ABC, CBS Ignore Drug Angle of Gore Son; Stephanopoulos Gushes Over Novel

Kristin Gore, daughter of former Vice President Al Gore and author of a new political satire set in Washington, appeared on the Tuesday editions of "Good Morning America" and "The Early Show." Both shows only gingerly addressed the subject of Kristin’s brother, Albert Gore III., and his arrest for marijuana and prescription-drug possession after being pulled over last week in California. GMA guest host George Stephanopoulos misleadingly characterized the incident as getting "in trouble speeding." "Early Show" host Harry Smith didn’t mention the drug angle at all.

Stephanopoulos, a former top Clinton aide who worked in the same White House as Al Gore, conducted an extraordinarily cozy interview with the former Vice President’s daughter. Apparently completely oblivious to any conflict of interest, he hyped "Sammy’s House," calling it "very funny." The ABC anchor even joked with Kristin Gore about whether the main character, Sammy Joyce, was based on him:

Kristin Gore: "Have you recognized yourself yet? ‘Cause I should come clean and let you know you’re Sammy."

George Stephanopoulos: "I think you might have made me a woman. Yeah. [Laughs]"

Gore: "You’re Sammy. You’re the main character. And I took some liberties."

Stephanopoulos: "Well, the screwing up part, you got that right."

Gore: "But you’re the title character. So, I’m glad I was able to tell you."

It was up to the ex-Vice President’s daughter to point out the insular relationship between her family and the fill-in GMA host. After noting that she used to visit the White House regularly, Gore added, "You spent a lot of time there too." Stephanopoulos didn’t respond to such comments. Instead, he gushed over the novelist:

Stephanopoulos: "If I was pitching this in Hollywood, and I’ve read most of the book, I would say it’s ‘Bridget Jones’ meets ‘Primary Colors.’"

Gore: "Interesting. All right. I might use that line."

(The circular relationships continued later in the interview and concluded with a belated ABC graphic that appeared at the end of the segment. It explained that Gore’s novel was published by Hyperion, which, along with ABC, the network that broadcasts "Good Morning America," is owned by Disney.)

As noted earlier, Stephanopoulos only lightly broached the subject of Albert Gore III’s arrest for speeding, ignoring the drug possession:

Stephanopoulos: "It seems like a lot of this is happening all at once for your family. Your dad is doing a concert. You’re promoting this book and your brother Al last week gets in trouble speeding. Do you think it was especially difficult for him now given everything else that was going on?"

Gore: "I love him more than anything and I’m not going to really talk any-- or speculate about him other than that because, as you can imagine, we’re dealing with it privately. You know, it’s not something to go into on national television. But he’s doing okay."

Over on CBS and "The Early Show," Harry Smith didn't even mention the speeding:

Harry Smith: "I have a very serious question because when your brother was arrested, I think a lot of people around the country just felt great concern for your family. How's he doing?"

 

Gore: "He's doing okay. Thank you for the question. And I appreciate the concern. I love him, you know, more than anything. He's getting treatment. He's going to be okay."

By way of comparison, Jenna Bush, daughter of President George W. Bush, has a book debuting in October. It will be interesting to see if the media shows such restraint and respect over her past indiscretions.

A transcript of the "Good Morning America" segment, which aired at 8:43am on July10, follows:

George Stephanopoulos: "A book about Washington politics and health care policy sounds a lot like home work, I know. But not if the writer is Kristin Gore. She’s the daughter of Vice President Al Gore, of course, and her new book, ‘Sammy’s House,’ is really funny. It’s an insiders look at the corridors of power. Kristin knows her way around the White House. She knows her way around Washington and she stopped by here yesterday. [pre recorded interview begins.] Okay, so the first rule of writing is write what you know. And one thing that’s clear in ‘Sammy’s House’ is that this is a world you know."

Kristin Gore: "It’s true. I grew up, I didn’t really have any choice, really. You know, my dad was elected to Congress the first couple months before I was born. And then, obviously we spent a lot of time in the White House, eight years. You spent a lot of time there too. So, I wanted to show readers what it was like to be plopped down in that, in a fictional, fun way."

Stephanopoulos: "If I was pitching this in Hollywood, and I’ve read most of the book, I would say it’s ‘Bridget Jones’ meets ‘Primary Colors.’"

Gore: "Interesting. All right. I might use that line."

Stephanopoulos: "But Sammy Joyce does have a ‘Bridget Jones’ quality. She’s very smart, very idealistic, but also she screws up a lot."

Gore: "Right. She’s messy. She’s clumsy. You know, like a lot of people, she’s good at what she does, but doesn’t have the rest of her life together."

Stephanopoulos: "I think a lot of people are going to be going through this and looking for, okay, who’s real here? Who’s this based on? And there are people, you can look at one of the characters and say there’s some Bill Clinton there. There’s some George W. Bush there. There’s even-- The Vice President often sounds an awful lot like Al Gore."

Gore: "That’s funny. Have you recognized yourself yet? ‘Cause I should come clean and let you know you’re Sammy."

Stephanopoulos: "I think you might have made me a woman. Yeah. [Laughs]"

Gore: "You’re Sammy. You’re the main character. And I took some liberties."

Stephanopoulos: "Well, the screwing up part, you got that right."

Gore: "But you’re the title character. So, I’m glad I was able to tell you."

Stephanopoulos: "I am flattered. I want to get some of the royalties when the movie comes out."

Gore: "Sure. We’ll write you in there."

Stephanopoulos: "But, you know, your family did have a tough time in 2000 after the 2000 race and I was wondering how long it took you to find the funny in politics again?"

Gore: "Sure. Well, this book was actually a part of that for me, you know? It took a little bit of a distance and some perspective on that because it was a disillusioning time. But this helped me reconnect in a happy, fun way with a lot of the good in that world."

Stephanopoulos: "So how sick are you of people asking is your dad going to run for president?"

Gore: "I haven’t– No one’s asked me that. That never comes up. That’s amazing. You’re really on the cutting edge of the story. No, you know, it’s something that we’re used to hearing and the answer hasn’t changed. He’s not a candidate."

Stephanopoulos: "Do people lobby you?"

Gore: "They do. Yeah. They do. And I always appreciate, of course, where the sentiment is coming from, you know, but I don’t have a different answer for them."

Stephanopoulos: "Your dad seemed to be on top of the world last weekend at the Live Earth concert and I know that you went as well. But how do you respond to the critics who say there was an element of hypocrisy in the concerts? All of these rock stars flying private jets to give a concert about global warming."

Gore: "Right. Well, you know, you sort of, that comes with the territory in terms of what the cynics, the half glass [sic] empty sort of take on anything. The real point was to raise awareness. And there was so much hope and energy in the concerts that were really uplifting and I think are going to do a world of good for spreading the word and getting a good response to, kind of, really try to come together and solve this crisis that we need to."

Stephanopoulos: "It seems like a lot of this is happening all at once for your family. Your dad is doing a concert. You’re promoting this book and your brother Al last week gets in trouble speeding. Do you think it was especially difficult for him now given everything else that was going on?"

Gore: "I love him more than anything and I’m not going to really talk any-- or speculate about him other than that because, as you can imagine, we’re dealing with it privately. You know, it’s not something to go into on national television. But he’s doing okay."

Stephanopoulos: "So, what’ next for Sammy Joyce?"

ABC Graphic: "Sammy’s House’ is published by Hyperion. Hyperion and ABC are owned by Disney"

Gore: "Well, I’m really happy with where I left her at the end of this book. And so, I think, you know, I’m working on the screenplay version of the first one and so she’ll be coming to the big screen, but I think this is it for her in terms of her novel life."

Stephanopoulos: "Kristin, thanks very much."

Gore: "Thank you."

Stephanopoulos: "It is not it for Kristin Gore. You can read an excerpt from Sammy’s House on ABCNews.com."

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org