A throw away line in a “both sides do it” article from Dave Helling in the Kansas City Star:
….Republicans also point to Hillary Clinton’s statements about her role in the killings in Benghazi, her emails or Al Gore’s claims about his involvement in the early Internet as evidence that Democratic candidates routinely lie and exaggerate too….
Really, citing republican political spin as evidence?
This is what then Vice President Al Gore (D) actually said about the Internet in 1999:
Transcript: Vice President Gore on CNN’s ‘Late Edition’
March 9, 1999 Web posted at: 5:06 p.m. EST (2206 GMT)
[….] BLITZER: I want to get to some of the substance of domestic and international issues in a minute, but let’s just wrap up a little bit of the politics right now.
Why should Democrats, looking at the Democratic nomination process, support you instead of Bill Bradley, a friend of yours, a former colleague in the Senate? What do you have to bring to this that he doesn’t necessarily bring to this process?
GORE: Well, I will be offering — I’ll be offering my vision when my campaign begins. And it will be comprehensive and sweeping. And I hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I feel that it will be.
But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I’ve traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.
During a quarter century of public service, including most of it long before I came into my current job, I have worked to try to improve the quality of life in our country and in our world. And what I’ve seen during that experience is an emerging future that’s very exciting, about which I’m very optimistic, and toward which I want to lead. [….]
Over a year later:
Thursday, Oct 5, 2000 02:33 PM CDT
Did Gore invent the Internet?
Actually, the vice president never claimed to have done so — but he did help the Net along. Some people would rather forget that.
….It took social engineers as well as software engineers to build the Net. And that may be why the response to Gore’s original statement was so savage: Not because his claim was a lie, but because it was a truth that a lot of people today are trying to forget or bury….
From The Internets Gods (in 2000):
Al Gore and the Internet
By Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf
Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.
No one person or even small group of persons exclusively “invented” the Internet. It is the result of many years of ongoing collaboration among people in government and the university community. But as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore’s contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time.
Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: “During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” We don’t think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he “invented” the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore’s initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.
As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship. Though easily forgotten, now, at the time this was an unproven and controversial concept. Our work on the Internet started in 1973 and was based on even earlier work that took place in the mid-late 1960s. But the Internet, as we know it today, was not deployed until 1983. When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises.
As a Senator in the 1980s Gore urged government agencies to consolidate what at the time were several dozen different and unconnected networks into an “Interagency Network.” Working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush’s administrations, Gore secured the passage of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act in 1991. This “Gore Act” supported the National Research and Education Network (NREN) initiative that became one of the major vehicles for the spread of the Internet beyond the field of computer science.
As Vice President Gore promoted building the Internet both up and out, as well as releasing the Internet from the control of the government agencies that spawned it. He served as the major administration proponent for continued investment in advanced computing and networking and private sector initiatives such as Net Day. He was and is a strong proponent of extending access to the network to schools and libraries. Today, approximately 95% of our nation’s schools are on the Internet. Gore provided much-needed political support for the speedy privatization of the
Internet when the time arrived for it to become a commercially-driven operation.
There are many factors that have contributed to the Internet’s rapid growth since the later 1980s, not the least of which has been political support for its privatization and continued support for research in advanced networking technology. No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President. Gore has been a clear champion of this effort, both in the councils of government and with the public at large.
The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of the value of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.
So, a Libertarian (they don’t believe government does anything, even though it does) writer posted a story (you can look it up) and subsequently republican politicians and operatives spun the media to create a convenient narrative that our lazy old media bought hook, line and sinker in 2000. Dave Helling shows us that the zombie lie still lives today.
These things are easy enough to check out. We understand you can even use the Internet. It took us less than five minutes.
* In the interest of full disclosure, I was a delegate from Missouri for Al Gore at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. As if that makes any difference.