Al Gore on Politics and Propaganda

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Al Gore argues that in the current political climate, reason faces an uphill battle against propaganda, fear, and a preoccupation with celebrities. And we take your calls on some of the issues Al Gore raises.

During times of crisis, is it still always appropriate for politicians and the press to be critical of the government? Even if the criticism will come across as partisan?

The Assault on Reason is available for purchase at


Al Gore

Comments [16]


What a shame about Gore's chance at the most powerful job in the world - Clinton was not quite dirty or sleazy enough, and Bush not quite unpopular enough (at the time). And then there's just Gore's monotone cardboard delivery that sound like reconstituted sound bytes from the collected wisdom of millions of other people before him.

May. 30 2007 06:19 PM

Our country is broken predominantly because our government is broken.

To fix it, politicians must make the hard choice to weed out the lobbyists and corporate influence so that politicians can get back to the business of doing what is best for the people. But that, of course, is easier said than done because most lawmakers rely on lobbyists for their lunch and golf and on corporations to finance their campaigns.

It’s the process that’s at fault, and the process is messing up everything. Until that gets fixed, it doesn’t really matter who’s in charge...

May. 30 2007 05:04 PM
Joe Adams from Hillsdale, Bergen County, NJ

I've been angry at Al for not running in 2004 (which he could have easily) and turning it over to the windsurfer who blew it (no pun intended). How different things would be if the 2000 election were not stolen! Ofcourse I'm for Al in 08 but what a burden to put on anybody. Can anybody put the Humpty Dumpty good old USA back together again? Even someone like life-long Republican Donald Trump calls the incumbent the worst in history.

May. 30 2007 04:59 PM
Jake Love from nyc

Preferred him seething and mute (94-00) or bearded and angst-filled (00-06).

May. 30 2007 04:09 PM
Scott from Manhattan

During the pre-Iraq War debate, the only positions argued in Congress were unconditional authorization for Bush to go to war and rejection of such authorization. No one raised the possibility of saying "yes, but ...."

Derrick Terrill and Andrew Crane of the Army War College raised such issues in "Reconstructing Iraq," issues such as securing infrastracture and the borders. Those issues were ignored and we have a mess in Iraq today. Is there any connection between the two? There's no discussion about that. Instead anything that hints at questioning whether the way we occupied Iraq was in error if going in was correct or whether an alternative way would have been better if it was a mistake is just dismissed as too much nuance.

May. 30 2007 01:48 PM
markbnj from NJ

I think Mr. Gore had very valid points.

Especially about the two branches of government
abdicating their responsibility to let the president get out of control

Check out the national security presidential directive # 51 (NSPD51)

Check my blog for links HERE

It has links to the original story, and the original white house press release

In closing, I will answer a question with a question.

Is it appropriate to discuss a possible change in the succession and powers of a president in a wartime (or natural diaster ) emergency?

I think so, so why has NOT ONE mainstream media covered this either?

Same darn answer mr. gore gave. POLITiCS/fear/etc

May. 30 2007 01:44 PM
Peter from new york

I find Al Gore's comments on the power of the printed word in comparison to the machiavellean type television broadcasting to be very enlightening. Victor Hugo once wrote an article called "The Death of the Edifice" referring to the death of architecture by the printed word with the invention of the printing press. He said that no longer were architects keepers of the knowledge of society written through stone, but now anyone could become the poet through written words and the preservation of text through the press. Unfortunately, television is much worse. I find it important for our intellectuals to be able to offer clear debate and dialogue in any sphere of government, whether or not it falls under the popular opinion. Remeber E.R. Murrow?
Brooklyn, NY

May. 30 2007 01:44 PM
Joe Page

From the New York Times review of Gore's book:

"His argument.. that television has enabled politicians to manipulate mass opinion while preventing individuals from taking part in the national dialogue seems overly simplistic." books/22kaku.html?ex=1337745600&en=22d458718a

May. 30 2007 01:39 PM
Beau from Greenpoint

Given Mr. Gore's correct analysis of our current political situation (especially surrounding the Iraq war) I wonder why he has not given some sort of honest opinion about the presidential campaign. It may be flawed but if he wants to change it he could endorse and get on board with someone, or at least tell us what he thinks. Buy not doing so he leaves himself open for running and becomes a part of the "game" and media hype that he is criticizing. Just tell us where you stand Al, what are your thoughts on the candidates?

May. 30 2007 01:31 PM
Dyami Plotke from Bay Shore, NY

Criticism of our goverenment is always appropriate. As a free society, there is nothing we can do to protect our freedom more than using it. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

While I personally disagree with many on the right and many on the extreem left, their voices are vital to our freedom. If everyone does not speak, how are they to be heard? It should be the government's role to listen, and find a reasonable course of action based on all that is said.

For the government to claim that dissent in a time of crisis is unpatriotic demonstrates how little they value the rights they claim to protect.

May. 30 2007 01:16 PM
John from Bklyn NY

Al Gore always sounds like he's giving instructions on coloring to a group of 2 year olds. What an airbag.

May. 30 2007 01:14 PM
Joe Page

Descartes believed in the rational ability of every person.

Today, I believe the only thing Americans have the feeling of control of to better one's future, is one's financial choices to allow lifestyle options.

This because they are meaningfully disconnected from the impact the political process has on there lives.

To care about other issues, as real as they may be -- like Global Warming -- is to entertain fantasy. To devote one's resources to such issues is an irrational act.

I'd better spend my time on my career and reading about my retirement and health care plans -- issues I *know* I can impact -- than issues such as Global Warming, which even if I could impact, would benefit all at the cost of an unevenly shared sacrifice. Putting me at a disadvantage to care.

May. 30 2007 01:06 PM
Joe Page

Oil companies stopped paying oil drilling royalties under the Clinton Administration.
And the Administration did not pursue them for payment.

May. 30 2007 12:29 PM
Joe Page

Please ask Gore if he feels the Clinton administration helped construct the political structure we now liver under which puts forth irrational constructions.

- Telecommunications Bill:
Signed and promoted by the Clinton Administration, removed or loosened constraints on media conglomeration.

- Signed NAFTA:
The Clinton Administration campaigned against NAFTA.

- Short Shrift on the environment; no emphasis on Global Warming:
The Clinton Administration did do much here.

- Just talk:
The Clinton Administration constantly put forth an image of concern and promotion of progressive policies towards working people. Yet it gathered record corporate donations at the time, and no one can remember any progressive policies put into action or strongly campaigned for in the last 6 years of the Administration.

Is Gore not the embodiment of an irrational argument by not acknowledging this?

May. 30 2007 12:26 PM
J. Levine

(In the msg I just wrote I refer specifically to Mr. Gore's treatment of the environment specifically as his CENTRAL political stance -- as he has done beginning 2006. I am not implying he ignored the environment entirely, obviously.)

May. 30 2007 12:14 PM
J. Levine

I did not see Mr. Gore complaining when he won awards for his efforts which single-handedly mainstreamed the topic of earth's climate and mans' relation to it. In this he used his celebrity and for it many are thankful.

However, I wonder if he shares in my regret that rather than his celebrity, he had in 2000 -- or any of the preceding 8 years prior -- tended to the "environment" with the power he held as America's most powerful politician aside from the standing president himself. As it was, Bush got many votes on promises he made (though didn't keep) regarding environmental stewardship.

May. 30 2007 12:04 PM

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