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Daily Howler: The New York Time channeled our biggest denier for a front-page ''report'' about Gore
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THE ACORN RULES! The New York Time channeled our biggest denier for a front-page “report” about Gore: // link // print // previous // next //

They called it a streak: How they do love to over-interpret! This morning, the analysts shared a good solid laugh when they looked at the banner headline which sat atop the New York Times’ front page. This is the headline which appears in our hard-copy Times:

Breaking a Streak, Virginia Elects a Republican Governor

In fact, the “streak” to which that headline refers extends all the way back through two prior gubernatorial races! In fact, this is what Virginia has done during the course of that streak. Note: In Virginia, incumbent governors can’t seek re-election:

Virginia gubernatorial elections:
2009: Virginia elected Bob McDonnell (R)
2005: Virginia elected Tim Kaine (D)
2001: Virginia elected Mark Warner (D)
1997: Virginia elected Jim Gilmore (R)

To us, that isn’t much of a streak. But then, the Times’ Ian Urbina knew about this. Here’s the start of his front-page report, which appears beneath that banner:

URBINA (11/4/09): Robert F. McDonnell, a Republican and a former state attorney general, won a decisive victory in Virginia's governor's race Tuesday, a stark reversal of fortune for Democrats who have held control in Richmond for the past eight years.

In the headline, it was the end of a “streak.” To Urbina, it was something equally thrilling—“a stark reversal of fortune.”

But then, we warned you yesterday to be on alert for pranks of just this type! Every four years, this is the day when the over-interpreters costume themselves, come to your homes and offer you silly, scary stories. Congratulations to Bob McDonnell! But the analysts shared a knowing laugh when they gazed on that headline, which ballyhooed the world’s shortest possible “streak.”

Stark reversals are for lovers: In 2001, Mark Warner broke up a similar streak:

Virginia gubernatorial elections:
2001: Virginia elected Mark Warner (D)
1997: Virginia elected Jim Gilmore (R)
1993: Virginia elected George Allen (R)
1989: Virginia elected Douglas Wilder (D)

Stark reversals never end in Virginia! Despite this, the state is for lovers.

THE ACORN RULES: Bill Keller runs the New York Times. After September’s semi-hysterical reaction to the prosty-and-pimp-visit-Acorn flap, Keller swore that the mighty Times would do better in the future on the kooky-con pander beat.

He didn’t phrase it exactly like that. At the end of September, Clark Hoyt, the Times’ public editor, quoted Keller and his semi-hysterical helpmate, Jill Abramson, as they made a perfervid vow:

HOYT (9/27/09): Dean Baquet, the Washington bureau chief, said, ''We did not ignore the Acorn story, so I don't think it's fair for people to say we blew it off.”...

Jill Abramson, the managing editor for news, agreed with me that the paper was ''slow off the mark,'' and blamed “insufficient tuned-in-ness to the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio.” She and Bill Keller, the executive editor, said last week that they would now assign an editor to monitor opinion media and brief them frequently on bubbling controversies. Keller declined to identify the editor, saying he wanted to spare that person ''a bombardment of e-mails and excoriation in the blogosphere.”

Despite what the critics think, Abramson said the problem was not liberal bias.

The twin hysterics assigned an unnamed editor to keep abreast of the clowning on Fox and talk radio. (Sorry: To keep abreast of the “bubbling controversies.”) Just a guess: This new regime may explain yesterday’s front-page “news report.”

This non-story story involves Al Gore’s investments in clean energy. Yesterday afternoon, we heard the non-story story being discussed on Baltimore talk radio. Last night, David Letterman even asked Gore about it, during an otherwise intelligent discussion on Late Night. But then, the silly theme of this news report comes to us straight from conservative talk. Just a guess: Abiding by the Acorn Rules, Keller’s unnamed editor persuaded the brass to put this drek on page one.

In these ways, in the wake of that prosty-pimp flap, the Times bows low to the kooks.

What is the theme of this front-page report? Gore has invested in clean energy! In this passage, the hapless John Broder (no relation) explains the situation:

BRODER (11/3/09): Mr. Gore has invested a significant portion of the tens of millions of dollars he has earned since leaving government in 2001 in a broad array of environmentally friendly energy and technology business ventures, like carbon trading markets, solar cells and waterless urinals.

He has also given away millions more to finance the nonprofit he founded, the Alliance for Climate Protection, and to another group, the Climate Project, which trains people to present the slide show that was the basis of his documentary ''An Inconvenient Truth.'' Royalties from his new book on climate change, ''Our Choice,'' printed on 100 percent recycled paper, will go to the alliance, an aide said.

Summarizing: Gore has earned “tens of millions of dollars” since leaving the White House. He has given away millions of dollars in earning. He has also invested “a significant portion” of those earnings in “environmentally friendly ventures.” Later, we learn that Gore “is not a lobbyist, and he has never asked Congress or the administration for an earmark or policy decision that would directly benefit one of his investments.”

By normal standards, we’re not real sure why this would qualify for a 1400-word front-page report, accompanied by a massive photo on page A15. Just a guess: Was this underwhelming “news report” hatched to keep faith with the Acorn Rules? The foolishness started early on, as Broder agreed to type a silly claim voiced by Gore’s various “critics:”

BRODER: Critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming skeptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the world's first ''carbon billionaire,'' profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in.

Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, asserted at a hearing this year that Mr. Gore stood to benefit personally from the energy and climate policies he was urging Congress to adopt.

Mr. Gore says that he is simply putting his money where his mouth is.

''Do you think there is something wrong with being active in business in this country?'' Mr. Gore said. ''I am proud of it. I am proud of it.”

Is it silly enough for you yet? According to Broder, Gore has earned “tens of millions” of dollars. He has invested part of those earnings in clean energy. But to Gore’s “critics,” this somehow means that Gore “is poised” to become a “carbon billionaire!” Playing perhaps by the Acorn Rules, Broder was happy to type this seemingly clownish claim—while pretending that someone other than warming deniers and the political right have been making this presentation.

Can we talk? If Gore is “poised to become” a billionaire based on a few million dollars’ investment, he should probably drop the warming beat and take control of the U.S. economy. But Broder ignored the apparent nonsense of the “carbon billionaire” claim—and there was Letterman, repeating the outsized phrase last night, for everyone to hear! And by the way: Do you doubt the fact that this claim comes from the dumbest among us—and from no one else? Later in his report, Broder sloshes into the fever swamps to identify the source of this clowning:

BRODER: Mr. Gore is not a lobbyist, and he has never asked Congress or the administration for an earmark or policy decision that would directly benefit one of his investments. But he has been a tireless advocate for policies that would move the country away from the use of coal and oil, and he has begun a $300 million campaign to end the use of fossil fuels in electricity production in 10 years.

But Marc Morano, a climate change skeptic who until recently was a top aide to Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, said that what he saw as Mr. Gore's alarmism and occasional exaggerations distorted the debate and also served his personal financial interests.

Mr. Gore has testified numerous times in support of legislation to address climate change and to revamp the nation's energy policies.

When it comes to climate science, are there two bigger kooks on earth than Morano and his former boss, Inhofe? But probably under the Acorn Rules, the Times now crawls through these fever swamps, heroically fighting its “insufficient tuned-in-ness to the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio.”

In this way, a very famous non-newspaper newspaper dumbs the discourse way down. On the bright side, its editors get less hate mail from the right. They are thus able to get to the Hamptons a little bit earlier each Thursday.

How absurd was this non-story story? Just follow the headlines! “Gore’s Role Both as Goad for Cause and as Investor Is in Spotlight,” the headline said on page A15 of our hard-copy Times. On the front page, the Times ran a similar headline: “Gore’s Dual Role in Spotlight: Goad for Cause and Investor.”

But has Gore’s investing really been in some sort of “spotlight?” In the world of kooky-con fever swamps, the answer is a limited yes. In the world of the Moranos and Inhofes, global warming is a “hoax;” Gore’s investments have thus come to mean that Gore is promoting a scientific hoax in support of an investment scam. But that seems to be the extent of the “spotlight” in which this silly story has lurked. According to the Nexis archives, the term “carbon billionaire:” had never appeared in an American newspaper until Tuesday’s front-page report, except for a letter to the Muskegon (Michigan) Chronicle on August 21 of this year. (That’s right: Until today, the term had never appeared in the Washington Times.) Meanwhile, the term had been uttered just once on TV. It was uttered last May on O’Reilly, by a prominent warming denier. Does the name ring a bell?

MORANO (5/1/09): Al Gore wants to become the first carbon billionaire. And he is poised to do it.

Al Gore “was wealthy before,” guest host Laura Ingraham replied. “I am not sure that is the motivation.” But note the way Broder cut-and-pasted Morano’s precise language in yesterday’s front-page report—as he pretended that this clownish claim is being advanced by a wide range of observers.

Reading Broder, you would think that this claim has been advanced a by a wide range of critics, not exclusively by those on the right. Checking Nexis, we find the claim being made by one person: Morano.

Bill Keller’s father was head of Chevron. Today, the son bows low to kooks like Morano. It’s a good way to get a head start to the Hamptons. On the downside, playing by these apparent Acorn Rules helps makes a joke of your discourse.

Yesterday, we heard “carbon billionaire” on Baltimore radio. Then, we heard the phrase on Letterman. The phrase was delivered to you by a kook—channeled through the nation’s most famous non-newspaper newspaper.

Today, the phrase finally hits the Washington Timers—courtesy of Keller’s Acorn Rules. In this way, the New York Times continue a practice from the 1990s. It spreads the prime drek all around.

Tomorrow: More silly crap at the New York Times, served up by the Acorn Rules.

Questioning Inhofe: Have you ever seen a story in the Times about financial gains to Inhofe and Morano from their climate change denial? In April, this widely-criticized profile of Morano made a minor glancing attempt. We find no sign that the Times has ever examined the gains to Inhofe in investments and campaign contributions.

Darlings, it simply isn’t done! You can just picture the e-mails!