Al Gore never said he “invented the Internet”

Al Gore was framed by the media

I wanted Bart to correct me on my earlier misquote, but Einstein was available so who am I to refuse?

To set the record straight, Al Gore never said he created the Internet, though he helped push it forward. According to Wikipedia, Gore sponsored the High Performance Computing Act of 1991 which advanced the growth and mainstreaming of the Internet during the 1990s. In 1999, during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s Late Edition on March 9, 1999, Gore said:

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, environmental protection, and improvements in our educational system.

This statement has been the target of satire and criticism. Much of this criticism has been based on the interpretation that Gore was claiming to have invented the Internet. Gore is frequently misquoted on this matter. Internet pioneers Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf defended Gore’s statement:

…as 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.

3 thoughts on “Al Gore never said he “invented the Internet”

  1. Just to nitpick, this would be a great sentence for my Finite Math class Truth Table exercises:

    “No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time.”

    since adding

    ‘over a longer period of time’

    could be interpreted as the same thing by the casual reader.

  2. The issue is not if the statement is true. The issue is that Gore was never able to respond effectively to it, and this post is 6 years too late. Where there’s smoke, the public believes there is fire. This was not the only “overstatement” Gore was accused of (remember “Love Story”). Gore was never able to express the truth and the accusations stood. Gore’s problem is twofold: he has trouble communicating sincerely with the electorate and he comes accross as looking to be great rather than doing great things.

  3. Shortly after Kahn and Cerf finished their statement of support to the press they were heard whispering, “Was that good enough? Can we get that check now?”

    “No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time.”
    But many have made a much greater contribution in a much shorter period of time.

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