Monday, June 18, 2007

Victoria Newton: a staging post on the road to the White House

But for one vote on the Supreme Court, Al Gore would have been President. Instead, he's having to endure being interviewed by Victoria Newton. At great length, it must be said.

Yes, they've sent Victoria Newton to Istanbul to talk to the former Vice President.

On News 24's review of the papers yesterday evening, the guest reviewer suggested that the unlikely appearance of a long, rambling, pointless interview which "would bore the knickers off" the paper's readers was actually a signal of Murdoch accepting that the next resident of the White House might be a Democrat, and the delivery of a large interview with a senior figure is a signal of the business that they could do in the future.

Which is a fascinating idea. We presume sending the bumbling, starstruck Newton - a woman who can barely string together a thirty word nib on Beyonce's hair - was therefore a warning of what will happen if the Democrats don't accept the rapprochment.

Clearly, Newton is unable to believe that she's turned up on the news pages, and has turned in something midway between 'what I did in my holidays' and a hagiography:

Mr Gore hopes the shows will encourage people to change their lifestyles to help reduce carbon emissions and, more importantly, that politicians will listen and take action.

So I was intrigued to meet the man himself and see if he could convince ME to take a look at my carbon footprint.

My first impression as I walked into the room was just how tall and imposing Mr Gore is.

He has a booming, deep belly laugh, yet when he speaks he sounds like a gentle giant with his soft southern lilt. I found him immediately likeable, with a warm and friendly demeanour.

There's a but coming.
The only thing that was slightly off-putting was the orange make-up he had plastered on for the cameras (a look perfected by the ghastly Donatella Versace).


It's certainly the first time that Gore has ever been compared to Donatella Versace, that's for sure.

Still, while Gore might wince at Newton's style, he won't have a problem with the fawning regurgitation of his every utterance. Sometimes, as when Al responds to the criticisms of Live Earth raised by Bob Geldof, you find yourself wading through a transcript:
When I asked Mr Gore about the criticisms, he gave a robust response.

He said: “We will have specific goals that will be very significant and hard-hitting.

“We will announce those before the concert then emphasise them heavily during the concert.

“What Bob Geldof did with Live Aid and Live 8 was fantastic and he has followed up very diligently, as many of the others involved with Live Aid and Live 8 have. I’ve nothing but good things to say about them.

“These concerts would not be possible in any way without the pioneering and creativity of Geldof and those who helped him.

“But he has said in the aftermath of those efforts how important it is to have specific goals and a continuing follow-on effort and we have designed the Live Earth concerts in just that way.

“This one day, 24 hours long, will not only be a wake-up call for the world but the beginning of a multi-year campaign to organise an effective response to the climate crisis.”

The most important question about Live Earth - that it is, itself, going to have a huge environmental footprint and that it might be better for the planet to not fly Linkin Park to Japan and UB40 to South Africa is left unasked, and although Newton does at least think about the 'aren't these stars the sort of people who create more carbon than the rest of us' question, but it gets swamped in a sparkly eyed fawn over how clever Al is to get Madonna on board:
In a bid to recruit top-name stars to sign up for Live Earth, Mr Gore tapped up the Red Hot Chili Peppers when he presented them with a Grammy Award in LA in February. He travelled to London for a one-on-one meeting with Madonna.

He did such a good job convincing the Queen Of Pop she agreed to close the concert at Wembley. Mr Gore said: “My wife and I met her and we had a wonderful conversation and she agreed to help.”

Just one thing though . . . did he manage to also persuade Madge to ditch her private jets in favour of commercial airlines to help reduce her own carbon emissions?

I got an extremely carefully- worded answer in response.

Mr Gore said: “Well, I appreciate and respect her as an artist and as a person and there are many artists who are offsetting their role in contributing to the CO2 build-up and I understand that.

“The essence of this problem is that we live in a civilisation that has developed rather fully according to a pattern that emphasises the burning of carbon-based fuels.

“So making the shift to renewable energy is a challenge for everyone that will be a lot easier when governments around the world adopt the new strategies that will make this shift a lot easier to accomplish.”

I’ll take that as a “No” then!

A journalist, of course, would have asked a follow-up question there to actually get an answer with some content in it.

They give a separate page on the website to American politics, behind a link which promises:
Click here to see if Al Gore is going to run for President

Blimey. Did Victoria manage to get a straight ruling in-or-out from him, something which has proved beyond some of the sharpest minds in American journalism?

Of course not:
Mr Gore, who lost the 2000 election race to George W Bush, has so far refused to admit he has any interest in trying for office again.

But when I asked Mr Gore if he would consider going for the job, he replied: “I have not ruled it out entirely because I’m only 59, and 59 is the new 58, you know. But I don’t expect to be a candidate again.”

Good God, since she seems to think that he's never said before that, at some point in the future, he might just run again (he has, of course), if he ever does find himself on a ticket, can you imagine the "as I reported first" trilling we're going to hear?

But the real weakness in the feature comes at the start:
In an exclusive Sun interview, Mr Gore said: “The G8 have been meeting in Germany and the United States is throwing a monkey wrench in the efforts to get a consensus.

The planet is in distress and all of the attention is on Paris Hilton. We have to ask ourselves what is going on here?”

So, the woman whose day job is, erm, reporting on Lindsay Lohan and her ilk, and the man whose global warming concert is relying entirely on the power of the fascination with the likes of Madonna to spread his message are sitting in a room tutting over how the public are more interested in Pairs Hilton than melting ice caps. Whoever would have thought, eh?


Anonymous said...

Think I'll give her pages a miss today. Still, you have to applaud her willpower; She managed to get through an entire paragraph on Live8 without quipping "Here's how Al might look if we photoshopped his face onto Bob Geldof's body!", above a GCSE IT Studies-quality image, and the caption "'Just give us the fockin' carbon offset credits!' - Al as Sir Bob".

Oh, and...

"So I was intrigued to meet the man himself and see if he could convince ME to take a look at my carbon footprint."

I wouldn't worry Vicky, I don't think you get much in the way of emissions from broomsticks.

M.C. Glammer said...

I was wondering if Madonna will be singing that song where she boasts about owning a jet.

Give her a break, though, there aren't that many package deals to Malawi.

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