by Scoobie Davis
Update on the Gore Monticello Gaffe Hoax
I just received a clear C-SPAN video regarding the hoax revolving around Al Gore’s supposed gaffe at Monticello. The right has spread this hoax—most recently in the Weekly Standard's review of Slander by Beth Henary (subscription required). I updated my 7/5 post on the subject. Check it out UPDATE: I've reprinted the original post below:
Coulter on Gore
Tapped beat me to the punch on Coulter’s misinformation that Al Gore lied when he claimed to be the inspiration for Love Story (quick note: read the hilarious transcript of the radio conversation in which I schooled Rush Limbaugh of the false nature of this story). This is especially egregious because she has Frank Bruni listed in the Acknowledgments as someone who gave“ideas and editing advice.” Bruni covered the 2000 (s)election for the New York Times. It’s hard to believe he didn’t catch this. Then again, he wrote a cloying book about George W. Bush, so maybe it wasn’t an oversight.
Here’s one example of Coulter’s misinformation on Gore that Tapped hasn’t written about: Coulter makes the manifestly absurd charge that "...Gore couldn’t pick George Washington out of a lineup. In a highly publicized stop at Monticello during Clinton’s 1993 inaugural festivities, Gore pointed to carvings of Washington and Benjamin Franklin and asked the curator: 'Who are those guys?'"
REALITY: C-SPAN video of the events gives a completely different picture.
1. Coulter fails to mention that the two busts directly in front of the tour group were of John Paul Jones and the Marquis de Lafayette--hardly household faces. As the Church Lady would say, "How convenient."
2. The Washington and Franklin busts (that Coulter claimed that Gore pointed to) were on opposite sides of the room (Monticello’s Tea Room).
Apparently, Coulter didn’t see the video (this canard was a staple of Rush Limbaugh’s television show of the 1990’s--which was produced by Mr. Fair-and-Balanced himself, Roger Ailes). When the tour group walked into the Tea Room, Gore said, "Who are these people?" not “Who are those guys?” If the shoe were on the other foot, and George W. Bush had said this, then undoubtedly Coulter would have concluded—-as any reasonable person would—-that he was simply prompting the curator to continue with the tour. Coulter is more than willing to give the benefit of the doubt to members of the right when accusations are made against them. For instance, Coulter writes, "Attorney General Ashcroft is absurdly said to fear calico cats..." Andrew Tobias, who broke the calico cat story, has some evidence that he does.
Update: When I wrote this post, I could base it only on memory and a very dark video put out by the right-wing Media Research Center. However, I received a clear copy of the C-SPAN video and wanted to give some new information. The C-SPAN video clearly shows Gore pointing to the busts in the middle of the room (Lafayette and Jones), not Washington and Franklin (which were according to the curator, at the "far right" and "left" of the room). The clear video shows how the Washington and Franklin busts are not in Gore’s line of vision. This makes sense, of course, because it is absurd that Gore couldn’t identify Franklin and Washington.
A cynical person might conclude that the Media Research Center intentionally obscured their video in order to deceive the viewer. I'm not making that accusation. Watch MRC's video and draw your own conclusion. Keep in mind that in the original video, the busts are white; in MRC’s video, one can’t even see the busts.