Thursday, January 31, 2008

An Object Lesson - Why I Really Don't Like Big-Time Journalists, And Why I Accuse Them Of Bias

The story comes from Sadly, No!

First, former President Clinton, stumping in Denver for his wife's campaign, gave a speech in which he said the following:
“Everybody knows that global warming is real,” Mr. Clinton said, giving a shout-out to Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize, “but we cannot solve it alone.”

“And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada — the rich counties — would say, ‘OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.’ We could do that.

“But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world’s fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.

With me so far?

OK, so Jake Tapper, senior national correspondent with ABC, wrote the following in re this speech:
Former President Bill Clinton was in Denver, Colorado, stumping for his wife yesterday.

In a long, and interesting speech, he characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: “We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.” At a time that the nation is worried about a recession is that really the characterization his wife would want him making? “Slow down our economy”? I don’t really think there’s much debate that, at least initially, a full commitment to reduce greenhouse gases would slow down the economy….So was this a moment of candor?

He went on to say that his the U.S. — and those countries that have committed to reducing greenhouse gases — could ultimately increase jobs and raise wages with a good energy plan. So there was something of a contradiction there. Or perhaps he mis-spoke. Or perhaps this characterization was a description of what would happen if there isn’t a worldwide effort…I’m noquite certain.

Are you following this? President Clinton said that a green economy could be, and would be, a robust economy. Tapper heard Clinton say something about "slow the economy down" and his ears, and his eyes (the entire speech is posted at Tapper's blog, so he could reference it if he wanted), and his brain all shut down. "Misspoke"? "A contradiction"? No, Clinton was giving a parody of an argument against working to reduce greenhouse gases as a prelude to emphasizing the economic benefits of a green economy. It seems pretty clear to me.

Then again, I didn't go to journalism school, and I don't know what journalists do . . .

Of course, the story gets worse, not better. You see, even the loony right took issue with Tapper's description of Clinton's speech. You just have to know you've really boned up when the right-wing, which exists to hate him and his wife, will insist you mischaracterized a speech the former President made.

And Tapper, ever the brave defender of journalistic integrity, comes back and updates his previous stupid with even more stupid. Here's a tip: Jake, when you're in a whole, don't ask someone to give you a shovel; if they do, don't start digging:
This morning, trying to understand what former President Bill Clinton was driving at when he made a statement about effort to combat global warming, I posted a quote of his, put it in context, provided video links, and asked what he meant.

The Clinton campaign did not provide for me, as requested, an explanation of what he meant.

Instead, the response from the Clinton campaign is to post an item on its "fact" hub and accuse me of "parsing."

I will plead guilty to "parsing" -- the dictionary definition of the word -- "To examine closely or subject to detailed analysis, especially by breaking up into components" or "To make sense of; comprehend."

But I suspect the Clinton campaign thinks of the word "parsing" in its more colloquial sense -- as in "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

I guess I should defer to their expertise.

While this is perhaps not the lowest of low points, it is such a wonderful illustration of just how bad - and how mind-numbingly idiotic - our national journalists are, I couldn't help passing it along.

Virtual Tin Cup

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