Brendan Nyhan, a liberal blogger who was involved with the admirable www.spinsanity.org website, takes a quick look at a recent speech by Al Gore. He points out that Gore takes arguably fair arguments against the Bush administration (in this case, on its dealings with the press) and stretches them beyond where the facts will take them. Here's Nyhan: "There's no evidence that the White House 'placed' Jeff Gannon/Guckert in the White House press poolthey merely approved his credential. The journalists they allegedly paid for positive stories were actually pundits (Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher), not 'reporters.' And the claim that 'every day they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the president' is also unsubstantiatedthe administration certainly pushes back against press coverage it doesn't like, but what evidence exists that they 'unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts' against journalists each day?"
This tendency to stretch truth into falsehood eventually got Gore into trouble in the 2000 campaign and, as Nyhan points out, he continues to do the same today. As one of the 648 registered Democrats who voted for Gore in the 1988 District of Columbia presidential primary, I'm sad to see him at this again; it seems to be a character flaw in a man who is entitled to claim that he has made many constructive contributions to public policy over many years. I continue to admire Brendan Nyhan, with whom I once had a constructive E-mail correspondence, as a liberal who places honesty and accuracy ahead of scoring partisan points.