PET PEEVE WATCH…. The AP ran a story over the weekend about the ways in which presidential hopefuls are turning to the Internet to boost their chances. It’s a fairly routine piece, but it leads with a joke that has long since outlived its usefulness.

Al Gore claimed he invented it. John McCain predicted it would revolutionize political campaigning. Howard Dean made it pay — and then some.

Ah, the Internet.

Ah, the six-year-old Gore joke. What would an article about politics and the web be without it?

In a word, better. Look, this was debunked years ago. Gore never claimed he invented it; he actually did take the lead congressional role in developing the Internet as we know it today; and media coverage of the “exaggerated” claim has always been ridiculous.

And yet, he we are, six years later, and the AP is still going for the cheap laugh. Isn’t it time to retire this joke once and for all?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.