Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2007, ecologist and Vice President of the United States during the administration of Bill Clinton. However, before he reached the media spotlight, Al Gore was an investigative journalist at The Tennessean
The first steps
Albert Arnold Gore Jr. was born on the 31st of March, 1948, in Washington. His father, Al Gore Sr., was a delegate at the House of Representatives and a Senator. The first years of his life were lived in the state of Tennessee, where he attended St. Albans school, between 1956 and 1965.
When he finished high school, he enrolled at the prestigious Harvard University. The intention was to study Letters, but he ended up studying Politics. During his last year in Harvard, he started to become interested in environmental problems.
Despite being against the war, Al Gore joined the military after graduating from Harvard, in 1969. After receiving military training, he was sent as a journalist to Fort Rucker, Alabama. In April of 1970, he was considered «Soldier of the Month».
He was sent to Vietnam on 2nd of January, 1971, after his father had lost his seat at the Senate in the 1970 elections. He joined the 20th Engineer Brigade in Bien Hoa and was a journalist for the Castle Courier, a publication of the north-American army.
Upon his return from Vietnam, he starts working as an investigation reporter at The Tennessean, the main daily newspaper of the north-American state. His works about corruption resulted in the arrested and conviction of two Nashville politicians.
Afterwards, he decided to ask for a leave from the newspaper to attend Vanderbilt University Law School, in 1974. However, Al Gore didn’t finish the degree, having abruptly decided to run for the House of Representatives when the seat that had been occupied by his father became free.
From Journalism to politics
Al Gore started to serve the American Congress at the age of 28, where he remained in the 16 following years. He integrated the House (1977-85) and the Senate (1985-93).
Al Gore was known as one of the «Atari Democrats». In the 80s and 90s, the expression was used in reference to democrat politicians in legislative functions who defended that the development of high-technology and of associated companies could stimulate the economy and create employment. The term comes from the Atari brand, which, in the 80s, was very successful with its videogames and consoles.
His political career gained a different boost in the end of the 80s. Al Gore entered the run to become the democrat candidate to the presidential elections of 1988, against Joe Biden, Dick Gephardt, Paul Simon, Jesse Jackson and Michael Dukakis – who won the democrat nomination. Despite the defeat, Gore stood out later, during Bill Clinton’s administration, as the vice-president of the United States of America.
Al Gore would end up running for Presidency in 2000, in one of the most controversial episodes of the country’s political life. It was the fourth election in which the winner of the vote of the Electoral College didn’t also receive the plurality of the popular vote.
George W. Bush would eventually win the elections by a narrow margin, with 271 votes in the Electoral College against Gore’s 266 (with a voter abstaining in the official count). The election became known due to the controversy about the concession of the 25 votes of Florida’s Electoral College and the subsequent recounting process in that state.
Back to Journalism
After the controversial defeat, Al Gore turned to Journalism teaching at Columbia University, in 2001. As a teacher, Al Gore conveyed his opinion from the point of view of politicians and journalists, a result of his own experience.
He also focused on the struggle against global warming and climate changes, a matter he has been warning people about since the 70s.
In August of 2005, he founded Current TV, a cable and satellite TV channel aimed for youngsters, which won an Emmy in that year.
“We are trying to open the television medium so that spectators help make television…. And demand more democracy,” explained Al Gore, when he received the Emmy.
The channel would be bought by the Arab channel Al Jazeera in 2013.
The Nobel Prize and the Oscars
In 2006, A Gore starred the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, in which the spectator follows Al Gore’s effort and struggle to fight global warming, raising awareness in the world community and avoiding to treat the issue as a political matter, presenting it instead as a challenge for mankind.
In 2007, Al Gore, then aged 49, received the Nobel Peace Prize, for his contribution for global thinking and action against climate changes.
The documentary won two Oscars in that same year. Also in 2007, Al Gore received the Príncipe de Asturias prize.