The first paragraph of Sunday's Washington Post front page story says, "Gore's opponents are mounting a final assault aimed at a long-suspected weakness - his willingness to exaggerate even to lie about his past." Post reporters, Ceci Connolly and David Von Drehle go on: "friends have feared and foes have hoped that Gore could be damaged -- even sunk-- by his reputation for stretching the truth.... hopes and fears ... likely to be tested once and for all" in the final days of the campaign. Bush's team "now believes the question of casual lying by Gore will finally give them traction in their efforts to tie [Gore] to the character flaws of Clinton."
If the Post had published this story in June, it might have been forgivable, but to be published on October 8, just four weeks before the election, raises questions of the paper's integrity and motivation. Because for months now, several reporters have been pointing out that the Washington Post's Connolly and the New York Times's Katharine Seelye have seriously misreported Vice President Al Gore's so-called lies and exaggerations, not once but repeatedly. They are: Robert Parry at consortiumNews.com, Salon.com, the Washington Monthly, and TomPaine.com, Bob Somerby at DailyHowler.com, American University's Jane Hall in the October Columbia Journalism Review, the Pew Committee of Concerned Journalists, and Princeton's Sean Wilentz in the American Prospect. Even the Post's ombudswoman E.R. Shipp has written twice recently about Connolly's errors, although somewhat obliquely.
The previously misreported stories are:
* That Gore claimed to have invented the Internet, when he never used that word, and is widely acknowledged as the congressman who best understood the implications of what Gore dubbed "the information superhighway," and was most responsible for obtaining the federal funding that made the development of the internet possible.
* That he said he "discovered" Love Canal, when he was referring to a toxic dump site in Tennessee that a high school student brought to his attention.
* That he said that he and Tipper were the models for Eric Segal's Love Story when he was merely quoting a newspaper article that said Segal used Gore, Tipper, and Tommy Lee Jones as models. Segal later said the article had gotten his quote wrong, only in that he had not mentioned Tipper.
* That Gore did not grow up experiencing rural life and labor in Tennessee, (he did) but grew up in a posh Washington hotel instead, which is a largely distorted assertion. The hotel was not posh in those days, was owned by a Gore relative and the Gores were able to live cheaply there.
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