Former veep Al Gore continues to get slavishly great press (the kind a Republican could only get by switching parties à la Jim Jeffords), this time for a speech he gave in Scotland claiming that "democracy is under attack" from media consolidation. I'm doubtful that he mentioned similar dangers from ultrarich leftists like George Soros trying to buy their own governments in various countries.
The first few grafs from AP reporter Jill Lawless are relatively straightforward (minus the fact that she did not ask other media thinkers to counter Gore):
"Democracy is under attack," Gore told an audience at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. "Democracy as a system for self-governance is facing more serious challenges now than it has faced for a long time.
"Democracy is a conversation, and the most important role of the media is to facilitate that conversation of democracy. Now the conversation is more controlled, it is more centralized."
He said that in many countries, media control was being consolidated in the hands of a few businesspeople or politicians.
Gore said in Italy much of the media is owned by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin has stifled dissent on television, and in South Africa, Gore said, dissent "is disappearing, and free expression is under attack."
In the United States "the only thing that matters in American politics now is having enough money to put 30-second commercials on the air often enough to convince the voters to elect you or re-elect you," he said. "The person who has the most money to run the most ads usually wins."
Later in the story, though, Lawless's article turns into a Gore press release:
Gore lost the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush in disputed circumstances. Current TV was launched last year amid much skepticism, but anticipated the tide of user-generated content now sweeping the media world.
His long-standing warnings about the threat from global warming have reached a mass audience thanks to "An Inconvenient Truth," a slick, stark movie that has become one of the most successful documentaries in U.S. history.
Gore's renewed popularity, and his high-profile book and movie tours across the United States, have spurred speculation of a White House run in 2008. He denied it again Sunday.
At the end is the trademark Gore insanity, asserting that media consolidation is all a grand conspiracy of polluters. As you might expect, Lawless provides zero skepticism for the nutty Gore pronouncement, ending the story like this:
Gore said there was a link between control of the media and a lack of political action to control climate change.
"Questions of fact that are threatening to wealth and power become questions of power," he said. "And so the scientific evidence on global warming - an inconvenient truth for the largest polluters - becomes a question of power, and so they try to censor the information."