Al Gore’s version of Hillary Clinton’s vast right-wing conspiracy theory is impressive in its near-autistic intensity. In his interview with the New York Observer this week, he casts the Republican National Committee as a wizard of the “zeitgeist,” using as its levers an at-the-ready media.
“Something” — he doesn’t define what something is — “will start at the Republican National Committee, inside the building, and it will explode the next day on the right-wing talk show network and on Fox News and in the newspapers that play the game, The Washington Times and the others. And then they’ll create a little echo chamber, and pretty soon they’ll start baiting the mainstream media for allegedly ignoring the story they’ve pushed into the zeitgeist. And then pretty soon the mainstream media goes out and disingenuously takes a so-called objective sampling, and lo and behold, these R.N.C. talking points are woven into the fabric of the zeitgeist.”
It is too bad that he doesn’t offer any examples of the RNC realigning the zeitgeist. His comments are disappointing in their vagueness — though the parenthetical “inside the building” is a nice touch, as is the phrase “newspapers that play the game,” of which he could come up with exactly one, the Washington Times.
Is it possible that the RNC and the media are responding to the zeitgeist, not driving it? This is inconceivable to Gore because he assumes the American people would never, unless snookered, favor Republican or conservative ideas.
Unable to admit this possibility, the Democrats’ explanations for defeat grow ever more elaborate. The obvious explanation — the American people just don’t trust liberalism, especially when their lives are at stake — is too difficult to bear, so alternative theories must be faked up.
Gore has enough of a phony intellectual streak to shoulder this task. Bill Bradley might be helpful too.
Gore has certainly learned a few big words over the years and feels no embarrassment at whipping up theories with them. Why, the New York Observer asked him, do pundits lampoon you? “That’s postmodernism,” he replied. “It’s the combination of narcissism and nihilism that really defines postmodernism, and that’s another interview for another time, if you’re interested in it.”
People don’t like Al Gore because of “postmodernism”? This denial of reality should make Gore the postmodernists’ pol.
Because Gore takes as the measure of reality his own thoughts, he can’t escape the bubble of narcissism which he decries. His anger at the media is nothing more than a reflection of that self-absorption. He once could count on the liberal media monolith to play defense for the Dems. But now that it is cracking up, he is concerned about its lack of objectivity. It is “kind of weird these days on politics,” he says.
Liberal opinions mixed with facts has defined the network news for decades, but Gore hadn’t noticed until now that the media are “selling a hybrid product,” which is “news plus news-helper” — “news that’s marbled with opinion.” And evil lucre, of course, is behind much of it — “it has become good economics once again to go back to a party-oriented approach to attract a hard-core following that appreciates the predictability of a right-wing point of view…”
He wonders why fellow liberals in the media aren’t doing a better job of policing their colleagues: “Most of the media [has] been slow to recognize the pervasive impact of this fifth column in their ranks — that is, day after day, injecting the daily Republican talking points into the definition of what’s objective as stated by the news media as a whole.”
This is reminiscent of Hillary Clinton urging the liberal media to do a “story” on the vast right-wing conspiracy against her husband. But Gore has surpassed Hillary Clinton. Indeed, she should feel shame at the relative simplicity of her theory next to Gore’s. His is a model of multilayered paranoia.