Shouldn't Al Gore Know That Everyone Is A Journalist These Days?

from the ban-everyone! dept

Al Gore, who, last we checked had founded a “citizen journalism”-based TV channel and internet site, has apparently told the RSA conference that one of the terms of his keynote speech at the event is that no press are allowed (and no photographs or audio or video recording either). That may have made sense years ago, but in this day and age, where everyone is a “reporter” and everyone has an outlet, it seems rather ridiculous to even think that you can ban “press,” let alone make it a clause in a speaking agreement. Last year, the same event drew 17,000 people. You have to figure that a decent number of them have blogs, social networking pages, Twitter accounts and whatnot — and a very high percentage probably have mobile phones with cameras on them as well (and, of course, it doesn’t hurt that CNET appears to be offering to give people a free fleece for taping the event). Sorry, Mr. Vice President, even if you ban them, the press will be attending your talk.

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Comments on “Shouldn't Al Gore Know That Everyone Is A Journalist These Days?”

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Charming Charlie says:

I’m not sure the basis of the original article, or this techdirt post which essentially regurgitates it, is in the right place. They both seem to assume Gore doesn’t believe the content of his speech will be repeated outside the doors of the room. Until he’s quoted as saying that, I can very easily imagine his ban of the mainstream press is just that, a ban of the mainstream press. Perhaps Gore, since he owns a citizen journalism site, is seeking to buttress those citizen journalism efforts by demonstrating that content can make it out into the world accurately through decentralized means.

Maybe it’s an experiment where he’s hoping the evidence is that it creates better news (since the paying attendees will be favorable to his message), or grassroots buzz that too much publicity can sour. I for one, as irrational as it is, don’t when my favorite indy groups start being listened to more wildly. I would imagine being a Gore supporter could break down along the same lines, where corporate or media support is damning.

Finally, just to get to the nitty gritty of the situation, I don’t see how it’s so impossible to stop recordings of his speech from being made. I suppose with some expensive CIA mics an audience member could record an audio log, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that kind of technology is prohibitively expensive for the average person who would put a speech on the internet; especially one with the technological savvy or connections to disseminate it. Anyone whipping out a digicam to film the speech could be caught by an usher. Really I don’t think the interwebz have so permeated our lives that its absurd to think you can’t go in a room, close the door, and talk to 17,000 people without ending up on youtube. No bionic eyes, no inter-cranial data arrays.
So, who said he thinks he’s banning all recordings of the speech? And even if that’s his goal, is it really so ridiculous to think he can achieve it?

nipseyrussell says:

to buiild on what charming charlie (#8) siad: did anyone think that he wants to maximize the number of “citizens” in the room and doenst want it ti be a press event with a bunch of cameras clicking and seats occupied by reporters? by making this a non-press event its a much more informal relaxed situation for presenter and audience. sheesh, anyone who thinks that his content wont get out is a bigger idiot than they think he is.
additionally @ JS Beckerist (#6) what is meant by “I can’t stand the guy. I think he’s worse than a whistle blower” – whistle blowers are bad??? yep, screw the pentagon papers, i’d rather live in ignorance

sonofdot says:

Now that's funny!

Shouldn’t Al Gore Know That Everyone Is A Journalist These Days?

I guess that depends on how you define “journalist,” but for most of us with functioning brain cells, the answer is “no.” Simply put, very, very few of those you’re lumping in the group “journalists” qualify for even the loosest definition of the word. They’re just people with an opinion, many with an axe to grind. Often, this includes those writing for TechDirt.

emanon says:

Did anyone think to ask him or his handlers why the press was not allowed?

The range of speculation here is interesting, if implausable. How about this: Gore had the shit kicked out him by the mainstream press during the 2000 election cycle; Bush got a free pass. Journalism wonks will know where to go to research this, or take a look at last November’s “Vanity Fair” for a 2000 election coverage review.

By the way, Gore never actually said he invented the internet.

erik9000 (user link) says:

************ NOTICE ************

This blog and relate reader comments may contain information that is privileged, confidential, and/or exempt from disclosure by request of Al Gore. If the reader of this blog is not the intended recipient per Al Gore, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copy of this content is strictly prohibited per Al Gore. If you read this in error, please notify Al Gore and destroy your computer and any connected Internet equipment that Al Gore invented.

BlowURmindBowel says:

I admit, Al Gore has gotten a little odd since winning the election in 2000… (yeah, deal with it)

But I honestly don’t understand why so many loudmouths seem to hate him now, I have followed his career fairly closely since 2000 and see no reason to dislike him… Unless you are a right-wing blowhard, a person who hopes to spread disinformation about how global warming isn’t true or at least isn’t our fault, or generally just another ‘angry dude’ who isn’t happy unless he is being a douce-bag all over an otherwise intelligent conversation…

Jason Still (profile) says:

Re: Re:

a person who hopes to spread disinformation about how global warming isn’t true or at least isn’t our fault

I hate the generic “global warming” term because, in fact, that isn’t our fault. There’s significant scientific evidence showing that the earth warmed and cooled many times before we showed up and started taking stuff out of the earth and putting it into the air.

Have we accelerated this latest round of warming? Most likely. Are we going to cause it to spiral out of control and turn the whole planet into a toasty barren wasteland? Quite possibly. Will it happen before we manage to destroy ourselves through some other means? I doubt it. 🙁

Pope Ratzo says:

just as it seems

I think VP Gore will accomplish exactly what he means to by doing this. I believe Gore trusts the bloggers, the “citizen journalists”, the geeks with Myspace pages a lot more than he trusts the supposed “professional” journalists that set out to destroy his candidacy in 2000 by allowing the Religious Right to set the agenda and to propagate its talking points throughout the campaign.

By focusing on his “inventing the internet” (which he never said) or his “earth tones” (which was more bullshit), etc., instead of looking honestly at the kind of recycled Nixonian criminals that were making every effort to steal the 2000 election (and eventually, with teh help of the Supreme Court, did just that), the “professional media” showed themselves to be the tools of authoritarian corporatism.

I don’t blame him one bit. Gore is a lot smarter than people give him credit for and he’s certainly savvy regarding the “new media”. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He intends to keep the mainstream press out while knowing that the bloggers will certainly get in.

Ankit says:

Re: just as it seems (Reply to #20)

“I don’t blame him one bit. Gore is a lot smarter than people give him credit for and he’s certainly savvy regarding the “new media”. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He intends to keep the mainstream press out while knowing that the bloggers will certainly get in.” -Pope Ratzo

Your whole post is made of win. I can’t expand on any of your ideas.

However, this article is disturbing. This is the type of stuff the MAINSTREAM MEDIA does. The mainstream media are the ones who should be putting in their own biased opinions and skewing the truth. Why the hell is the internet doing this now? I’ve noticed in the past few weeks that the internet is getting to be just as bad as the mainstream media.

Can we truly not rely on any news anymore?

Jack Stahl says:


First of all, kudos to #8 for calling Techdirt on regurgitating the CNet article.

Second, many people here have made the excellent point that Al Gore is probably well aware that banning press won’t mean no one will find out what he says.

But I disagree with the notion that he “trusts” citizen journalists so much more than the press. The reality is that while the mainstream media / press often does suck, its not like the blogosphere gives a perfect portrait of the world, either. I don’t think, and I think it’s unfair to assume Al Gore thinks, that the world would be a better place if all of the sudden institutions like the New York Times disappeared and instead everyone only read what DailyKos and TechCrunch, etc. had to say. They complement each other. They don’t replace each other.

On the other hand, one poster mentioned that banning press makes it less of a photo-op and reporting dream and more of an actual talk. I’m sure that Al Gore has no problem with people finding out what it is he has to say; he just doesn’t want to have to deal with being in the public image. And to suggest that some how Flickr photos and Twitter streams constitute the same level of coverage, pressure, and publicity as newspaper articles is absurd.

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