The "Invented Internet" Rumor
While campaigning against Al Gore during the 2000 presidential elections George Bush said,
"Yes, [Gore] is so confident about his abilities he claimed he invented the Internet. But if he was so smart, how come all the Internet addresses start with W?" -October 28, 2000
Let’s skip the issue of whether or not the jab was funny. Was it fair?
His Actual Words Were Misquoted and Taken Out of Context
On 9 March 1999, Gore gave an interview for CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, in which he stated:
||During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system. 
This statement was often misquoted by media outlets and led to the creation of a widely spread urban legend that Gore claimed to have "invented the Internet."  The urban legend became "an automatic laugh. Jay Leno, David Letterman, or any other comedic talent can crack a joke about Al Gore 'inventing the Internet,' and the audience is likely to respond with howls of laughter."
In response to this controversy, Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn wrote a 29 September 2000 article (originally sent via email) which described Gore's contributions to the Internet since the 1970s, including his work on the Gore Bill:
||[A]s the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time. Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." We don't think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he "invented" the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore's initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.
UCLA professor of information studies, Philip E. Agre, argued (in October 2000) that this interview became the subject of ridicule due to the publication of three articles in Wired News.  Journalist Eric Boehlert also argued (in April 2006) for the role of Wired News in perpetuating this controversy. 
According to a 14 September 2000 article for CBS News, "Al Gore poked fun at himself and George W. Bush in an easygoing interview Thursday with David Letterman on CBS's Late Show."  He read Letterman's Top 10 List, which for this show was called: "Top Ten Rejected Gore - Lieberman Campaign Slogans." Number nine on the list was: "Remember, America, I gave you the Internet, and I can take it away!" 
The Arizona Republic criticized Gore for his grandeur. But surprisingly admitted, "In fact, as the chairman of a key science subcommittee in 1986, Gore did foster the creation of five supercomputer centers through the National Science Foundation that became the cornerstone of the Internet."
The Republic placed itself in the minority by reporting that what Gore had said was actually true. Most other media outlets downplayed or omitted Gore's actual accomplishments, choosing instead to use the quote as an example of his apparent self-aggrandizing.
Al Gore. (2008, February 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:01, February 11, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Al_Gore&oldid=190292389
- "Transcript: Vice President Gore on CNN's 'Late Edition'", CNN, CNN, 09 March 1999. Retrieved on 2007-06-02.
- Wiggins, Richard. "Al Gore and the Creation of the Internet", firstmonday.org, firstmonday.org, October 2000. Retrieved on 2007-06-02.
- Kahn, Bob & Cerf, Vint (2000-09-29), Al Gore and the Internet, <http://amsterdam.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-0009/msg00311.html>. Retrieved on 2 June 2007
- Agre, Philip. "Who Invented "Invented"?:Tracing the Real Story of the "Al Gore Invented the Internet" Hoax", Red Rock Eater Digest, Red Rock Eater Digest, 17 October 2000. Retrieved on 2007-06-02.
- Finkelstein, Seth. "Al Gore "invented the Internet" - resources", 28 April 2006. Retrieved on 2007-06-02.
- Boehlert, Eric. "Wired Owes Al Gore an Apology", huffingtonpost.com, huffingtonpost.com, 28 April 2006. Retrieved on 2007-06-02.
- Boehlert, Eric. "Gore Does Dave", cbsnews.com, cbsnews.com, 14 September 2000. Retrieved on 2007-06-02.
- Kahn, Robert; Vint Cerf (2000-09-29). Al Gore and the Internet. Retrieved on 2007-06-02.
- Chapman, Gary & Rotenberg, Marc (1995), Johnson, Deborah G. & Nissanbaum, Helen, eds., Computers, Ethics, & Social Values, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, pp. The National Information Infrastructure:A Public Interest Opportunity: 628–644
- "Transcript: Vice President Gore on CNN's 'Late Edition'", CNN, CNN, 1999-03-09. Retrieved on 2007-06-02.
- "Albert Gore Jr.: Former Vice President of the United States", apple.com, apple.com, March 2003. Retrieved on 2007-06-02.
- Gore, Al. The Assault on Reason (New York: Penguin Press, 2007): 270
Add Your Comment:
You must be logged in to post a comment.