Yesterday, ABC News aired part one of an interview between Charlie Gibson and Sarah Palin:
In addition, both the Washington Post and the Associated Press carried stories about her speech before her son’s infantry unit at a ceremony prior to its deployment to Iraq. In both instances, the ABC interview on the one hand and the articles on the other, there were gross misrepresentations of the truth that verge on journalistic malpractice.
In the TV interview, Gibson grossly mischaracterizes Palin’s meaning in a prayer at her church: relying on a truncated quote, he tries to leave the audience with the impression that Palin thinks "God is on our side," rather than the truth, which was a paraphrase of Lincoln’s "it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side." There’s a tremendous difference between the two and, if this is an example of the mainstream media’s vigorous research and fact-checking, maybe they should hire a couple of library–school students.
I link to this below, but I want to highlight this remarkable quote from a professor of government on Sarah Palin’s understanding of Lincoln’s quote and Gibson’s misunderstanding:
Unlike Palin and Lincoln, Gibson "doesn’t have a prayer." I second the high marks you give her performance. We have in her a leader who doesn’t merely quote from time to time an old chestnut from a Lincoln speech, but who has clearly reflected on one of the most extraordinary and moderate dispositions to divine providence ever taught by a leader in wartime, and found it worthy of adoption and emulation in her own speeches. What’s more, she is able to explain gracefully, to a man posing as a human resources executive, what she was saying in her prayer. That Gibson understood her explanation is doubtful. Perhaps he needs a lesson in the meaning of the subjunctive mood (and I have no doubt Governor Palin could give him one). More likely, he suffers from God Derangement Syndrome, the mere mention of God shutting down brain synapses.
The WaPo and AP articles both state that Palin was linking the former Hussein regime in Iraq to 9-11, something, as they put it, even the Bush Administration doesn’t do anymore.
Trouble is, both assertions are untrue. Here’s the AP clip, from journalist Brett Blackledge:
In her speech to the troops and their families, she linked the [9-11 –ed.] terrorist attacks to the Iraq war—a claim no longer supported by the Bush administration.
She told the troops headed to Iraq that they would "be there to defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced from the death of thousands of Americans."
Claims that Iraq shared responsibility for the attacks with al-Qaida were once promoted by administration officials, but have since been rejected, even by President Bush.
Two things are wrong here:
First, the organization known as "al Qaeda in Iraq" is in Iraq and it is a part of the larger al Qaeda, which did indeed carry out the attacks of September 11th. So, what Palin said is correct – we are there fighting the same organization that killed thousands of our own people in 2001.
Second, pace Blackledge and the Post’s Anne Kornblut, the Bush Administration never said Hussein’s government was involved in the planning or execution of the 9-11 attacks. Never. This is one of the great straw-man arguments the Left and their allies in the media use to delegitimize the war in Iraq by making it seem based on a lie or at best a mistake.
But the argument itself is untrue. The administration has never asserted this. In fact, they have gone so far as to dismiss claims by Czech intelligence that one of the lead operatives on the 9-11 assault, Mohammad Atta, met with an Iraqi agent in Prague in 2000 or 2001. (Czech intelligence sticks to their story.) In the run-up to the Iraq war, when pressed again and again to state that Saddam’s Iraq was involved in 9-11, Vice-President Cheney would at most say "We have no evidence to indicate that." That’s a long way from what Blackledge and Kornblut claim (and the BDS-suffering Left) claim. They seem instead to prefer a common wisdom that’s all too common and not at all wise.
So, what’s going on here? Is it active media prejudice against Republicans, conservatives, and religious people? (God help them if they’re all three!) An a priori assumption that the invasion and liberation of Iraq just had to be a mistake? Sloppy and lazy journalism under the pressure of deadlines?
To be honest, I think all these (and maybe others, too) are in play here. Whatever the truth is, we therefore shouldn’t wonder at the declining circulation and viewership of MSM papers and networks: the bias is plain to the public and it therefore doesn’t trust the media.
Whether media bias is born of malice or ignorance, they’d better do something to straighten themselves out, before they’re left talking only to each other.
LINKS: More at Just One Minute, Sister Toldjah, Power Line (and here and here, too).
THERE MAY BE HOPE YET DEPARTMENT: Liberal columnist Kirsten Powers writes a fair column assessing Palin’s interview and excoriating ABC and Gibson. (via Gateway Pundit)
Technorati tags: Sarah Palin
, media bias
, Brett Blackledge
, Ann Kornblut
, Lincoln quote
, God is on our side
, Charlie Gibson
, September 11th
, al Qaeda in Iraq
, al Qaeda
, Mohammad Atta