Al Gore is selling a new book. Most of the questions he gets are about how he sold his old TV network.
In case you missed it, Gore, who normally is in hot pursuit of anyone suspected of involvement in global warming, seemed to put aside his qualms in order to accept some cool cash. Gore and his partners sold their obscure “Current TV” network for a reported $500 million to Al Jazeera, the Arab news network owned by the oil-rich country Qatar.
Even Gore’s usual supporters found his willingness to sell out to new oil-stained owners as too slippery by half. Politico put together a nice selection of tough questions the former VP has fielded in the past couple days when he wanted to be talking about “The Future,” his new book.
So, how did he do in facing an onslaught of negative questions? We’ve seen worse — but we have seen a lot better – especially from a former Vice President.
It is clear that Gore anticipated the negative line of questioning. He starts out correctly by trying to appear reasonable by saying things like “I get it” and “I understand the concern.” But then he undercuts his understanding by laughing at the questions. Laughter is not a defense.
Gore sits too passively and lets his questioners drone on with their objections. A better approach would be to cut them off and re-define the question. E.G. “I get it. People are concerned about the appearance…but what they should know is that the country of Qatar is taking the lead in alternative fuel development….yada, yada…”
It is also seems that he has over-prepared for negative questions. When David Letterman starts to ask Gore what country is the home of al Jazeera, Gore quickly answers “Qatar.” Letterman starts to ask “And that is a…..” and Gore injects “gas and oil.” Huh? Gore knew where Letterman was going..but did his dirty work for him. He could have as easily said (instead of “gas and oil”) “Qatar is one of this country’s best allies in the Middle East and while much of its early wealth came from fossil fuels — just like the wealth of Texas — it has a thriving economy and has taken the lead in the region on renewable energy.” Instead — Gore cut to the negative chase.
We are not taking a position in 15-Secondsblog on whether or not it was hypocritical of Gore to sell out to the highest bidder – that is not the kind of blog this is. But IF you are in a position like Gore’s and want to defend your actions (and sell your book) — there are better ways to go about it – like practice for the tough questions.