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vanity fair makes al gore feel better about himself September 6, 2007

Posted by KG in environment, news, politics.
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algore1.jpg

(photo courtesy of time)…does a coffee table book exist with pictures of the desks of famous people?

A study conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center and the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that 76 percent of stories about Gore in early 2000 focused on either the theme of his alleged lying or that he was marred by scandal, while the most common theme about Bush was that he was “a different kind of Republican.”

vanity fair looks at media bias during the 2000 election. evgenia peretz highlights the mainstream media’s obsession with the caricature of a lying, elitist, and aloof al gore. is this really anything new though? the media loves to caricature people for obvious reasons. are some politicians just easier to caricature? i don’t really think so – it’s a question of whether or not that caricature takes off or not, how much it’s repeated and whether it’s of a generally negative tone or not. peretz suggests that some of the unfair coverage of gore comes from a “self-loathing” liberal attitude, which is an interesting theory and might make for some entertaining pop-sociology discussion, but ultimately i don’t think that’s enough to explain the media bias discrepancy. she goes back and interviews some of the op-ed columnists and anchors who all seem to admit they could have done a better job and then kind of summarily say – “oh well.” the question is – what combination of things resulted in bush benefiting from a generally positive “folksy compassionate conservative” caricature as opposed to gore’s unflattering one. if you send out a simple message, the media is more likely to pick it up and run with it, and i don’t think gore really had a clear message. once that clear message is repeated enough it sticks, at which point the other factors become less important because even if you don’t agree with the caricature, your writing or commentary reacts to it. they’ve essentially framed the image of the person and then you probably sound defensive disagreeing with it after it’s been repeated so much.

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