There are people out there (including one on the CBS News website today) that claim Al Gore never said “I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” The facts say otherwise and Snopes.com tries to massage the issue by saying it is false. Snopes confuses the issue by saying “Claim: Vice-President Al Gore claimed he ‘invented’ the Internet.” They respond with it as “Status: False.” Now, we have never seen a claim that Al Gore says he “invented” the internet, but it is clear that Al Gore does say that he “took the initiative in creating the Internet.”
Let’s look at the facts:
1. CNN’s own transcript of the discussion on March 9, 1999’s “Late Edition” with Wolf Blitzer (see
http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/03/09/president.2000/transcript.gore/index.html) says “I’ve traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.”
Clearly he does not say he “invented” the internet, but he does claim he created it and Snopes.com is clearly being disingenuous when they change the claim to something it is not. This is called a straw man, and while one should expect better from Snopes, it is not surprising.
2. ARPANET, the first packet switching network, first went active October 29, 1969 (recently there were articles about the 40th anniversary of the Internet, commemorating that event). But ideas for such a network had been circulating as early as August 1962. In October 1963, ARPA began to believe that such a network was an important concept. So, who “created” the internet? Scientists in the 1960s. If any politician can claim to have “taken the initiative in creating the internet” it would be the two Presidents were involved in funding it – President Kennedy and President Johnson with President Nixon continuing to fund it more in the early 1970s. President Johnson’s tenure coincides closest with the initial groundwork and initial operation. The Congresses at the time should also deserve some credit if any politician could be said to have “created” the internet. In reality though, it was the researches and the people at ARPA would took the initiative to create the internet.
Gore began serving in Congress in 1977 and the Internet was approximately 9 years old.