Former Vice President Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize last month. The prize was awarded jointly to Gore and the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
· “The Norwegian Nobel Committee characterized Gore as ‘the single individual who has done most’ to convince world governments and leaders that climate change is real, is caused by human activity and poses a grave threat.”--The Washington Post, 10/12/07
Evidently, all this acclaim for Gore is more than some people can stand. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page ran a list of people they felt were more deserving of the award than Gore. The National Review Online likened Gore to Osama bin Laden, based on the fact that bin Laden had once mentioned global warming. That may sound a bit over the top, but if you want real hyperbole, you’ve got to go to Fox News.
Fox News entertainer Sean Hannity was not content with just attacking Gore. He also attacked the Nobel Peace Prize, describing it as an award for “leftists”.
· “I would turn [the award] down. I don’t want an award that a terrorist [Yasser Arafat] has had,”--Sean Hannity, Fox’s Hannity and Colmes, 1012/07
Then, after demeaning the award and its past recipients, Hannity declared he would give it to U.S. Troops and Gen. Petraeus. What an honor! An award so odious that Sean Hannity wouldn’t accept it, but it is good enough for the troops.
Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer denounced the Nobel Peace Prize as “the Kentucky Derby of the world left” that is only given “to people whose politics are either anti-American or anti-Bush, and that’s why [Gore] won it.” (Fox News Sunday, 10/14/07)
On that same Fox News program, Bill Kristol, the neoconservative editor of The Weekly Standard remarked:
· “I felt a warm glow thinking that this man got the Nobel Peace Prize for bloviating about global warming. I mean, it’s a prize given by bloviators to a bloviator for nothing.”
I had to look in four dictionaries before I found that “bloviating” means to speak or orate in a pompous manner; so I have to agree with Kristol. Gore does have a pompous manner of speaking, but that doesn’t mean that he is wrong about what he is saying. In fact, a few days after Gore received the award, the National Academy of Sciences published a study finding that global warming is happening even faster than expected (MSNBC, 10/22/07).
· “The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right. In 1992, George H. W. Bush mocked him as the ‘ozone man,’ but three years later the scientists who discovered the threat to the ozone layer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2002 he warned that if we invaded Iraq, ‘the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.’ …Which brings us to the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He’s taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy.”--Paul Krugman, The New York Times, 10/15/07
During the past seven years, Al Gore has won an Emmy, an Oscar, a Nobel Peace Prize, and a Presidential election. During that same period:
· [President George W. Bush]…On your watch, we’ve lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans.”--Bill Maher, HBO, Real Time, 9/9/05
On the subject of awards: The U.S. Air Force has won this year’s Ig Nobel Peace Prize (10/4/07). Ig Nobel prizes (in the same categories as the Nobel prizes) are given by Annals of Improbable Research magazine and are presented by Nobel Laureates at a gala ceremony held annually at Harvard University. The Ig Nobels are meant to honor achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think”.