Tonight's GOP presidential debate (hosted by The Washington Post and Bloomberg TV) is moderated by longtime PBS late-night host Charlie Rose. His show has been touted as a "national salon," but it's a very cozy place for liberal media elites. Conservatives are not regulars. The most frequent guests include his journalist buddy Al Hunt (with 79 appearances), who now works at Bloomberg, and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (74 appearances). Most of the GOP contenders have never been on Rose's PBS show. (Gingrich and Romney have. It's not shocking that the only one to appear in the last four years was Jon Huntsman, last December.)
Rose has been notoriously fawning with some major Democratic figures, including the Clintons, and perhaps most energetically with Al Gore. In a cozy 2007 interview taped inside a supportive liberal bubble at the 92nd Street Y in New York, Rose offered testimony of how correct Gore was on the issues and how graciously he accepted defeat in 2000 (apparently after the six-week marathon of legal battles). The experts Rose quoted on this matter were two liberal columnists from The Washington Post and a liberal venture capitalist:
CHARLIE ROSE: Welcome. Albert Gore. Nashville, Tennessee. Married to Tipper Gore. Four children, two grandchildren. Written two best-sellers. "Earth in Balance" and "An Inconvenient Truth." Filmmaker, best-selling author, speaker.
There's more. Here's what some people -- you think there is. Here's what some people have been saying. Richard Cohen: "Somebody ought to make a movie about Al Gore. I would call it 'An Uncomplaining Life.' The movie would be about a man who did not quit, who came out of -- came off the canvas after a painfully close election -- he won the popular vote after all -- who accepted defeat graciously and tried to unite the nation, who returned to the consuming passion of his early days, the environment, and spoke endlessly on the topic almost always for free. Who starred in a documentary based on his speech and who before a billion or so people won an Academy Award for his effort. This may or may not be a stepping stone to the presidency, but Gore gives us a lesson on how to live one's life. With an Oscar in his fist and triumph on his face, Al Gore is a man you can tell your kid about. That maybe is even better than being president." Richard Cohen.
There is more. There is Richard Branson: "I think Al Gore has almost single-handedly brought global warming to the forefront of the world."
E.J. Dionne, columnist. "Gore, to his credit, won't talk about Florida, but I will. Whatever flaws he has, Gore suffered through an extreme injustice with great dignity. His revenge is to have been right about a lot of things, right about the power of the Internet, right about global warming, and right about Iraq."
We will talk about all of that, but we will begin talking about "The Assault on Reason" by Al Gore, former vice president of the United States. Please welcome him to the 92nd Street Y.
AL GORE (to cheers and ongoing applause): Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Rose also honored his global-warming horror film/documentary:
ROSE: Let me just point out one thing, though -- "An Inconvenient Truth," a documentary, is one of the best-selling documentaries in the history of documentaries.
GORE: Thank you. [Applause]
ROSE: And it`s not about Anna Nicole Smith. It`s not about Britney Spears. It`s about the challenge to the planet.
ROSE: So that says something.
This prompted Gore to begin his narrative about how "reason and logic and knowledge" suffered as we voted on war in Iraq, and he asked "Why is the Senate silent, ominously silent? Why is there no effort to lay out the pros and cons of this war? Why?" He then sent the praise back in Rose’s direction:
ROSE: But I had one person after another come to my program and say this is an unwise thing to do, to go to Iraq.
GORE: Your program is an oasis, Charlie, and it is -- it stands out for that reason.
Rose concluded with one last moment of fawning, reading Gore's own book back to him and the audience, underlining his idealism:
ROSE: I get the last word. "This book is dedicated to my father, Senator Albert Gore Sr., 1907-1998, who had a remarkable influence on his son and his daughters. The rebirth of democracy is a conclusion" -- I quote the last -- the first paragraph of conclusion -- "Almost 3,000 years ago, Solomon warned that where there is no vision, the people perish. But surely, the converse is also true. Where there is leadership with vision and moral courage, the people will flourish and redeem Lincoln's prophecy at Gettysburg, that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the Earth." Our thanks to former Vice President Albert Gore. Thank you.
How perfectly PBS it was. Rose is a very polite host who doesn't usually offer windy questions. He's more likely to just set the table and let liberals talk.
In a 2003 interview with Hillary, as we noted in our Hillary book "Whitewash," Charlie Rose waxed about her personal growth, as if Hillary emerged a beautiful butterly from the chrysalis of the Clinton White House: "But you made a decision, bcause of your affection, love for him, to go to Arkansas, where he wanted to pursue his dream," he cooed. "You gave up some inedpendence because there was a higher value...Now here, in a sense, it's come full circle for you...It seems to be the emerged to me of a new independence for you since you're on your own."
Here's the Charlie Rose file at NewsBusters.