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No Pinocchio?

There has actually been more exaggeration about Gore and Love Story than Robert Parry's article states. At one point in his piece, Parry refers to "Gore's expressed belief that he and his wife Tipper had served as models for the lead characters" of the book/movie. But did Gore ever express such a belief? Not according to the actual reporting on this ridiculous incident.

In the December 14,1997 New York Times, Melinda Henneberger wrote a lengthy article detailing the facts of this silly story. Henneberger interviewed Karen Tumulty and Richard Berke, the only journalists present when Gore discussed Love Story. The two reporters agreed: Gore only said that he had seen a newspaper story quoting Erich Segal on the subject. Henneberger quoted Tumulty: "He said all I know is that's what [Segal] told reporters in Tennessee." Everyone agrees that there was such a story, in the Nashville Tennessean. Segal told Henneberger that the Tennessean reporter, playing the "local hero angle" had (here we go again) "exaggerated" what Segal told him. Segal had told the reporter that Gore was a model for the Ryan O'Neal part. The reporter expanded what Segal said, mentioning Tipper as well.

Gore said he saw a newspaper story. Everyone agrees that there was such a story. The person "exaggerating" the facts was a journalist. But on the basis of this ridiculous story, Gore has been branded a liar for years. Welcome to our relentlessly negative and reliably mindless press era.

BOB SOMERBY Baltimore, Md.

Fire With Fire

I was sorry that Robert Parry did not attempt to contact me before he faulted my reporting in his story about Al Gore's exaggerations. If he had, I would have told him this: Al Gore and his campaign have never disputed that he took credit for finding Love Canal. Yes, I misquoted a word in the latter part of his comment, and I regret that. But there is no question about Mr. Gore's overall meaning. The operative quote--"I found a little place in upstate New York called Love Canal"--is not in doubt. In fact, Mr. Gore called The Associated Press in Buffalo the next day and apologized to the people of Love Canal for taking credit. Mr. Parry is correct that this story has been "amplified endlessly by the rest of the news media." Unfortunately, The Washington Monthly has contributed to that echo chamber without checking the facts.

KATHARINE Q. SEELYE Washington, D.C.

The Truth About Gore

Robert Parry in "He's No Pinocchio" constructed some very flimsy strawmen....

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