As you read this, the following item from the Taipei Times is being forwarded from Washington outbox to Beltway inbox, setting hearts aflutter and livers atwitter (emphasis added):
Al Gore visit postponed
Former US vice president Al Gore will not be able to make it to Taiwan this September to address the issue of global warming, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin [Chinese symbols WordPress doesn’t recognize] said yesterday. Tien, who invited Gore to visit Taiwan to promote awareness on global warming, told reporters yesterday that she received an e-mail from the Harry Walker Agency, which has the exclusive right to arrange Gore’s speeches, saying that Gore had canceled all his scheduled events in the next six months. The visit to Taiwan had been postponed to next year, she added. Tien said the reason for the cancelation was that Gore was considering a presidential bid.
This amazing news exclusive just happened to come from the a Democratic Progressive Party Legislator in Taiwan? Riiiight. But I could see this Tien Chiu-chin misinterpreting a canceled event or exaggerating to make himself sound more important. Or maybe the uncredited reporter simply misheard it.
But before this misbegotten blurb becomes a full-fledged urban legend, let’s dig a little deeper, because there’s both less and more to the story.
For anybody just coming across this story tonight, see Raising Kaine, where Lowell Feld apparently fact-checked this against Gore’s office and obtained the following denial:
It is completely and utterly false.
1. He never accepted an event in Taiwan
2. We have loads of events on the schedule in the next six months
I don’t know how to spell bubkus but there’s no credibility to this whatsoever.
Wow, so much for benefit of the doubt. Does the Taipei Times have a Stephen Glass problem? Probably not, actually — Harry Walker Agency is no Jukt Micronics — and in fact it does represent The Honorable Al Gore.
If my hunch is right, then the biggest loser of all — besides the latent Gore supporters currently propping up Edwards and Obama — would be none other than Tien Chiu-chin, whose credibility on the 2008 U.S. presidential race may never fully recover.
P.S. Last summer I took to saying “All politics is national.” This time, let’s try “All politics is global.”
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