Bush Didn't Beat Gore in 2000, The Media Did

This post, written by Sylvia Tognetti, originally appeared on The Post-Normal Times

Vanity Fair has an excellent article by Evgenia Peretz that reviews the fiasco that was the media coverage of the 2000 campaign, made possible in part by the meticulous chronicles of Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler, who has tirelessly tracked and documented the fabrication of fairy tales about Al Gore. But it also includes some comments from Al Gore and some of the reporters who took part in this pollution of public discourse. And it features some lessons learned. Chris Matthews has indeed learned something:
The last six years have been a powerful bit of evidence that we have to judge candidates for president on their preparation for the office with the same relish that we assess their personalities.
And he gets paid? If it takes a disaster for the media to figure out what their job is, no telling what it will take to deal with the consequences of this failure. Not that the media is known for being accurate with assessment of personalities:
Maureen Dowd boiled the choice between Gore and Bush down to that between the "pious smarty-pants" and the "amiable idler," and made it perfectly clear which of the presidential candidates had a better chance of getting a date. "Al Gore is desperate to get chicks," she said in her column. "Married chicks. Single chicks. Old chicks. Young chicks. If he doesn't stop turning off women, he'll never be president."
"I bet he is in a room somewhere right now playing Barry White CDs and struggling to get mellow," she wrote in another.

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