it,” Matthews said (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/11/03).

Just imagine! Matthews—a knowledgeable, experienced press corps insider—said he agreed with Gore’s claims. He said he agreed with the startling claim that Bush had “deceived” the American people about a war. You might even think that such startling claims would trigger widespread press corps attention. But if you thought that, you were thinking about the American democracy you read about in your civics text. You weren’t thinking about the store-bought clowns who now run your celebrity “press corps.”

You weren’t thinking about the hapless Gwen Ifill, who hosts the PBS show Washington Week when she isn’t off shilling for Condi Rice. Last Friday night, Ifill spent one segment of Washington Week reviewing Gore’s startling speech. “Remember Al Gore?” the witty host quipped. “You know, tall guy, bad dancer, describes himself as the guy who used to be the next president of the United States? He stepped back into the spotlight this week with a toughly worded indictment of the man who now holds the job he wanted. ‘George W. Bush,’ he said, ‘is guilty of misleading the American people about war and about peace.’”

Ifill knew what Gore had said: Bush had “misled the American people.” But do you think she tried to examine this charge? Of course not! Here was her question:

IFILL: Karen [Tumulty], I read that speech and that I watched portions of it and I was, I—I couldn’t get the answer to my question, which is: What was he doing? What was he—was he giving a road map to Democrats on how to behave or was he hinting around that he wasn’t going to run?
Amazing, isn’t it? “What was Gore doing?” Ifill asked. “Was he hinting around that he wasn’t going to run?” It didn’t seem to occur to Ifill that Gore was accusing Bush of gross misconduct—was making a set of serious charges that her panel should review and consider. It didn’t seem to occur to Ifill that Gore was making a serious charge he actually believed to be true. Were Gore’s remarkable charges true? Ifill didn’t seem to care. And just that quickly, one of her panelists, CNBC’s Alan Murray, began to mind-read Gore:
MURRAY: I can’t help but think that somewhere in the back of his mind is the scenario where none of the nine [Democratic candidates] really break out and distinguish themselves, and you get to a convention, then there’s a true split of delegates and then—

IFILL: Oh, no, you’re going into that brokered convention scenario again.

MURRAY: Yeah, I know. No, it’s, it’s—

IFILL: Don’t we do this every four years?

MURRAY: And, and it never happens and it’s totally unrealistic, but don’t you think when you listen to what he was saying and you ask the question you asked, “Why is he doing this?” that somewhere in the back of his head is the thought, “Well, if that happened, I’m here?”

“We do this every four years,” Ifill said. “It’s totally unrealistic,” Murray replied. But there they were, wasting time—as they do every four years—trying to figure out what may be “somewhere in the back of [Gore’s] head.” Meanwhile, Gore’s serious charges went unexplored—unlisted, unchallenged, unsupported, undiscussed. Could you really find such mindless conduct anywhere else in the animal kingdom? In the human realm, is any other professional class is so deeply sunk in such dysfunction?

But then, all throughout the Pundit Kingdom, tree-swinging primates knew what to do. They were far too scared—and too store-bought—to discuss the things that Gore had said. So instead, they ran for higher ground, looking for ways to avoid that discussion. Fred and Mort simply lied in your faces (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/8/03). Matthews stumped his Hardball guests with bizarre remarks about Gore (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/11/03). But Ifill and Murray swung to the tree where they try to mind-read Gore’s motives. Why was he saying it? Ifill asked—avoided the things Gore had said.

But then, Murray had taken the same approach on Capitol Report one night earlier. Incredibly, Murray never reported what Gore had said—that Bush had deceived the American people. No, he only asked if Gore’s Big Speech meant that he might run for office. And to insure that the segment would be totally vacuous, he featured the half-witted Kellyanne Conway. Soon, the reigning queen of worthless comment was making remarks like this:

CONWAY: Al Gore seems to be a former everything and a current nothing. I mean, one is hard-pressed to know what exactly his day job has been for the last two and a half years. He looks like the same angry guy, same boulder on his shoulder. He reminded everyone again why they didn’t like him. And one of the most popular phrases we have heard in the last almost two years now is, “Could you imagine if Al Gore had been president on 9/11,” or “Thank God Al Gore wasn’t in charge in 9/11.” This is not the kind of leader the country’s looking for now. Look, I hope he jumps in the race, ultimately, because he just is such fodder for the Republican Party. The big slogan for Al Gore should be, “Al Gore, Action Figure Sold Separately.” He looks like the same old Al Gore.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Whew, what a brilliant discussion!

How good does it feel when that cable money is stuffed deep down inside your pants? That cable money must really feel for Murray to degrade himself with this nonsense. And Conway, of course, was just getting started. Take a look at the empty soul of Modern Pundit America:

CONWAY: Let’s be very clear about where Al Gore was today and, more to the point, where he was not. He took his case to that hotbed of conservative ideology, New York, Manhattan. He didn’t give his speech at Vanderbilt University in his home state of Tennessee, which he lost to Al Gore [sic] handily in 2000. He’s in New York. He’s at New York University in Manhattan, which arguably is the most left-of-center place. And I split my time between Manhattan and DC. It’s the most left-of-center place on the globe. He’s going to where it is very safe, where you can stack an audience in your favor, and I think he deserves that, because here’s a guy who really is down and out and marginalized from his party. Why is he not giving that speech in the heartland?
In Alan Murray’s America, we don’t discuss the things Gore says. We trash the city where he makes them.

Cable money must spend real good for Murray to embarrass himself this way. Make no mistake—Murray knew what Gore had said. He also knew that his cable paymasters didn’t want you to know it.

TOMORROW: Who will dare speak? And a bit of HOWLER HISTORY: Gwen Ifill, 10/4/00!