April 3, 2007
by: Kristen Richards Hon. ASLA Hon. AIA

E-mail exchange between this writer and AIA National 03.23.07:

To: AIA National
Subject: Gore/AIA San Antonio

Hi AIA… I couldn’t find Gore keynote on schedule (or too bleary-eyed after pages of registration forms)…would you let me know when it is?

Fr: AIA National
RE: Gore/AIA San Antonio

He is speaking on May 5th at 3:30. But here’s the part that you’re not going to like. The agreement and contract…states that no members of the media will be admitted into the hall for Mr. Gore’s speech. I am not sure how His [sic] people or the management here at the AIA came to that agreement or more importantly WHY, but that’s what I have been told.

Apparently, the media is not allowed to attend any of Gore’s lectures. But that seemed beside the point, so I shared the above exchange with a number of design journalists across the U.S. Some of their responses are rather amusing (attribution has been omitted to protect both the innocent and not-so-innocent):

“Remember this the next time the AIA courts you for coverage!”

“Maybe he’s afraid of being Gored by the media???”

“Odd. What do you think he was going to talk about — state secrets revealed to the design profession? I personally think they should say no way, it’s open. His closing it does not reflect well on him, raises all sorts of issues.”

“Your e-mail has created a bit of a fuss around here. Either that or we’re all just really bored and want to go home! There’s also a huge, self-serving assumption here on the part of Gore’s people that the press would actually WANT to report anything he had to say. Kind of unintentionally hilarious, really.”

“I can’t believe that!! There’s a real lost opportunity on both sides.”

“A little birdy has told me that it’s Gore’s standard operating procedure these days. Don’t know if it’s because the content of his speeches are part and parcel of “An Inconvenient Truth” or not. Seems like a great way to annoy reporters, though, eh? You’d think that an old hand like Gore wouldn’t be afraid of the media at this point, wouldn’t you? I mean, he’s been through the most contentious election debacle in history, 8 years in the White House, etc. Strangeness.”

“He must be getting sensitive about his weight!”

“FYI this is standard @#$%-up practice by some at conventions. The directive to keep out the press would definitely come from Gore. Just goes to show you — he’s still a politician.”

“Why can’t they just show the movie?”

“I have no idea what’s up with Al, except he needs to go on a diet!”

“Keystroke slip — “His” with a cap letter might explain it all. The man IS surely running for president; he’s just waiting for Hillary and Obama to bore everyone to death. Having pesky press would destroy the neutral statesman/guru aura they’re working hard to inculcate.”

“Very strange. How enforceable is this?”

“This IS pretty strange. I guess the question is — are Gore’s comments off the record and cannot be reported? What in God’s name is he going to say that we haven’t heard already?????”

“Very strange indeed. A public and well-reported meeting between Gore and AIA members would have been terrific. I wonder whether the handlers around Gore are way too aggressive for his own good. I’m not close enough to the process to know whose interests are served by non-public events like these, but it looks too close to paranoia from here.”

“Interesting to compare this news with the big reach-out the AIA is doing to news media by conducting a Roper Poll on what we/media think of them.”

Kristen Richards is editor-in-chief of Oculus and ArchNewsNow.com.


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