This is an expansion from an earlier post about CERN, where the World Wide Web was invented.
Al Gore did not proclaim to “invent” the Internet. What he did was nurture the Internet development, and was instrumental in it’s transition it from a government-controlled entity to the public and arguably free Internet we enjoy today. more so than any public person (i.e., politician, which is responsible for the purse strings of the fathers of the Internet).
When asked what distinguished him from his challenger in the 2000 Democratic Presidential nomination, he stated this:
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.
As Vice President, Gore was in charge of promoting and developing the “Information Superhighway” and launched a number of initiatives that without a doubt placed him on the list of people that helped create what we know today as the Internet.
Inventors of the Internet Speak Out on Al Gore’s Contribution
Vint Cerf (“Father of the Internet”) and his colleague Bob Kahn, who actually did create the Internet (along with others – it was a world-wide group effort) wrote this in response to the critique and ridicule of Gore’s statement, which they felt was unjustifed.
Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.
But as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore’s contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time. [Emphasis mine]
Last year  the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: “During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” We don’t think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he “invented” the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore’s initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet.
The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.
As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship.
As Vice President Gore promoted building the Internet both up and out, as well as releasing the Internet from the control of the government agencies that spawned it.
Gore provided much-needed political support for the speedy privatization of the Internet when the time arrived for it to become a commercially-driven operation.
No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President. Gore has been a clear champion of this effort, both in the councils of government and with the public at large.
The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of the value of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.
On September 29, 2000, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn released this statement. It was largely ignored, and now, almost without exception, most people think that Al Gore creating the Internet is a joke.
When the fathers of the Internet say Al Gore created the Internet, it is real. So please give credit where credit is due.