All three broadcast network evening newscasts led Friday night by celebrating Al Gore's receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize, portraying it as “sweet vindication” for him while presuming his global warming views are beyond dispute and speculating about the “tantalizing prospect” of a presidential run. ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased: “Tonight, the man who almost won the White House did win the most-coveted award on the planet. So might Al Gore go back to politics?” Reporter David Wright trumpeted Gore's efforts “to call the world's attention to a problem that many would have preferred to ignore,” but Wright fretted that not all are aboard the Gore adulation bandwagon: “Even the Nobel Prize is not going to be enough to silence the naysayers, some of whom still believe that man is not responsible for global warming...”
CBS's Katie Couric wondered: “Will the former Vice President now go after the prize he lost, the biggest prize in American politics?” She touted him as “the first American Vice President to win this most prestigious award since Charles Dawes back in 1926.” Reporter John Blackstone hailed “a remarkable comeback for a man who seven years ago seemed all but finished with public life,” a comeback attributable to how Gore “traveled the world with a slide show talking about the reality of global warming.”
NBC anchor Brian Williams empathized with how “he never was awarded what he tried so hard to get and wanted so badly -- the American presidency -- but today former Vice President Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.” Anne Thompson stressed the “prize has done nothing to stop the speculation about Gore's political future.” She enthused that a presidential bid by Gore is “a tantalizing prospect,” though “few expect” it to happen. Thompson concluded by seeing complete vindication: “Gore's co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, left no doubt that man is responsible for global warming. The debate now is over how much the climate will change if nothing is done.”
Whether Gore will run for President is all that animates the press corps, CBS's Blackstone relayed: “When he briefly appeared before that crowd of reporters and cameras today, Gore refused to answer any questions. Of course, the only question reporters really wanted to ask is: 'Will you run for President?'” Setting up a conversation with George Stephanopoulos about Gore's political future, ABC's Gibson echoed: “Reporters were calling out asking whether he now plans to run for President.” Couric followed Blackstone by bringing Bob Schieffer aboard to discuss whether Gore will run. Schieffer and Stephanopoulos doubted it.
For a look at the contrary take on Gore's crusade which the news media prefer to ignore or denigrate, check a Friday posting by the MRC's CNSNews.com, “Gore Deserves Nobel Prize for Propaganda, Warming Skeptics Say,” which includes how a British judge recently identified nine factual errors in Gore's An Inconvenient Truth movie.
My Thursday night NewsBusters posting, “NBC Champions 'Global Force' Gore as Nation's 'Potential Savior,'” recounted how NBC got a jump start in the Gore adoration:
Three months after NBC promoted Al Gore's agenda by broadcasting more than 75 hours of his "Live Earth" concerts, Thursday's NBC Nightly News got the jump on the inevitable media excitement -- if Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize to be announced Friday -- by championing how that could launch a Gore presidential bid. Anchor Brian Williams cited "rumors today surrounding" Gore about the Nobel and pronounced "that an effort to draft him to run for President just might work."
Reporter David Gregory trumpeted how Gore has supposedly "become both a global force tackling climate change and a celebrated figure now in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize." Gregory highlighted the "Draft Gore" Web site and how "yesterday backers placed a full page ad in the New York Times." Bizarrely suggesting Republicans would vote for Gore, Gregory contended "Gore is seen by some as a potential savior in the '08 race with questions about frontrunner Hillary Clinton's electability and a GOP field leaving many Republicans dissatisfied." So, those who find Rudy Giuliani too liberal would prefer Gore? Gregory next featured Democratic strategist Steve McMahon praising Gore for how he "was right on just about every major issue, whether it was the war, the deficit or now global warming."
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide transcripts of the October 12 stories fawning over Gore on ABC and CBS, while I handled NBC:
ABC's World News:
CHARLES GIBSON, IN OPENING TEASER: Welcome to World News. Tonight, the man who almost won the White House did win the most-coveted award on the planet. So might Al Gore go back to politics?
GIBSON: Good evening. For a man who came so close to the presidency, it may be the ultimate consolation prize.
OLE DANBOLT MJOS, Nobel Prize Committee: And Albert Arnold Al Gore Jr., for their efforts-
GIBSON: In Oslo, Norway, the announcement that Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize, the highest recognition the world has to offer, for his efforts to spread awareness of global climate change. He shares the prize with the United Nations group dedicated to the same cause. And it immediately got people asking if this might revive Gore's political career. We're going to deal with that in a moment. But first, the prize, and we're joined by ABC's David Wright. David, good evening.
DAVID WRIGHT: Good evening, Charlie. A past Nobel Laureate once said the Nobel Prize gives one the opportunity to take public stands. In a way, Al Gore has already done that, helping to call the world's attention to a problem that many would have preferred to ignore. In Palo Alto today, the former Vice President was humble and brief.
AL GORE clip #1: I'm, of course, deeply honored to receive this award.
GORE clip #2: This is a chance to elevate global consciousness about the challenges that we face now.
WRIGHT: But the verdict from the Nobel committee must be sweet vindication.
MJOS: He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted.
WRIGHT: Gore shares the award with the intergovernmental panel on climate change, a UN group that has advocated on global warming for two decades. For Gore, the Nobel is the culmination of an extraordinary journey. He first became interested in global warming at Harvard in the mid-1960s. As a Congressman and a Senator, he championed the issue.
GORE, IN 1986: We have to begin to think about what we can do to mitigate the impact of the greenhouse effect.
WRIGHT: That was long before others were ready to listen.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, IN 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 neck in owls and out of work for every American. This guy's crazy!
WRIGHT: Over the years, Gore has tried everything possible to call attention to climate change.
GORE's VOICE IN FUTURAMA: I'm Al Gore, and these are my vice presidential action rangers.
WRIGHT: Even poking fun at himself to get the message home.
GORE, IN AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: -I used to be the next President of the United States of America.
WRIGHT: His PowerPoint presentation became a blockbuster movie.
JERRY SEINFELD, ANNOUNCING AWARD, AT OSCARS: An Inconvenient Truth.
WRIGHT: Winning the Oscar, and now this. Quite a consolation for the man who almost was President. President Bush has only recently come around to acknowledging the issue. Today, the President's congratulations had a grudging tone. "Obviously, it's an important recognition," a White House spokesman said. "We're sure the Vice President is thrilled." Even the Nobel Prize is not going to be enough to silence the naysayers, some of whom still believe that man is not responsible for global warming, and that the kinds of policies Gore advocates would seriously damage the economy. Now, Gore is donating his half of the $1.5 million prize money to a Palo Alto nonprofit that's dedicated to convincing people otherwise, Charlie.
GIBSON: David Wright reporting from Washington tonight. Thanks. Well, after Gore's statements today to the press, as he left the room, reporters were calling out asking whether he now plans to run for President. He didn't answer. I'm joined now by our chief Washington correspondent, George Stephanopoulos....
CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC, IN OPENING TEASER: Tonight, and the Nobel Peace Prize goes to Al Gore.
AL GORE: I'm, of course, deeply honored.
COURIC: Will the former Vice President now go after the prize he lost, the biggest prize in American politics?
COURIC: Good evening, everyone. A lot of people thought he'd win, and this time he did. Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize today for raising world awareness about climate change. He is, by the way, the first American Vice President to win this most prestigious award since Charles Dawes back in 1926. And it's raised speculation about whether Gore might jump into the presidential race. John Blackstone reports on Al Gore, the Nobel Laureate.
JOHN BLACKSTONE: Arriving at a meeting in Silicon Valley today, Al Gore got a winner's welcome-
AL GORE: I'll be back out in just a moment, okay?
BLACKSTONE: -with well wishers and a crush of cameras. He'd been up for much of the night. It was 2:00 in the morning California time when the announcement came.
OLE DANBOLT MJOS, NOBEL PRIZE COMMITTEE: The Nobel Peace Prize for 2007-
BLACKSTONE: There would be two winners, the committee decided -- a United Nations panel of climate scientists and-
MJOS: Albert Arnold Al Gore, Jr.-
BLACKSTONE: While the Nobel committee singled him out, Gore insisted today he is one of many.
GORE: I will accept this award on behalf of all of those who have been working so long and so hard to try to get the message out about this planetary emergency.
BLACKSTONE: Gore says he'll give the prize money to his foundation, the Alliance for Climate Protection. But the prestige is all his -- a remarkable comeback for a man who seven years ago seemed all but finished with public life. After his narrow defeat in 2000, Gore grew a beard, became a visiting professor at Columbia, started an investment fund and a cable TV channel. But all the while, he was traveling the world with a slide show talking about the reality of global warming.
GORE, IN AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: Isn't there a disagreement among scientists about whether the problem is real or not? Actually, not really.
BLACKSTONE: Then, in 2005, that slide show was made into a movie: An Inconvenient Truth. Gore was again the professor, but he made a complicated and controversial issue understandable. The documentary was a commercial and critical success, winning an Academy Award.
GORE, AT OSCARS: My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis.
BLACKSTONE: The film and the Oscar started many Gore supporters dreaming about another run for President. Now, a newspaper ad is pushing to draft Gore, and the Web site DraftGore.com has a petition that so far has collected 189,000 signatures. An Associated Press poll last week showed Gore is in third place among Democrats without even being a candidate. The Nobel Prize is only adding to the pressure and speculation, speculation that the Democratic frontrunner was reluctant to comment on today.
HILLARY CLINTON: Today's a day to celebrate his Nobel Peace Prize, and I have the highest regard for him-
BLACKSTONE: When he briefly appeared before that crowd of reporters and cameras today, Gore refused to answer any questions. Of course, the only question reporters really wanted to ask is "Will you run for President?" And that's a question for now he seems unwilling to answer. John Blackstone, CBS News, Palo Alto, California.
NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Good evening. He never was awarded what he tried so hard to get and wanted so badly -- the American presidency -- but today former Vice President Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize was given out for Gore's efforts on the environment. It is his passion these days, has been for years. He made the documentary called An Inconvenient Truth and now some of Al Gore's backers see a case of convenient timing, perhaps, in today's news. We begin here tonight with our chief environmental affairs correspondent, Anne Thompson. Anne, good evening.
THOMPSON, IN BOURNEDALE, MA: Good evening, Brian. The Nobel committee hailed Al Gore as the one person who has done the most to make the world aware of what needs to be done to stop climate change, but the prize has done nothing to stop the speculation about Gore's political future. With the world watching, today Al Gore stayed on message.
AL GORE: This is a chance to elevate global consciousness about the challenge that we face now.
THOMPSON: His focus, global warming, pointing to this year's record melt at the North Pole as need to act, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that fuel man-made climate change. But Gore left unanswered the question of whether this would propel him to run for the White House again. A tantalizing prospect few expect to happen.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: If Gore got into the race in the next couple months he would immediately polarize the global warming issue and create a Democratic versus Republican atmosphere, and that isn't what he wants.
THOMPSON: Politics is Gore's profession, his passion is the environment. A product of the '60s, Gore was inspired by his professor at Harvard who identified the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. In Washington, Gore held the first congressional hearings on climate change. Republicans derided Gore as a prophet of doom when he was Bill Clinton's running mate in 1992.
PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH, OCTOBER 31, 1992: You could see tears coming down the fave of the Governor and the Ozone Man.
THOMPSON: As Vice President, Gore helped negotiate the Kyoto treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but neither the Clinton nor Bush administrations signed on. He made his mark as an environmental author.
GORE, IN AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: It is the most commonly published photograph in all of history.
THOMPSON: But it was in a most unlikely role, as film star of the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, that Gore earned an Oscar.
MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Al Gore has been able to put in plain language what scientists have been saying for decades.
THOMPSON: And got attention environmental groups could only dream of.
DAVID HAMILTON, SIERRA CLUB: I think every issue, you know, needs a communicator and needs someone to make it real for people. And I think Vice President Al Gore has provided this in a historic and transcendent way.
THOMPSON: Gore's co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, left no doubt that man is responsible for global warming. The debate now is over how much the climate will change if nothing is done. Brian.
WILLIAMS: Anne Thompson on our big environmental news today. Anne, thanks. Al Gore was, of course, hardly the first high profile person to take up this cause of climate change, but his arguments over the past couple years have people listening, and now, for so many Americans, going 'green' has become the thing to do. But will the trend last? Here is NBC's Lee Cowan....