Disinventing Al Gore

Rafat Ali reports the reviews for Al Gore at We Media:

Gore’s A Blowhard: No, that’s not me saying but, but everyone I spoke to after his speech this morning said so…someone said that now we know he never won: he is boring as hell.
Here’s another one I heard: Gore to Web: TV rocks; Web to Gore: Drop Dead.
Plus his point about TV being the dominant medium for the next decade didn’t go down well with the converts here…

  • Brian

    The converts didn’t like that Gore said television would be the dominant medium, but that doesn’t mean he was wrong. Total dominance by online will come, but that day is still a ways off. Gore was the only one in the room today willing to admit that a transition step between total TV dominance and total web dominance is needed. His suggestion is that a more interactive television experience will help that transition. Current TV may not have gotten it exactly right, but Gore is trying something new, moving the ball forward. Perhaps the people in the room today were too far ahead on the spectrum to understand what the realistic next steps really are. Looking back in a few years, projects like Current TV will likely be thought of as the necessary transition step between mediums.

  • Dennis Mosher

    Earth to Gore: Get a job.

  • http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com JennyD

    There are some fairly decent writeups of what he said here at:

    http://mediacenter.blogs.com/morph/2005/10/al_gore_speaks.html

    http://mediacenter.blogs.com/morph/2005/10/more_al_gore.html

    http://mediacenter.blogs.com/morph/2005/10/the_good_old_da.html

    What’s not fully explained here is that he started the speech talking about his respect for the marketplace of ideas, which is fully support. But then he slowly wound around to saying that TV was the bomb,and the wave of the future. I think the TV News people liked it.

  • Dick

    The truth sometimes hurts, doesn’t it? It’s because of TV and the simpletons that watch it, derive their world picture from it – that allowed the present administration to rise to this pinnacle of distortion, the net will flush it ultimately? Personally I don’t need a pretty face, or an outwardly dynamic personality for a politician – I’m more concerned about his abilities to do the job. Anyone would think that the election process is a Mr World competition, how superficial and stupid can a nation be, heh? Now we have a Simian denialist in power seeking to bolster his position by appealing to the Blessed and the supremely patriotic – imbeciles who watch pox news – dumbed down by a piss poor educative system that barely teaches people how to speak properly and halts their grow by narrowing their breadth of vision thru tax bribery and media fakery. The power of the TV is huge and don’t forget it, come the next election just watch the spin ‘cos reading it after the fact on some blog is going to be really useful. What is needed is massive re-regulation of the Media – read propaganda machine – and perhaps then it’s power to corrupt will be diminished – until then we can only be bombarded by the same BS. Most people live in a stream of consciousness anyway, barely remembering if they wiped the last time they stood up – bunch of ignorant feeders sucking on the corporate nipple – you idiots,yes you, the idiot getting all upset right now. Gore has a lot of good things to say – if you can get over your ridalin deficiency. I’ll vote for him, that’s for sure.

  • Dick

    The truth sometimes hurts, doesn’t it? It’s because of TV and the simpletons that watch it, derive their world picture from it – that allowed the present administration to rise to this pinnacle of distortion, the net will flush it ultimately? Personally I don’t need a pretty face, or an outwardly dynamic personality for a politician – I’m more concerned about his abilities to do the job. Anyone would think that the election process is a Mr World competition, how superficial and stupid can a nation be, heh? Now we have a Simian denialist in power seeking to bolster his position by appealing to the Blessed and the supremely patriotic – imbeciles who watch pox news – dumbed down by a piss poor educative system that barely teaches people how to speak properly and halts their grow by narrowing their breadth of vision thru tax bribery and media fakery. The power of the TV is huge and don’t forget it, come the next election just watch the spin ‘cos reading it after the fact on some blog is going to be really useful. What is needed is massive re-regulation of the Media – read propaganda machine – and perhaps then it’s power to corrupt will be diminished – until then we can only be bombarded by the same BS. Most people live in a stream of consciousness anyway, barely remembering if they wiped the last time they stood up – bunch of ignorant feeders sucking on the corporate nipple – you idiots,yes you, the idiot getting all upset right now. Gore has a lot of good things to say – if you can get over your ridalin deficiency, maybe you’ll see that. I’ll vote for him, that’s for sure.

  • http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink Jay Rosen

    He isn’t a blowhard, it wasn’t boring (if you were willing to listen), he put a lot of thought into it, and his point about television was simply: hasn’t gone away. “Gore to Web: TV rocks; Web to Gore: Drop Dead” is amusing. But of course he didn’t say “TV rocks,” and he wasn’t enthusiastic in the least about the continuing power of television.

    His most interesting point was the founders created democratic politics and public debate to separate wealth from power– so the rich couldn’t run the country. But expensive, one-way, one-to-many commercial television undoes that.

    People at conferences like to skim, surf and sample. When a speaker asks them to pay attention and go a little deeper they call him boring.

  • Ravo

    dumbed down by a piss poor educative system that barely teaches people how to speak properly

    …..why, that’s a liberal thang….

  • jcrue

    who is Al Gore?

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    Gore’s whole speech is here.

    http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/10/06/D8D2IU703.html

    The guy sounds like an escaped mental patient.

    “Television” is his Karl Rove plot theory to explain today’s foundering of the left. I guess.

    Someone needs to remind him that he invented the internet, the very antidote to his bogeyman.

  • http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com JennyD

    For the record, I am no fan of Al Gore. But I was there, and about half the speech was really terrific. It was thoughtful and smart, and actually right on the money.

    But then he veered off into some weirdness. Politics, to be expected. Also I quibble with his suggestion that the golden age of print in the early 1900s was as good as he says. And the TV thing is a little nuts.

    He’s actually a good speaker, and the marketplace of ideas is the driving force behind weblogs and their power. That was very compelling.

  • http://www.pjnet.org Leonard Witt

    I was at the We Media conference, and found Al Gore’s speech thoughtful and engaging. Maybe, though, some people equate thoughtful with boring. But that’s their problem.

  • Anna

    “Maybe, though, some people equate thoughtful with boring”

    maybe. Or maybe they equate “laying out the case for something I don’t want to believe” with boring (or tiresome)

    When you don’t like the message, criticize the delivery.

  • http://francispage.blogspot.com Chris Francis

    Interesting how he doesn’t mention blogs one bit… or their growing influence. As for CurrentTV, if it’s so great, why aren’t people tuning in, or calling their cable/sat systems to demand it?

    As much as Gore rips trash media — and he makes several valid points — it’s a demand driven business. We wouldn’t be seeing runaway bride and missing girl stories if people weren’t watching them. Telling media giants they need to grow up and put on smarter, more informative material isn’t going to cut it as long as we stuff our face full of junk food TV. The smartest news programs in the world aren’t going to help if people don’t watch them. FOX will always outrate PBS. People vote with the remote.

    Gore hints a solution is re-regulation — a la the Fairness Doctrine. Maybe he should re-read the First Amendment. Who defines fair? Is it five minutes of left-wing nutball lunacy to counter five minutes of right-wing crackpot blustering? I don’t want my government defining fair for me. I don’t want the feds breathing down my neck at work. The people I work with make it their job to be fair to people, and that’s a mark of professionalism, not the work of some helicopter fairness police. And as Gore points out the Bush administration manipulates the media for its own ends, I have no doubt some fairness doctrine will too become a weapon for future administrations as a tool of coersion and manipulation.

    It comes back to education. Gore’s right about the woeful state of this system. I’m constantly amazed at stories my teacher mother tells me of slacker students and the parents who raise them. Pay teachers more. Pay administrators less. Get rid of the g–damned levels of bureaucrats. Back up your faculty when they discipline pupils. Stop pushing Ritalin onto kids and start forcing parents to talk to these people they brought into the world. Stop buckling every time somebody waves a lawyer in your face. Maybe then our children will regain some respect for education and start caring a little more about these rights their great-great-great grandparents fought the redcoats for. I remember that old liberal saying that goes something like, “Wouldn’t it be great if schools got all the money they need and the Army had to hold a bake sale to buy a tank?” Yeah, that’s the extreme, but you get the idea.

  • whodat

    And Dick, you are obviously a product of that dumbed down system.

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    To Chris Francis,

    Schools are not underfunded, public education costs twice as much as private education.

    Decrepit buildings, torn books, and “underpaid” teachers are a sign of mismanagement, not a sign of underfunding.

  • http://francispage.blogspot.com Chris Francis

    To CaptiousNut,

    Read this line carefully again:
    “Pay teachers more. Pay administrators less.”

    I never said underfunding was the problem, even though I can understand that crack about the bake sale giving you that idea. And no, I’m not the kind of person who believes you can solve any problem by throwing money at it.

  • Matt Stoller

    This is probably the speech to which you are referring.

  • Ravo

    I went to Matt’s link, and had to stop at this point in the speech: – too nauseated to read more.

    As recently stated by Dan Rather – who was, of course, forced out of his anchor job after angering the White House – television news has been “dumbed down and tarted up.”

    THAT is how Gore sees that debacle?
    Talk about twisting the truth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    Sorry Chris, I read it too quick and was overly Captious.

    But on that note, it must be pointed out that many private school teachers earn far less than their public sector counterparts. Many of them accept this because of the better working conditions, more student dicipline, etc. My mother is one such teacher who has made this tradeoff.

    So raising public teacher pay must be coupled with other reforms. After all, they couldn’t pay me enough to be a prison guard and for some schools this is an apt metaphor.

  • http://spap-oop.blogspot.com Tish G

    Al’s speech was very interesting….although I think he neglected a point that he was, at one point headding towards:

    we have alot of knowledge. with all the media surrounding us, we attain information every day and expand our knowledge exponentially.

    yet knowledge doesn’t necessarily immediately impart reason. thinking and reason, the act of contemplation, takes time. in a soundbite society that requires us to process information within seconds and move on to the next thing, we have lost the ability to reason.

    to engage the faculty of reason, one must step back and think about what he/she has seen and heard. if one is constantly aggregating news, when does one have time to think about what one has consumed? there is no time, therefore all reactions are on the most simple and gut-level.

    when that is the case, there is only hyper-emotionalism that can be swayed by the next tragedy that tugs on its heartstrings. there is no reason because there is no conetmplation.

  • John F

    Al Gore’s comments need to be taken seriously: he was nearly and may yet be President, and he’s one of a very small number of combatants in the Democratic Party’s battle of ideas. Having said that, my takeaways from the prepared text of his speech are:

    1) The partisan haze through which Al Gore sees the world prevents him from understanding which media trends are evolutionary or otherwise. No serious observer of the media would deny that in Rush Limbaugh in his early days represented an evolutionary trend.

    2) His thinking is muddled when he tries to reconcile our fascination with bread and circuses with the notion that our democratic impulses are being held back by the media. This is a false and inessential choice: whether the most able and willing participants in a vigorous democracy are ill served by available media does not depend on how many are able and willing. Our Founding Fathers built a framework that would eventually accomodate universal suffrage and education, but in a time and place that had neither, to say the least. Gore seems unaware of this.

    3) Most importantly, he makes a grave error in judgement in deciding how to leverage his influence against the problem he seems intent on solving. The task of bringing access to the media to a broader range of people involves 2 dimensions: one I’ll call “depth,” namely the nature of our potential interactions, the other “breadth,” or quite simply the level, ease, and cost of access to individuals. Depth will “take care of itself:” talented people plus technology are rapidly achieving depth through a healthy and organic process of finding the best ways to interact given the tools available to them. My writing and your reading of this comment is a tiny part of this process; perhaps we’ll be doing this completely differently next year.

    Gore has no special talent to bring to bear on how we increase the depth of our interactions, nor should we expect him to. His TV network, an odd choice for him, will either be an early example of something that would have become pervasive without him, will become a sort of subsidized “vanity press,” or will disappear. On the other hand, our breadth of access, particularly broadband access, is a national embarassment. It is quite properly an issue for the political class to engage on, and should be a layup: a few infrastructure issues and some straightforward redistribution. Even libertarians are unlikely to get in the way.

    Asia is light years ahead of us in broadband, in speed as well as penetration. Asians are taught to observe closely, to listen before speaking, to learn before forming an opinion. We are taught to “share our feelings with the group,” that “we’re entitled to our opinion,” that what people (defined groups, especially) need is “a voice.” Thus a serious American political figure, chided for having claimed to invent the Internet, stakes his reputation on a cable TV show designed to showcase “alternative voices.” I wonder if they’ll have much to say.

  • Dexter Westbrook

    If you thought Al Gore’s speech was boring, try reading Earth in the Balance.