Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Letter to Chris Matthews

[This is what I actually just sent.]

Dear Mr. Matthews--So how long do you intend to keep telling the same lies about Al Gore, e.g., that he claimed he "invented the Internet", when in fact he said no such thing? (By the way, which member of Congress do you think the major internet players credit with doing the most to boost and promote the development of the Web? Hmmm? Can you guess?)

I'm sick and tired of your pathetic, discredited lies about Al Gore. You're one of the most dishonest people on television, and as long as you're on Hardball, that show can count me OUT as a viewer.


Joseph A. Miller

P.S. In light of your borderline-insane obsession with things like Hillary Clinton's clapping, do you intend to seek out psychiatric help?


Anonymous said...

Al Gore's exact words were, "I took the initiative in creating the Internet." No matter how you slice it, his braggadocio was way over the top. The military created(invented, started, originated, produced) the Internet as a means to improve command and control and libraries and universities later picked up the technology to share resources. Al Gore did nothing and the Internet would exist with or without him, but his intent was to make it sound that without him, this blog would not exist.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Miller, as much as I agree, I don't really think his producers will care.

M. N. Wirth

Joseph said...

Anonymous, you are flat wrong. Here's why (from a letter on DKos):

Vinton Gray Cerf (born June 23, 1943) is an American computer scientist who is commonly referred to as one of the "founding fathers of the Internet" for his key technical and managerial role, together with Bob Kahn, in the creation of the Internet and the TCP/IP protocols which it uses.

And what did Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf have to say on the subject?

Al Gore and the Internet

By Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf
Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.


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.

As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship. Though easily forgotten, now, at the time this was an unproven and controversial concept.


When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises.

As a Senator in the 1980s Gore urged government agencies to consolidate what at the time were several dozen different and unconnected networks into an "Interagency Network." Working in a bi-partisan manner with officials in Ronald Reagan and George Bush’s administrations, Gore secured the passage of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act in 1991. This "Gore Act" supported the National Research and Education Network (NREN) initiative that became one of the major vehicles for the spread of the Internet beyond the field of computer science.

As Vice President Gore promoted building the Internet both up and out, as well as releasing the Internet from the control of the government agencies that spawned it. He served as the major administration proponent for continued investment in advanced computing and networking and private sector initiatives such as Net Day. He was and is a strong proponent of extending access to the network to schools and libraries. Today, approximately 95% of our nation’s schools are on the Internet. Gore provided much-needed political support for the speedy privatization of the Internet when the time arrived for it to become a commercially-driven operation.


No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President. Gore has been a clear champion of this effort, both in the councils of government and with the public at large.

The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of the value of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.