Calling Tech Show Bloggers: Please Cover Al Gore's 'Off the Record' Keynote Speech


Dan Gillmor is a BoingBoing guest blogger.

Former VP Al Gore is speaking at the CTIA Wireless show on April 3. But the giant trade show says:

Special Notice: Photography, recording, webcasting and any other reproduction of Vice President Al Gore's speaking appearance is strictly prohibited.

The press, whatever that is these days, has been barred from coverage, too, according to a letter on the Romenesko media blog: No one with a press pass will be allowed in.

(UPDATE: The press has now been given permission to attend. Perhaps the idiocy of this policy got Gore's attention.)

This calls for a) lots and lots of blogging of the event by attendees who are not registered as press; and b) "official" press interviews of attendees and publication of those interviews. (I might also note, just for the sake of noting it, that you don't have to be obvious about waving around a smart phone with a video camera; audio and video recording gear has gotten really small and cheap.)

It would be great if the good folks attending this trade show could help make clear to Al Gore and others in similar positions that a speech to 4,000 people is not off the record no matter how much they may wish it to be so, not anymore.

My own suspicion about Gore's reasons: He probably imagines he's saving the material for a new book or movie. Otherwise the only possible explanation is that he's giving the dullest speech in history and knows that already.


  1. Or he feels the need to throw someone deeply unpopular (fat-cat corporate CEOs? Big Copyright?) a bone, hopefully without it leaking out to those at whose expense the bone comes.

  2. “He probably imagines he’s saving the material for a new book or movie. Otherwise the only possible explanation is that he’s giving the dullest speech in history and knows that already.”

    I suspect it may be both…

  3. Or maybe the organisers think they can stop word of what he says from getting out and making their anti-climate buddies mad at them?

  4. Tim Or maybe the organisers think they can stop word of what he says from getting out and making their anti-climate buddies mad at them?

    Only if by “anti-climate” you mean “sensible people” and by “mad at them” you mean “make fun of him”.

    Seriously, CO2 is a dangerous pollutant? People will believe anything.

  5. There is nothing new in this ‘ban the press’ event. Many public speakers have clauses in their public-speaking contracts that prohibit the inclusion of members of the news media at such events. They do so to allow them to control the dissemination of the information that is presented to the attendees and to preserve their ability to profit -in the future- from their past speaking engagements.

  6. I would imagine that it because The Harry Walker Agency has one price for having a speaker speak, and another for giving a lot of free publicity to an organization. Or maybe the CTIA doesn’t want publicity . Or maybe it’s because he’s on the board of Apple.

  7. …or because he hopes to cash-in on the lecture circuit by giving essentially the same speech at different venues around the world. Something most influential speakers likely do.

    As much as Gore is an environmentalist, I’m going with capitalist.

    And on that front, why the call to arms? I don’t really get the impression you’re interested in what Mr. Gore has to say as much as you are about proving to him technology has rendered such requests as ludicrous.

    I suppose he’s relying on a crowd of 4,000 paid attendees to agree: you wanna hear what he had to say, you pay the entrance fee. Or rent An Inconvenient Truth.

    Your call to arms comes across to me as a bit douchey.

  8. The real purpose is obvious.

    These 4000 attendees are going to be told the secrets of ManBearPig.

    Is he half man and half bearpig?

    Or is he half bear and half manpig?

    Damned limited seating!

  9. Seriously, CO2 is a dangerous pollutant? People will believe anything.

    An argument from incredulity: Logic Fail.

  10. “Only if by ‘anti-climate’ you mean ‘sensible people’ and by ‘mad at them’ you mean ‘make fun of him’.
    Seriously, CO2 is a dangerous pollutant? People will believe anything.”

    Are you arguing here against anthropogenic climate change, or merely the classification of carbon dioxide as a pollutant? Given the effect of our emissions, causing harm to various ecosystems, it seems that the classification makes sense. Why do you feel otherwise?

    1. The Japanese, usually VERY concerned about how the west sees them, have admitted that global warming isn’t man made.

      Is that the same press release where they admit that they carry out whaling for research purposes only?

  11. I really am always amazed that “Is climate change man made” is still a discussion in the US, or as it seems, the UK.
    It seems to be bordering on a religious war, and the arguments the “NOOOO!”-side comes up with are almost as amusing as the creationists, strangely enough, often the same group of people.

  12. The dullest speech in history?
    I’d like to see that!
    Because, you know, I have trouble getting to sleep lately….

  13. #10 mhains:

    I heartily agree, I’d be happier with “so everyone around the world can find out what Al Gore has to say” or some other, you know, productive and beneficial for humanity aim. It’s all fine and well to be egalitarian with information but this is like walking on the grass just because there’s a sign.

    This just appears to be raining on a guy’s parade because you can. I suppose it’s a bit better than “Al Gore asks us not to DDoS his website… but thanks to the internet we CAN! Get sending those badly formed packets, people” but it’s still throwing e-weight around for an eggshell.

  14. I’ve seen this before at other events, that a speaker will bar press from the speech. It’s done out of anti-press sentiment, and a sadly mistaken belief that if they don’t admit the press, they won’t have to deal with criticism or scrutiny from the press. Ultimately, they are shooting themselves in the foot. Barring the press only makes the media more hostile, and prevents them from helping you get the word out.

  15. @TEAPUNK The same skepticism that leads me to abhor creationism and other supernatural beliefs also leads me to be wary of the claims of global warming alarmists, as well as other fear-mongering trends that I’ve seen come and go during my lifetime.

    I know your comment was not meant to be all-encompassing (you did say “most”); what you say is probably true. But I do like to point out that I and many others don’t wish to be linked to THAT crowd.

  16. 7Eagle14 @16:

    Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN’s IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases.

    My emphasis. Scarcely overwhelming, is it? And what’s with this word “admitting” you used? As though the Japanese government scientists — or rather, three of them — had decided to break ranks with the great IPCC conspiracy to, um, convince the world to not be quite so wasteful of energy and non-renewable resources… you know, as great conspiracies go, it lacks a bit of oomph, pzazz, panache, you know?

    Besides, as you can read as well as anyone else, the JSER report does not say that global warming isn’t man-made, it says that the hypothesis is unproven, which isn’t the same thing at all.

    To me, the whole matter comes down to which way you would rather be wrong. Deny anthropogenic global-warming and do nothing (except grasp for ever thinner intellectual straws to bolster your denial), and if you’re wrong the whole world is fucked. Or do something about CO2 levels, and if you’re later proven to have panicked over nothing, you’ve got a bit of egg on your face but the world is better off. Is your pride really more important than the world?

  17. Why won’t anyone listen to Dasbub?
    As my mothe used to say: “ven a dios y no se hincan”
    (they see god coming and they won’t kneel)
    You’ve been told!!!!

  18. @20: You reject arguments of AGW because of the intensity of those who argue that it’s happening? What you express is not ‘skepticism’, it’s ‘cynicism’.

    Tell you what, you and the other deniers in here: give me a good scientific explanation of why your car heats up in direct sunlight,
    and how it is and is not analogous to the underlying theory of GW, and then I will consider your arguments for rejectionism.

    Otherwise, you’re just contributing to climate change with your hot air.

  19. It certainly is working to generate buzz for the event. Whatever the reasons for the restriction, I learned of this speech because you guys are arguing about it.

  20. @ Nelson.C
    Your right. “Admitted” was a poor choice and inflects my own opinion into a perspective on others unfairly, “reached the conclusion” would have been more appropriate. Fair point. Additionally, I agree with your assertion that a few out of a group doesn’t establish an overwhelming opinion. It should open the door for debate, IMHO, but it’s not a shift change by itself. If there were only something like a large collection of scientist who oppose it or something more obvious for the layman like the global temperature cooling…-it-stopped-in-1998.html then that might be worth paying attention too.
    As far as dealing with CO2 levels… personally I think care of the earth is a moral imperative. It is inconsiderate and callous to leave your mark on the earth when a little care could minimize it. However, I’ve noticed that my politicians are not interested in minimizing their impact, their only interested in finding ways to make money off of already established life/business. I’ve no doubt that most of the people involved with the Global Warming Scare are thoughtful, considerate people who want to ensure a clean home for their descendants. The people spearheading it, and making the decisions on it seem to be making decisions on different criteria. I’m not opposed to caring for the planet, I’m opposed to being lied to and manipulated into giving away my freedom and income by people who couldn’t care less about the topics.

    @Antinous / Moderator
    No, of course not, they eat the whales too. The Japanese have been whaling since something like the 1200’s (if memory serves). In their own words:

    “We cannot agree [that me must stop whaling]. Asking Japan to abandon this part of its culture would compare to Australians being asked to stop eating meat pies, Americans being asked to stop eating hamburgers and the English being asked to go without fish and chips.

    Attitudes toward animals are a part of national cultures. No nations should try to impose their attitudes on others.

    Anti-whaling countries regard whales as sacred, and want the ban on whaling to continue on the grounds that a humane killing method is not ensured or that whaling itself is unethical.”


    1. No nations should try to impose their attitudes on others.

      Does that include stoning adulteresses? Or does your moral relativism have limits?

    1. it’s traditional to be ashamed to come empty handed to the feast.

      Doesn’t unintentional irony count?

  21. #16: “Thankfully many people are catching on to the scam. The Japanese, usually VERY concerned about how the west sees them, have admitted that global warming isn’t man made.”

    Well, it’s not “the Japanese” that have said this, it’s what, three researchers? Why have you discussed the Japan Society of Energy and Resources, but left out the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology, who actually do climate modeling (with one of the most powerful models in the world)?

    “We project global warming with the use of this model based on future scenario of human activities.”

    Anyhow, why do you believe that it’s a scam?

    #29 If there were only something like

    You do realize that this is an extension of the infamous Oregon Petition, right? It’s had the cast from M*A*S*H on it, Geri Halliwell PhD twice (presumably once for each PhD), companies have signed it (as in, having the company’s name as a signatory), it has been found to be filled with those who have no expertise in climate science (e.g. economists, dentists, etc.) the deceased and those who have no idea that they’re on it. When the Heartland Institute invited all of the scientists on the list to come forward, only 19 showed up (and even they weren’t all climate scientists).
    It’s a little odd also that, if there are ~31,000 dissenting scientists that they basically don’t publish anything about this in the scientific journals.

    #31 Al Gore is a fact-challenged blow-hard.

    How so?

  22. It’s very odd for the Japanese to claim whaling as though it was a unique commercial resource historically exploited by themselves and no-one else. Because nearly every nation with a coastline has whaled at some point. And to hide their commercialism behind whitterings about the sacred is transparent mysticism, quite frankly.

    Anyway, to drag things back to the point: really, you and 31,478 scientists (including 9,029 with PhDs!) seem to have missed the point with Science isn’t a democratic process. If they’ve got a solid scientific basis for agreeing with all the points in the petition, let’s see the science, not the signatures. Let’s see the equivalent of the IPCC report, showing either that there isn’t a rise in CO2, that the rise cannot cause an increase in the greenhouse effect, or that this increase is not happening.

    Science is a Darwinist struggle: you earn your laurels as a scientist by proving other scientists wrong. There are reputations to be earned here, what are these scientists (many with PhDs!) doing signing petitions when they could be showing that the greenhouse effect is discontinuous, for example, that inbetween the 30-odd Kelvin that CO2 adds to Earth’s surface temperature and the 500K that the thicker concentration adds to Venus’ surface temperature the greenhouse effect just stops for some reason.

    That three-years-old opinion piece from the Telegraph ignores the global warming trends over the last century or so, instead concentrating only on the negative fluctuations. Is that good science, picking only the data that lets you ignore the possible consequences?

    How much rain should fall before you decide to reinforce the levées? How many sub-prime mortgages should you allow to be marked AAA before you call for re-regulation? How much climate change should you ignore before you decide to do something about it?

  23. @uknowbetter:
    Regarding the link that you posted to the “falsehoods in An Inconvenient Truth” [1]:
    1) Regarding the Medieval Climate Optimum, the site claims that “many researchers” believe it to have been as warm then as it is now. This isn’t the case. First, it is believed to have been strongest in the North Atlantic region. Second, the data that we have from that period shows that it was in fact cooler then than now.

    2) The discussion of temperature leading carbon dioxide concentration is a little misleading. It’s disingenuous to simply state that, “temperature change came first” by pointing to the lag in the ice cores, without an explanation of why this is so—as though this is proof that greenhouse gases don’t cause changes in temperature. To do so is to ignore a wealth of knowledge on the intimate connection between greenhouse gas concentrations and temperature fluctuations, through the various feedback loops that are in play in the climate system (e.g. ice-albedo, vegetation, ocean solubility, etc.).

    Simplified, you would have an initial perturbation due to Milankovitch cycles, which would cause a slight warming, which would melt ice, lowering Earth’s albedo slightly, which would cause more radiation to be absorbed, leading to more heating, more ice melting, etc.
    Regarding greenhouse gas concentration: an initial perturbation in Milankovitch cycles would lead to a slight warming. Then, because the amount of carbon dioxide (and other GHGs) that can be sequestered in the ocean is an inverse function of temperature, some carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere. This caused greater warming, causing more carbon dioxide to be released, causing greater warming…. So, you can see that though carbon dioxide was lagging temperature for the 800kyr prior to the 19th century, it certainly had an effect on temperature.


  24. Sounds like hype to me… what better way to get millions of people interested in what he has to say and make it viral of the web then to tell reporters that they are not welcome and that recordings are forbidden. Just tell a two year old “don’t touch” and see how quickly he tries.

    who cares!

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