Monday, February 4, 2013

Hardly shocking

Man Bites Dog. From Mr. Smash Goes to Washington.
From Karoli at Crooks & Liars:
If you're Al Gore and you own 20 percent of Current TV, and Current TV is sold to Al Jazeera, which is owned by Qatar's royal family, and Qatar's royal family also profits from oil trading, have you sold out the cause of global warming?

That's the question Howie Kurtz brought up on Reliable Sources this morning. I think it's a manufactured issue, but Dana Milbank begs to differ, saying "[H]e's been a big spokesman on global warming, a principled man and now he is this big, fat target." Continuing his rant, Milbank said Gore is "worth $300 million more than Mitt Romney and basically he's seen as a guy now who enriched himself, rather than advancing his cause --opening up to the criticism of people like this global warming denier."

The Blaze writer Amy Holmes was predictably banal in her response, claiming Gore has "been telling the rest of the world to, you know, restrain and constrain our spending while he personally is becoming a wealthier man through, you know, his attack on Mother Nature."
I don't think that Holmes is banal, I think she's a lunatic. When did Gore tell us to constrain our spending? When did he attack Mother Nature? Does she think it's patronizing or sexist to suggest that Mother Nature can't handle a few greenhouse gases on her own, is that it? No, I didn't think so either. She's making it up out of who knows what kind of fantasies. And that "restrain and constrain" is authentic Palinese.

Milbank is an extraordinary little bitch, there's no other way of putting it, if only for the repetition of metaphorical "big" and "fat" so he can middle-school taunt Gore without violating the Village Code. In the same way he and Kurtz manage to slime Gore without legally slandering him, by conversational indirection and the dextrous use of Cokie's Law.

Kurtz just asks if there's something wrong with being an advocate for the environment and selling a cable channel to the Emir of Qatar, but doesn't allege anything in particular. Gore, of course, publicly wishes people would use less hydrocarbon fuel, ostensibly in order to save our planet for future generations of humans and other animals, and plants too (but who knows what he's really after, bwahahaha?). The Emir makes money off of people using more hydrocarbons. Isn't it odd?

Milbank explains: what's wrong with it, actually, is that Gore has made himself a "target". He is now "open to criticism"—meaning, I suppose, that they're talking about it where Cokie Roberts has her hair done. Milbank is criticizing Gore not out of any idea that Gore has done something actually wrong but simply because criticizing him is possible. And fun, naturally, if you're Dana.
Bodhi, the debonair dog. From Daily Beast.
There is something rather bad that Gore might conceivably have done: he might have sold the channel to Al Jazeera in the full knowledge that Al Jazeera was going to use it to propagandize in favor of burning more carbon. Except, you know, that they don't. In fact Al Jazeera is notable for the high quality of its environmental coverage, far better than any US channel, and the Emirate aims to generate 16% of its electricity from solar power by 2018 (the US would be pleased to make 10% by 2025). And it was Qatar that sponsored last year's big climate change conference (though even when they're in New York Al Jazeera still gives them more air time than US network TV, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, or even C-Span).

Do Howard Kurtz and Dana Milbank ever ask about Fox News being owned by Rupert Murdoch, who is an owner of Genie Oil & Gas and American Shale Oil LLC (with Dick Cheney!)? Or how Fox Business News doesn't mention Murdoch's name when it is touting the Genie Venture?
Fox Business host Stuart Varney declared, "The next big oil power in the middle east, Israel? Can you believe that? Well, it may be the case because of shale oil. Israel's got a lot of it, and we're covering it."
And Murdoch has after all been running a criminal enterprise in England for years ("It's really chilling, though hardly shocking,"  said Kurtz, that NewsCorp was spying on the personal communications of Tom Watson, MP). And Fox News says that the global temperature basically hasn't changed since the Ice Age, etc., etc., openly encouraging people to stop worrying about it. Isn't Murdoch a "target"?
Kurtz boldly said, "The wording is too cryptic to know for what exactly he's apologizing."

Isn't Murdoch "open to criticism"? I guess he is. But then I guess if you accused Murdoch of advancing his financial interests through his control over the editorial operations of his newspapers and television stations that would be quite different from suggesting that Al Gore sold his business somehow corruptly. Saying such things about Murdoch would be "hardly shocking".
Dana Milbank calls Nico Pitney a dick. From Gawker.


  1. Al Gore is doomed to pay the price for being right about climate change--hardly anybody likes a smartypants in Village. I'm drawn to Amy Holmes' word salad, though. I've seen her before on Bill Maher's show and she rarely strikes me as an especially articulate spokesperson for RW causes, but seeing what she said in writing as opposed to hearing it makes me realize she's painting a picture for people who don't think in cause and effect terms--

    "The Blaze writer Amy Holmes was predictably banal in her response, claiming Gore has "been telling the rest of the world to, you know, restrain and constrain our spending while he personally is becoming a wealthier man through, you know, his attack on Mother Nature."

    She's doing a few things, here. The use of "retrain and contrain our spending" is a callback to President Carter's turned-down thermostat. She's recasting him as a nag, if not a scold. She's also making it appear as if he must be a hypocrite for becoming wealthy, as if there is no way to do that besides some form of exploitation. When we think about "wealth", we often do think about people who are oil or coal barons, etc--she is equating him with them on the basis of having acquired comparable wealth.

    They hav unfairly used a StrawGore as a distraction from what he's actually said and done. It's disgraceful, but unfortunately--effective. (I guess, hence, the "hardly shocking"--they are gross, but not stupid. Except they are stupid, also, too, climate change being real. And, for another thing, journalism --of the honest variety--being important )

  2. You're right about Holmes, that's brilliant. Karoli didn't notice that it didn't mean anything (why should she, that's *my* job) because the message is all in the connotation. And at that level yes, it is banal. Gore has been StrawGore forever. Remember Ozone Man in 1992? I used to be angry at him for 2000, for never mentioning the environment in the campaign, and for not at least insisting that he won the election as old whashisname did in Mexico, but now I'm forgiving. It's easy for people like you and me to be voices in the wilderness when we're actually in the wilderness, and in good company, but it's no joke to be literally without honor in your own country, especially knowing that he was the best of them, of the born villagers, all along.

    Speaking of wildernesses, thanks for the conversation! As always.