Al Gore's Revisionist Family History
Date Added: Nov. 14, 2000
Spin-doctoring, the "art" of making the truth sound better (or worse) than it is, has long been a subject of political humor. This chain letter is no exception. However, it seems that, in the heat of the most contested presidential election in American History, some people just don't get the joke.
Regardless of which side you are on, I think you'll enjoy this example ofspin-doctoring as an art unto itself......this is almost as good as lying with statistics!
Tipper Gore, an amateur genealogical researcher, discovered that her husband's great-great uncle, Gunther Gore, a fellow lacking in character, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Tennessee in 1889.
The only known photograph of Gunther shows him standing on the gallows. On the back of the picture is this inscription: "Gunther Gore; horse thief, sent to Tennessee Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Tennessee Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889."
After letting Al Gore and his staff of professional image consultants peruse the findings, they decided to crop Gunther's picture, scan it in as an enlarged image, and edited it with image processing software so that all that's seen is a head shot. The accompanying biographical sketch was sent to the Associated Press as follows:
"Gunther Gore was a famous rancher in early Tennessee history. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Tennessee railroad.
"Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency.
"In 1889, Gunther passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."
A joke is a joke is a joke! People have been laughing at this one for decades. Like a horoscope, it can be universally applied to just about any politician. It's no surprise, however, that it resurfaced during the 2000 election, with Al Gore as the subject. Unfortunately, some people are missing the humor in it and forwarding as if it were a real news story.
Snopes.com's Urban Legend Reference Pages reports that another version of the message is circulating focusing on Hillary Clinton's great uncle Remus Rodham (Uncle Remus?) and his shady exploits in Montana.
I recognize that, especially this time of year, people can lose their senses of humor when it comes to politics, but despite its similaries to some actual political spin we've been fed in the last 18 months, this story is not true, it's a joke - and an old joke at that. Break the Chain!