Is Al Gore an environmental hypocrite? Or was a recent story a media beat-up? Read on for the answers.

David Roberts shows Your media at work:

People magazine reports that Al Gore’s daughter Sarah just got married, revealing in the course of the article that Chilean sea bass was served at the rehearsal dinner.

In the Daily Telegraph, Australian Humane Society’s Rebecca Keeble writes that “only one week after Live Earth, Al Gore’s green credentials slipped.” Why? Because Chilean sea bass is endangered.

ABC [US] politics columnist Jake Tapper, smelling the kind of vapid, gimmicky story upon which his profession thrives, asks, “could this be seen as the environmentalist version of Sen. David Vitter’s public sanctimony/private enjoyment of love with a red-lit glow?”

Blogger Digby points out, “Unless somebody at the wedding was schtupping the fish wearing a diaper, I’m not sure I see the analogy.”

Sierra Club’s Pat Joseph traces the fallout:

It doesn’t take long for Tapper’s readers to remind him that: a) the groom’s family throws the rehearsal dinner, not the bride’s; b) while sea bass is indeed a fishery of serious environmental concern, some of the fish are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council; and c) Jake Tapper is a two-bit hack.

Also:

But the fish enjoyed by the Gores were not endangered or illegally caught.

Rather, the restaurant later confirmed, they had come from one of the world’s few well-managed, sustainable populations of toothfish, and caught and documented in compliance with Marine Stewardship Council regulations.

Allow me to connect some dots here. How did the story get from People into an Australian tabloid? And how did it get from there to Jake Tapper, ABC [US] News’ Senior National Correspondent based in the network’s Washington bureau who blogs at Political Punch?

I did a Factiva search and found that this was the first time that the Daily Telegraph had ever printed an opinion piece from the Humane Society International, so I called Rebecca Keeble and asked her about the genesis of the piece. It seems that the first she heard about the matter was when she was contacted by the Daily Telegraph, told that Gore had served Chilean sea bass, and was invited to write an opinion piece.

She didn’t want to tell me who it was who commissioned the piece, but it’s not hard to figure out. You see, the opinion editor of the Daily Telegraph is Gore-hater Tim Blair. He first blogged about the story here. Then he contacted Keeble and put her opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph. Next he put up a post linking to Keeble’s piece. Then it was picked by Glenn Reynolds and Matt Drudge who can be relied upon to run with any anti-Gore story they come across. Once Drudge had linked it, Tapper knew it was OK for him to run with the story. And that’s how it’s done.

This isn’t the first time that Blair has used his position as opinion editor at the Daily Telegraph to advance his own personal agenda. See this post from Irfan Yusuf, on how Blair told Yusuf that the Telegraph would no longer publish him because Blair felt that he had been criticised on Yusuf’s blog.

This story was originally posted on Lambert’s blog, Deltoid.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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