Wolf Blitzer’s blog illustrates the importance of precision in media interviews.
In March 1999, Blitzer was interviewing then-Vice President Al Gore who was getting ready to run for President. Wolf asked a question every candidate should be prepared to answer. Essentially: What makes you qualified for President?
Gore rambled on for a while in politician-speak and then disastrously said:
“During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet…”
In fact, Gore DID take the lead while in the Senate in providing funding for organizations which eventually were heavily responsible for the development of the internet. But by leaving a few words out of his explanation, he seemed to take far more credit than any man is due. Gore presented a gift to his opponents. The Drudge Report for days ran a banner headline next to the Veep’s picture saying “I Invented the Internet.” Gore’s imprecision has been a godsend to comics for more than a decade.
Gore’s gaffe took what should have been a positive — his support for an organization which produced great technological advantages — and turned it into a huge minus. To make matters worse, Gore’s camp was slow to recognize the damage and backpedal. His in-artful words spread like wildfire — thanks largely to the internet, a technology, which, to be clear, he did NOT invent.
h/t: Blitzer’s Blog