NYT Magazine Gushes Over Al Gore's 'Prophetic Status' and 'Intellectual Mastery'

I really shouldn’t have eaten breakfast before reading a preview of the New York Times Magazine’s upcoming piece “Al Gore Has Big Plans” (h/t Dan Gainor).

After all, it’s one thing when sycophants like Sheryl Crow, Laurie David, and Leonardo DiCaprio gush over the former vice president in a manner akin to teenyboppers within earshot of Sean or David Cassidy.

But when such fawning superlatives like “prophetic status” and “intellectual mastery” are employed by a big-time journalist such as James Traub to describe a politician, uncoordinated peristalsis in one’s bowels could cause an embarrassing event without warning.

As such, the reader is cautioned to peruse the following quotes from this disgraceful article with as empty a stomach as humanly possible (emphasis added throughout):

Six years after the Supreme Court declared him the loser of a presidential race that seemed his for the taking, Al Gore has attained what you can only call prophetic status; and he has done so by acting as he could not, or would not, as a candidate — saying precisely what he believes, and saying it with clarity, passion, intellectual mastery and even, sometimes, wit.

How’s your stomach doing? Should I proceed, or does everyone need a bio break?

After all, when Traub writes that since Gore is no longer a candidate, he is now “saying precisely what he believes,” doesn’t this suggest that prior to George W. Bush being inaugurated in January 2001, everything that Gore had said was a lie? And, if that is indeed the case, why would one believe his veracity now?

Somehow, Traub seemed to miss this obvious dichotomy.

As for Gore being witty, well, that one’s just too easy to mock.

Traub gushed on:

For all the gizmos and pyrotechnics, “An Inconvenient Truth” required viewers to pay attention to real science. A review on the Web site realclimate.org, which caters to the academic climate crowd, concluded that Gore had handled the science “admirably,” with only a few minor errors. One prominent climate scientist I spoke to, Kerry Emanuel of M.I.T., did say that he felt Gore might be exaggerating the effects of increased CO2 emissions. Others disagree. Perhaps the most remarkable summation came from James Hansen, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (and one of Gore’s own gurus), who wrote, in The New York Review of Books, “Al Gore may have done for global warming what ‘Silent Spring’ did for pesticides.”

Talk about a target-rich environment! This schlockumentary “required viewers to pay attention to real science…with only a few minor errors?” Are you kidding? Conceivably no film in recent history – perhaps excepting another disgrace entitled “Fahrenheit 9/11” – has been more debunked by experts on the subject than this celluloid travesty.

In addition, RealClimate is a website for anthropogenic global warming believers. Quoting from it in a piece such as this is akin to citing The Nation in an article about the state of the American economy.

As for the Hansen quote concerning “Silent Spring,” by equating Gore to Rachel Carson, Traub was actually insulting the former vice president, although he was clearly oblivious. As the Business & Media Institute’s Dan Gainor wrote Friday: “The book ‘Silent Spring’ set in motion the banning of DDT and needlessly cost millions of lives.”

Traub, Hansen, and others on the left who surprisingly continue to laud Carson’s campaign against DDT conveniently overlook all the lives lost by her efforts.

Alas, that wasn’t the only instance of revisionist history being employed by Traub, for he next set off to rewrite the 2000 elections, and blame all of Gore’s problems on a favorite media whipping boy:

“An Inconvenient Truth” did a great deal for Al Gore as well. The last time he appeared in the consciousness of most Americans, six years earlier, he was, to all appearances, an unhappy guy running against a happy guy; and Americans like their presidential candidates to be happy. Gore now attributes this impression to a “meta-narrative” diabolically scripted by Karl Rove; but meta-narratives stick for a reason.

How disgraceful. Gore had been vice president for eight years. Yet, the way he was seen by the electorate was Karl Rove’s fault.

This is what is considered journalism in America today?

But there was more: “Live Earth, as the event has been christened, will be just about the biggest thing in planetary history, and all the profits will go to the alliance.”

A series of rock concerts “will be just about the biggest thing in planetary history?” Bigger than penicillin, the polio vaccine, heart transplants, World War II, the Great Depression, the splitting of the atom, or any of the other global concerts like Live Aid? Are you serious, James?

Regardless, the historical revisionism by Traub continued unabated:

This internal clash came to a head in 1997, with negotiations over the Kyoto protocol on greenhouse-gas emissions, which the business community, and above all the energy industry, vehemently opposed. Timothy Wirth, a committed environmentalist and then under secretary of state for global affairs, assembled a bipartisan advisory group of a dozen or so senators to build support for the treaty. “I could not get a single White House official to come to any of these meetings,” Wirth recalls. “They would not identify themselves with Kyoto.” Wirth planned to assemble a range of such groups, as he had with earlier pacts; but the White House took over the process before he could do so and made no outreach effort. “It was a goddamn scandal,” Wirth says. “It was horrible.” Wirth stepped down a few weeks before the treaty was to be finalized.

Gore was quite taken aback when I relayed Wirth’s remarks. “He’s not talking about me,” he said. “I don’t know who he’s talking about.” But he also adds: “If I had been president, would I have bent every part of the administration and every part of the White House to support this? Yes, I would have. Does that translate into criticism of President Clinton for not doing this? No. I was vice president, not president.” Or maybe Gore would rather not do the translation. When the international negotiations looked as if they were about to collapse, in part owing to American resistance, Gore suggested that he fly to Kyoto to demonstrate Washington’s commitment. David Sandalow, who worked on environmental affairs at the National Security Council, recalls a meeting with a dozen advisers “in which nobody recommended he go, with the range of opinion running from neutral to strongly against.” Gore went anyway. “His arrival was galvanizing,” Sandalow says. (Others are less convinced.) Gore returned in triumph — and instantly encountered, he recalls, “resistance in the White House to even signing it, much less submitting it to the Senate for ratification.” Gore used his last dram of political capital to persuade Clinton to sign the Kyoto pact; it was never sent to the Senate, where it surely would have died an ugly death. The Clinton administration thus surrendered without firing a shot. For Gore, it was a humiliating denouement.

This is some of the most shameful revisionist history one could imagine on this subject. Traub completely ignored the fact that on July 25, 1997, the Senate voted 95-0 in favor of a bill authored by Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) and Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) informing the White House of the Senate’s unanimous opposition to America becoming part of the Kyoto Protocol.

Furthermore, as Glenn Beck reported just a few weeks ago in the Headline News special “Exposed: The Climate of Fear,” then Vice President Gore at the time stated, “We will not submit this for ratification until there`s meaningful participation by key developing nations.”

Traub mysteriously chose not to share those inconvenient truths with his readers as he gushed over Gore like a teenaged-girl next to a rock star.

Yet, there was still more:

Gore’s advisers in the 2000 campaign worried that he would commit political suicide by global warming. The issue had advanced far enough in public consciousness that George W. Bush saw fit to endorse regulating carbon emissions (a position he promptly ignored once taking office). But it was still a net loser. Gore says he believes that he lost West Virginia, and possibly Kentucky, by calling for restrictions on coal-fired utilities. Gore could be excused a case of epic bitterness; but his total immersion in a cause he deeply believes in appears to have seen him through. The only what-if in which he indulged during our time together was to say, only half-jokingly, that if he had had the “presentation skills” he has since learned, “I think I’d be in my second term as president.”

How disgraceful and naïve of Traub. After all, if the desire to be president was more important to Gore in 2000 than holding to “a cause he deeply believes in,” then what won’t someone who is willing to sacrifice his own principles do for power and/or money? And, why should one believe that such an admitted charlatan has changed his stripes?

Furthermore, if this is all about “presentation skills,” doesn’t this prove that the message is irrelevant, and that the fluff and window dressing are the key? If this is indeed the case, is Traub suggesting that we should believe a snake oil salesman if he’s done a good job of putting lipstick on a pig?

Finally, Traub, like Gore and many of the global warming alarmists, completely misrepresented what is going on in the planet’s most-populated country:

China is rapidly gaining on the U.S. as the world’s leading source of greenhouse-gas emission, but Gore says he believes that the Chinese government is changing direction. He gave his slide show at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing and found “a high degree of receptivity” to his message. Scientists from China and other large developing nations recently signed off on an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report calling for the immediate imposition of a carbon-trading system or a carbon tax, and for a switch to lower-carbon fuels.

What a crock. As NewsBusters reported a few weeks ago concerning a piece done by NPR, nothing could be further from the truth:

Seventy percent of China's energy comes from coal, the dirtiest of all fuels to produce energy. Coal is literally powering China's seemingly unstoppable rise to superpower status, but not without costs to people and the environment.


China will build 500 coal-fired power plants in the next decade, at the rate of almost one a week. This massive appetite for coal means equally huge greenhouse gas emissions.


Beijing needs coal to fuel economic growth — and guarantee its very survival. Yet its coal habit means it will soon overtake the United States as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, some say as early as this year.

Alas, we shouldn’t be surprised that Traub conveniently ignored such truths, as his piece seemed to go out of its way to avoid facts in order to make Gore look “prophetic.”

How pathetic. 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.