Media

Sawyer’s Interview Focuses On Media’s Obsessions With Gore, Reaffirms Thesis Of His Book

In his new book, The Assault on Reason, which will be released tomorrow, Al Gore explains “why logic and reason and the best evidence available and the scientific discoveries do not have more force in changing the way we all think about the reality we are now facing.” Gore explains that part of the explanation lies in how much television viewing time is devoted to coverage of “serial obsessions,” such as the Anna Nicole Smith and JonBenet Ramsey.

In her interview with Al Gore this morning, ABC’s Diane Sawyer displayed the media’s propensity to focus on their “serial obsessions” rather than substantive issues that currently affect the country.

Sawyer’s first question to Gore was “You’re not going to tell me again that you have no plans to run, are you?” Gore quickly disposed of the question, saying, “Well, I’m not a candidate and this book is not a political book, it’s not a candidate book at all.” That answer didn’t prevent Sawyer from re-asking the question three more times, consuming airtime that could instead have demonstrated how to raise the level of debate.

Some lowlights:

SAWYER: Again, not to come back to this and fall into your thesis that the press only wants the horserace of the political campaign, but one way…
GORE: But back to the horserace.

[…]

SAWYER: And what will it be that causes you to make that decision, if you’re waiting and watching?
GORE: Well, you know, I’m not pondering it, I’m not focused on that.

[…]

SAWYER: I just want to say, Donna Brazile, your former campaign manager, has said, If he drops 25 to 30 pounds he’s running. Lost any weight?

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/05/gorethesis.320.240.flv]

At the conclusion of the interview, Gore mocked Sawyer’s line of questioning. “Listen to your questions,” he said. “You know, the horserace, the cosmetic parts of this — and, look, that’s all understandable and natural. But while we’re focused on, you know, Britney and K-Fed and Anna Nicole Smith and all this stuff, meanwhile, very quietly, our country has been making some very serious mistakes that could be avoided if we, the people, including the news media, are involved in a full and vigorous discussion of what our choices are.”

Digg It!

Transcript:

SAWYER: Joining us now is the author of The Assault on Reason, former Vice President Al Gore. And it’s good to have you with us this morning.

GORE: Good morning.

SAWYER: OK, you’re not going to tell me again that you have no plans to run, are you? Tell me this morning…

GORE: Well, I’m not a candidate and this book is not a political book, it’s not a candidate book at all. It’s about the fact that there are cracks in the foundation of American democracy that have to be fixed.

[…]

SAWYER: Well, I want to come back to that thesis because part of it involves our jobs in television news, and I want to deal with that.
But nonetheless, Mr. Vice President, it’s going to be very hard for people to read this book and say this is not a political book, because this is a book that really does go to the current administration. And my question…

GORE: Just as one of many examples of how our conversation of democracy has turned toward these buzzwords and phrases, like the frame for the discussion, the logo Campaign ’08, that’s not what this is about. You know, for anybody who has asked the question, Has something gone wrong in our country? this book is about that. It’s about what’s gone wrong and how we can fix it.

[…]

SAWYER: Again, not to come back to this and fall into your thesis that the press only wants the horserace of the political campaign, but one way…

GORE: But back to the horserace.

SAWYER: … back to the horserace.

[…]

SAWYER: And I just wonder, when will you make a decision? And what will it be that causes you to make that decision, if you’re waiting and watching?

GORE: Well, you know, I’m not pondering it, I’m not focused on that.

[…]

SAWYER: We are going dig deeper — in fact, we’re going to come back with another piece, because I really want to talk more about this thesis.

GORE: Oh, great.

SAWYER: But to dig not very deep, once again, at my peril here…I just want to say, Donna Brazile, your former campaign manager, has said, If he drops 25 to 30 pounds he’s running. Lost any weight?

GORE: I think, you know, millions of Americans are in the same struggle I am on that one. But look — but listen to your questions. You know, the horserace, the cosmetic parts of this — and, look, that’s all understandable and natural. But while we’re focused on, you know, Britney and K-Fed and Anna Nicole Smith and all this stuff, meanwhile, very quietly, our country has been making some very serious mistakes that could be avoided if we, the people, including the news media, are involved in a full and vigorous discussion of what our choices are.

SAWYER: Former Vice President Al Gore.

Tags