Gore Wins Thanks to Media's Fever Pitch on Global Warming

     Nobel Prize contenders aren’t supposed to campaign for the award. Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore didn’t need to because he had the media doing it for him for at least a year-and-a-half.

     Nobel Prize contenders aren’t supposed to campaign for the award. Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore didn’t need to because he had the media doing it for him for at least a year-and-a-half.


     The award he shared with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put Gore in the ranks of people like President Theodore Roosevelt, Mother Teresa, Lech Walesa and Martin Luther King. But none of them had the widespread media campaign Gore enjoyed – portraying him in almost messianic terms as an “evangelist,” a “preacher,” or a “prophet.”


     CBS correspondent Mark Phillips had called the award “the most coveted and prestigious in the world” during the October 9 “Evening News” and warned Gore of making any public statement about it. “The Nobel Prize workings may be a mystery, but the rules are clear,” Phillips said. “No campaigning. Al Gore is rumored to be a hot tip for this year’s peace prize for his environmental work. The worst thing he could do is say he wants it.”


     That didn’t matter. The media put Gore front and center on a seemingly endless stream of shows and networks – “Larry King,” the morning news shows, the nightly news programs and even “Saturday Night Live” and the Sci-Fi Channel. In just three months of summer of 2006, Gore and his movie had spent more than five hours and 38 minutes on national television. In 2007, eight networks under the umbrella of NBC set aside an incredible 93 hours to his “Live Earth” concert, including three hours in primetime on NBC.


     The media’s nearly two-year celebration of Gore’s movie included many working journalists. In one of the most memorable appearances, then “Today” host Katie Couric gushed over the former vice president more like a fan than a newswoman. “I think in this movie at different turns you’re funny, vulnerable, disarming, self-effacing and someone said after watching it quote, ‘if only he was like this before, maybe things would have turned out differently in 2000,” she said to Gore on the May 24, 2006 “Today.”


     In March of this year, Gore went to Capitol Hill to argue for increased global warming regulation, government control of light bulbs and billions of dollars in taxes and eco-spending. CBS reporter Gloria Borger praised him for the appearance. “Actually, he now has a pulpit. Gore is the nation's foremost environmental evangelist, and Preacher Al was here,” she told viewers.


     The night before the Nobel Prize was announced, NBC was almost giddy at the prospect of a Gore victory leading to his potential presidential candidacy. “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,’” according to a report from the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker.


Different Award, Same Page Out of the Playbook


    Gore’s positive media coverage certainly doesn’t begin with the release of his movie, but since that time, the media attention has been incredible. In the three months following its 2006 release, the newly crowned movie star was discussed on at least 99 television shows and had no less than 75 appearances or clips involving Gore.


     The craze elevated him to the level of a pop culture icon by some estimates – being the subject of a “Saturday Night Live” skit, gushed over by Couric and the subject of wide ranging positive media coverage and magazine covers from Time to Entertainment Weekly.


     That sort of media attention has built into an avalanche of celebrity treatment.


     “By the end of this weekend, Al Gore will have completed what could be described as the Hollywood loop: He will have been to the Grammys, the Oscars and, on Sunday, the Emmys,” Ted Johnson of Variety wrote in their September 14 issue.


     And like many celebrities, akin to Paris Hilton’s June 28 appearance on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” King allowed Gore to use his show as a platform to trot out his talking points.


     He got the same media treatment leading up to his Oscar award.


     “And he's not an actor, or a singer,” ABC News correspondent Kate Snow said on the February 25 “Good Morning America.” “He's a former vice president on a mission to draw attention to global warming. And he has a lot of people buzzing, not just about whether the movie he stars in will win an Oscar tonight, but whether Al Gore could win an even bigger contest. It’s a good time to be Al Gore.”


     Snow compared his popularity to that of a “boy band,” but global-warming cheerleader Laurie David was the most star-struck during that “GMA” segment.

     “I was just at a party with him last night,” David said. “I got less time with him than anybody else. I couldn't get near the guy. He was being crushed by everybody. But you know what? He's our modern day Paul Revere. So I guess Paul revere is our modern-day rock star, it's Al Gore.” 


A Catapult to a Presidential Campaign?


     NBC’s “Today” co-host Meredith Vieira was relentless when she pled for Gore to run for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.


     “But if this is the number one moral issue and the president is the key player here, then why wouldn’t the man whose face – is the face of the issue be running for president?” Vieira asked on July 5, 2007. Gore insisted the “American people” were the key players, but Vieira continued to press the question. “But, the president sets the agenda,” Vieira interrupted.


     Even Time magazine seemed to be onboard in its May 16 issue, when editors “were dreaming up the perfect stealth candidate for 2008.”


     “In other words, you would want someone like Al Gore – the improbably charismatic, Academy Award–winning, Nobel Prize–nominated environmental prophet with an army of followers and huge reserves of political and cultural capital at his command,” Time’s Eric Pooley wrote.


     But more recently, The Independent (U.K.) suggested the award would launch Gore’s 2008 campaign – a move many on the left would like to see.


     “Al Gore never quite closed the door on running for president again and his many loyalists are now pinning their hopes on Norway's Nobel committee, in the belief that the prize must be his, this year of all years,” Leonard Doyle wrote in the October 12 issue of The Independent.  “The Nobel Prize will be announced on Friday in Oslo and for many, Mr Gore is head and shoulders above the other 181 candidates. The Nobel committee also has a reputation for making political choices. A peace prize may soon be added to the Emmy he won for his Current TV channel and the Oscar that was awarded last February for his call to arms on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth.”


     The Business & Media Institute has extensively analyzed the media’s coverage of global warming and showed Gore was just following a recent media tactic to claim the debate is over when the media have reported four separate changes in climate during the last 110 years in Fire & Ice. The report covers a hundred years of coverage of global warming. While journalists have warned of climate change for more than 100 years, the warnings switched from global cooling to warming to cooling and warming again.