What's the real story behind Al Gore Inventing the Internet?
Bush runs commercials mocking Al Gore saying the he claims to have invented the Internet. Bush claims Gore is a liar and that he can't be trusted. Here's the story behind the story and you determine who is lying and who is telling the truth.
The following is a terrific article written by Mountain Democrat columnist David Jacobsen.
The Issue is Trust
Let's say the Associated Press or Time Magazine wants to consider me for a job. I'd have to whisk together a resume that might include the following: "My column appears regularly on the award-winning editorial page of the Mountain Democrat."
Of course, I had nothing to do with winning the award, earned by Editor Michael Raffety. He did, though, let me park on his illustrious page. So nobody could fault me for basking in his reflected glory.
Unless, of course, I were running for president.
Exhibit A is Al Gore. People eager to lie about him continue to portray him as a liar. First lie, that he claims to have "invented" the Internet. Second lie, that he claims to have "discovered" the pollution of Love Canal. Third lie, that he falsely claims to be the model for Oliver Barrett IV, hero of Love Story.
Gore never claimed that he "invented" the Internet, which implies that he engineered the technology. The invention occurred in the seventies and allowed scientists in the Defense Department to communicate with each other. In a March 1999 interview with Wolf Blitzer, Gore said, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
Taken in context, the sentence, despite some initial ambiguity, means that as a congressman Gore promoted the system we enjoy today, not that he could patent the science, though that's how the quotation has been manipulated. Hence the disingenuous substitution of "inventing" for the actual language.
For a heady while we hoped that the Bush campaign would prove their man to be the champion of honesty and integrity that he pretends to be, especially for those looking for a squeaky clean new White House. A couple of weeks ago the campaign rejected a shoddy commercial showing Gore saying that Clinton never told a lie. Problem was that the clip showed an interview from 1994, long before Clinton ever heard of Monica Lewinsky.
To his credit, Bush scrapped the commercial before it aired. But as I write, his campaign is unloading a new commercial, featuring a sneer at the fragment from the Internet claim, again implying that Gore had nothing to do with the Internet's creation. At least they got the words right; it would be dangerous to doctor the tape.
But the real question is what, if anything, did Gore actually do to create the modern Internet? According to Vincent Cerf, a senior vice president with MCI Worldcom who's been called the Father of the Internet, "The Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the Vice President in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator."
The inventor of the Mosaic Browser, Marc Andreesen, credits Gore with making his work possible. He received a federal grant through Gore's High Performance Computing Act. The University of Pennsylvania's Dave Ferber says that without Gore the Internet "would not be where it is today."
Joseph E. Traub, a computer science professor at Columbia University, claims that Gore "was perhaps the first political leader to grasp the importance of networking the country. Could we perhaps see an end to cheap shots from politicians and pundits about inventing the Internet?"
The Love Canal canard distorts a story Gore told to a high school class in Concord, New Hampshire. In answer to a question about how students could get involved in politics, Gore described a letter he'd received from a girl in West Tennessee while he was a congressman. Based on the girl's complaint about a poisoned well, he organized an investigation, which in turn led to other pollution sites, culminating in the expose of Love Canal. Referring to the well in Toone, Tennessee, Gore said, "That was the one you didn't hear of--but that was the one that started it all."
The media was quick to misquote the line as "I was the one that started it all." Seemingly dissatisfied with Gore's style, the Republican National Committee improved the line thus: "I was the one who started it all." When the Concord Monitor and the Boston Globe exposed what had really been said in that high school class, the New York Times, the Washington Post and U.S. News offered grudging corrections of their reportorial errors.
Some of the media's stars had rare fun with the idea that Al Gore was the kernel for Ryan O'Neal's most famous role; but no one seemed interested in finding out whether Gore was telling the truth or not. CNBC's Chris Matthews chortled. "It reminds me of Snoopy thinking he's the Red Baron." But in this case Snoopy really is the Red Baron. Erich Segal, author of Love Story, corroborated that Gore and his Harvard roommate, Tommy Lee Jones, were indeed the models for the story's main character.
Given that Gore was telling the truth, what's the issue? We have an odd bit of trivia of no relevance to the election--except to those liars who want to portray Gore as a liar.
All of these malicious whoppers have been exposed for over a year and have received pusillanimous apologies, often mean-spirited and grudging, from the so-called "liberal" press that promoted them. But like a corrupting disease the lies simply refuse to go away.
Unless Bush gets out of the tank with the media bottom feeders, he's not going to make it, especially in an election revolving around honesty and integrity.
So, it would appear that Bush is the one lying and can't be trusted. If it wasn't for Al Gore, you might not be reading this web page right now.
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