Nets Champion Gore as 'Oscar-Winning Environmental Evangelist,' Tout Presidential Bid

CBS and ABC on Monday night celebrated the Academy Award for the documentary narrated by Al Gore and promoted the cause of those who hope he uses it as a “springboard” for a presidential run. For her lead, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric paired how the “Oscar win puts Al Gore's global warming message on center stage" with how “environmentalism may be reaching critical mass” as evidenced by how “the largest private equity buyout in corporate history” -- of the TXU utility -- shows that the “Wall Street mantra of 'greed is good' has been replaced by 'green is good.'” Gloria Borger Borger soon trumpeted how Gore is playing his Oscar “for all it's worth because now he's not just another defeated presidential candidate. He's an Oscar-winning environmental evangelist” and, she oozed, “on stage last night...Gore was on top of the world. Not only has he spread the word about global warming, he's helped change the political climate, too.”

ABC put “Gore's Moment” up on the screen graphic before reporter Bill Weir touted how “a bigger, looser Al Gore now roams red carpets in Ralph Lauren, gives Grammys to Red Hot Chili Peppers and has Oscar credibility" -- as if a bunch of Hollywood liberals awarding a liberal movie starring a liberal politician somehow gives that politician any more credibility.
Weir also championed how Gore's “global warming slide show has made $45 million and counting at the box office. Live versions sell out red state arenas faster than rock stars. And he's up for the Nobel Peace Prize. Which leads to the question, will he run again?"

The two broadcast networks are just following the lead of the Washington Post, which on Sunday's front page painted Gore as the “Coolest Vice President Ever.” The February 26 MRC CyberAlert recounted, in part:
The Washington Post awarded its Oscar early to former Vice President Al "The Goracle" Gore. "Al Gore, Rock Star," announced the headline under a Sunday front page picture of Gore on stage with Queen Latifah at the Grammy Awards. The tribute carried this breathless subhead: "Oscar Hopeful May Be America's Coolest Ex-Vice President Ever." Reporter William Booth soon gushed: "Incredible as it may seem, Al Gore is not only totally carbon neutral, but geek-chic cool. No velvet rope can stop him. He rolls with Diddy. He is on first-name basis, for real, with Ludacris." Booth showcased how Laurie David, a producer of the film featuring Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, championed him as "a super hero now" and Democratic consultant Matt Bennett got space to proclaim: "Look, this guy was a visionary. He was right about everything, even the stuff he was ridiculed for." The headline over the jump page, "'Truth': Renewable Energy and the Renewable Man."

Booth touted how the director of Gore's film, Davis Guggenheim trumpeted how "everywhere I go with him, they treat him like a rock star." Booth backed him up: "Guggenheim is not being hyperbolic. Take the Cannes Film Festival: Al Gore was mobbed. By French people. He was a presenter at the Grammy Awards, alongside Queen Latifah, where he got one of the biggest welcomes of the night. 'Wow....I think they love you, man. You hear that?' the current Queen asked the former veep."
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the February 25 CBS Evening News coverage:

Katie Couric's tease:
“Tonight big business and Hollywood both decide it is easy being green. The biggest corporate buyout in corporate history has Wall Street and environmentalists cheering while an Oscar win puts Al Gore's global warming message on center stage.”
Katie Couric led her newscast:
"Hello, everyone. Tonight there are signs in two arenas -- business and politics -- that environmentalism may be reaching critical mass. Today the largest private equity buyout in corporate history was announced by the most powerful players on Wall Street. Several firms have agreed to spend $45 billion to buy Texas electricity producer TXU. If this deal is any indication, it looks as if the Wall Street mantra of 'greed is good' has been replaced by 'green is good.' Here's Anthony Mason."
Anthony Mason: "In a stunning turnabout, the new buyers of TXU, the largest power provider in Texas, promised to take a company that had been the enemy of environmentalists and make it go green."

David Hawkins, Natural Resources Defense Council: "This is an earthquake that happened in Texas, but the shock wave is going to be felt from Wall Street to Washington."

Mason: "-because it signals a major shift in big business attitudes. The big money behind the deal was a consortium of the most powerful financiers in America. They pledge to cancel TXU's plans to build eight new coal-fired plants that would have generated tons of greenhouse gas emissions, reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent, and become the largest buyer of wind power in the country."

Bill Reilly, Texas Pacific Group: "Now, on virtually every front, we're moving to make this a clean, responsible, environmentally committed company."

Mason: "TXU is not alone. Florida Power and Light, Exelon in Chicago, PNM in New Mexico, and Duke Energy have all agreed to support global warming legislation. Last month, the CEOs of GE, Alcoa, and DuPont made the same public pledge."

Jim Rogers, Duke Energy: "The science of climate warming is clear. We know enough to act now. We must act now."

Mason: "More than half the electricity used in the U.S. is produced from coal, but coal has the highest uncontrolled carbon dioxide emission rate of any fuel, and is the largest source of global warming pollution in the country. TXU says it will invest $400 million to improve energy efficiency. It's the new bottom line: smart environmental choices equal good business."

Reilly: "In fact, we think that the environmental commitments will help make a success of the, of the business commitments, and it will be green in both senses of the word."

Mason: "This is a huge business deal, the largest private buyout ever. At the same time, the company is promising to cut rates by 10 percent for its more than two million customers."
Katie Couric then moved on to Al Gore:
"And if green is good for big business, it could be great for politicians. Now that Al Gore's documentary on global warming won an Oscar, a lot of people are wondering if he'll use it as a springboard for another presidential run. Our national political correspondent Gloria Borger is in Washington. Gloria, it looks as if the former Vice President is playing it coy, at least for now."

Gloria Borger: "That's right, Katie. He's clearly playing it for all it's worth because now he's not just another defeated presidential candidate. He's an Oscar-winning environmental evangelist. With questions about Al Gore's 2008 intentions still in the air, it was a moment just too good to pass up."

Al Gore at the Academy Awards: "I guess with a billion people watching, it's as good a time as any, so, my fellow Americans, I'm going to take this opportunity right here and now to formally announce my intention to-" [music cuts him off in planned comedy bit]

Borger: "The comedic timing was perfect, especially for someone always considered a bit stiff. But on stage last night, after winning for An Inconvenient Truth, Gore was on top of the world. Not only has he spread the word about global warming, he's helped change the political climate, too. Consider this from the 1992 campaign:"

George H.W. Bush, October 1992: "You know why I call him 'Ozone Man'? This guy is so far off in the environmental extreme, we'll be up to our necks in owls-"

Borger: "Back then, it wasn't easy being green. Now, 70 percent of the American public believes global warming is real. And the current President Bush is pushing hybrid cars. Need more evidence that climate change is now mainstream? Just today, the governors of five Western states pledged to reduce greenhouse gases, which they say cause record drought and fire seasons. As for Gore, the question in Washington is whether his Oscar win may tempt him to try again for the biggest prize. An advisor says Gore isn't thinking about it now."

Michael Feldman, Al Gore advisor: "He hasn't completely shut the door, but I don't see, I don't see anything more than that."

Borger: "But sources tell us to check back this fall, Katie, and see what happens."

Couric: "In other words, Gloria, he may wait around to see if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama falter, and if they do, step in?"

Borger: "Absolutely, Katie. He is in no rush. First of all, he can write himself a large personal check at this point. I was told today that he could raise $50 million very easily. He's a known quantity, and one more thing that appeals to these Democratic primary voters, Katie, he has been opposed to the war in Iraq."

ABC's World News with Charles Gibson:
Charles Gibson, with “Gore's Moment” on screen: “There has been a lot of speculation today about the political future of former Vice President Al Gore following his star turn at the Academy Awards last night. The documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which features Gore talking up the problem of global warming, won an Oscar. So does he want, now, to win something else? Here's ABC's Bill Weir.”

Bill Weir: “There is no comedy without pain, it is said.”

Al Gore on stage at the Academy Awards Sunday night: “I'm going to take this opportunity right now, to formally announce my intention-” [cut off by music as part of planned humorous bit]

Weir: “This laugh came six year after his most painful day in politics.”

Gore in December 2000: “I offer my concession.”

Weir: “A bigger, looser Al Gore now roams red carpets in Ralph Lauren, gives Grammys to Red Hot Chili Peppers and has Oscar credibility.”

Gore in An Inconvenient Truth: “That's global warming.”

Weir: “His global warming slide show has made $45 million and counting at the box office. Live versions sell out red state arenas faster than rock stars. And he's up for the Nobel Peace Prize. Which leads to the question, will he run again?”

Al Gore, at after-awards even: “You know, I don't have plans to do that. Don't have any intention of doing it. I am involved in trying to campaign in a different way to get people to see the reality of this crisis.”

Weir: “It is a frustrating response for his political fans, both online bloggers and one veteran of the Oval Office.”

Jimmy Carter on Sunday's This Week: “I've put so much pressure on Al to run that he's almost gotten aggravated with me.”

Weir: “Still, the Gore faithful hold out hope that all this pop culture love will nudge him into the race. And his former campaign manager believes he can still jump in after other Democrats have worn each other down.”

Donna Brazille: “There's an opportunity for Al Gore to get in the race. If one of the top tier candidates stumble and perhaps get out of the race.”

Weir: “And just in case, Republican strategists are sharpening their knives.”

Rich Galen: “It may be a one-trick pony, that global warming isn't enough, I don't think, to be elected President.”

Weir: “He will tackle other political issues in a new book, testify before Congress on global warming, and front a massive environmental concert this summer. So for now, it seems Al Gore is content to shape the debate far off the campaign trail.”

George Clooney, joking on stage at the Academy Awards: “I was backstage with Jack Nicholson and Vice President Gore drinking. I don't think he's running for President.”

Weir: “Bill Weir, ABC News, Los Angeles.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center