Sunday, July 29, 2007

When journalists distort reality

Did you hear about Hillary Clinton's latest crime? We're not Hillary boosters and will call her out when we feel the need. But the always amusing Koo Koo Katrina vanden Heuvel sets us straight to Hillary's latest crime: "with the benefit of having time to think through her response, Hillary Clinton posed as the foreign policy sophisticate"! OMG.

Hillary Clinton posed as a sophisticate! Of course, she might actually be a foreign policy sophisticate -- a point that never enters the Supreme Poser's mind. We especially enjoyed the "with the benefit of having time to think through her response" line and, apparently, so did the Peace Resister Katrina vanden Heuvel since it survived her rewrite (the current post is not her original post -- when writers do revisions to previously published material, they should note that -- but that's probably a journalistic rule so it wouldn't apply to Koo Koo Katrina).

"With the benefit of having time to think through her response," cries Katrina vanden Heuvel!

We'd be sobbing to from the implication if we'd decided to toss out reality and go with Barack Obama. What Koo Koo Katrina's really confessing is that Obama isn't able to "think through" a response. Hillary did answer the question after Obama which meant she not only had to answer the question, she also had to factor in Obama's answer. We'd argue that takes a bit more skill than being the first to answer but Koo Koo sees a plot.

The real plot is that The Nation lied to readers about what went down. Only David Corn (whom Koo Koo dismissed in all versions of her post) told the truth. Now you may or may not agree with Corn's opinion and that's certainly your right. What's not right, what's not allowed, is rewriting reality.

While three other Nation writers chose to go with an impressionistic style of writing, Corn stuck with the facts of what was and was not said and built his opinions on that. Read Ari Berman, John Nichols or Koo Koo Katrina and you'll be lost because they shade reality.

How bad of a candidate is Barack Obama that three writers for one magazine have to drop out inconvenient details that the rest of us call facts?

From the transcript:

QUESTION: In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since.
In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?
COOPER: I should also point out that Stephen is in the crowd tonight.
Senator Obama?
OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous.
Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.
And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.

That is the record, it's one John Nichols, Ari Berman and Katrina vanden Heuvel prefer to ignore. It's equally interesting how the target of their ire is Hillary Clinton when John Edwards, following Hillary Clinton, also shot down Obama's response. Can Lakshme get us an article on that? How men are given a pass but Hillary's attacked? (Mike says he'd be willing to post something at his site first if Lakshme can't think of how to open the article herself.)

"I would" is fairly straight forward, however, 'helpful' types saying he was speaking conditionally.

He was speaking conditionally in reply to a question that states "without precondition"?

The only conditional is if he gets into the White House.

Now you can agree with his take on it or not. What you can't do is lie about how it went it down.

In Koo Koo Katrina's rewrite (link goes to Common Dreams) she has no mention of John Edwards and appears to engage in Bash the Bitch which isn't a surprise when you consider that under her leadership the publishing record for women averages out to 1 woman for almost every four men. John Nichols works himself into a frenzy (link goes to Common Dreams) as he attempts to paint Hillary Clinton as the new Henry Kissinger. We're not aware Hillary advocated the bombing of Cambodia, John. In fact, last time we checked, Hillary could travel around the world without fear of arrest. Like Koo Koo, Nichols sidesteps the issue of John Edwards agreeing with Hillary (and disagreeing with Obama) by ignoring it. Both also ignore that the question was in your first year and without precondition. Air Berman, to his credit, notes Edwards' agreement. (No link because we're not interested in linking to The Nation. David Corn is the only link in this piece that goes to The Nation. Berman and Corn were not reposted at Common Dreams.) Berman loses credit for refusing to note the actual disagreement (or even quote from it) and instead turning it into a political dynamics article that only Koo Koo Katrina could praise as a "smart and sharp counter" to Corn's journalistic column.

Was Obama right or wrong? We all agree he was wrong and revealed not only inexperience but bad judgement. But it really doesn't matter what your opinion of the exchange was if alleged journalists won't tell you what actually happened.

This is the sort of thing that the 2000 campaign was slammed for, or rather, mainstream press -- usually women -- were slammed for. If you were opposed to their fact-free dispatches when the subject was Al Gore, you should be opposed to fact-free dispatches period.

The debate was a public event. Attempting to rewrite reality is embarrassing at best. The fact remains that of the four writers for The Nation, only Corn quoted the exchange in full. (No lopping off words to make Obama look better.) Only Corn provided a link. Do you get that? Do you get that writers who distorted what happened provided their readers with no link to check them out? Berman linked to everything he could think of in his piece (including The National Review) but didn't link to the video or transcript. We find that sad. As sad as attempting to link Hillary to the DLC (did she join as First Lady?) while avoiding Obama's own DLC roots.

Obama embarrassed himself in many ways during the YouTube 'debate.' It's a measure of how untested their cult of personality candidate is that his supporters have to alter what he said and what actually went down. It's also a measure of the hatred for Hillary that she's taken to task for her answer and Nichols and vanden Heuvel avoid mentioning John Edwards had the same answer.
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