Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 31, 2008

'SLOW DOWN OUR ECONOMY'?.... ABC News' Jake Tapper has caused quite a stir with an item this morning about a speech Bill Clinton delivered yesterday in Denver.

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?

Actually, no, it's a moment taken out of context in such a way as to change the meaning of the sentence. Consider what Clinton actually said.

"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."

Tapper appears to have gotten the story backwards. He wrote that Clinton "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.'" Clinton actually argued the opposite.

But Tapper's mistake is spreading quickly.

The Republican National Committee, among others, are making hay of the ABC report. "Senator Clinton's campaign now says we must 'slow down the economy' to stop global warming," Alex Conant, an RNC spokesperson, said. "Clinton needs to come back to Earth. Her 'tax-it, spend-it, regulate-it' attitude would really bring the economy crashing down."

Please. How misleading was Tapper's report? Far-right blogs are criticizing it. The Corner's Iain Murray wrote:

[The ABC] video is actually (and again, I can't believe I'm saying this) really unfair to Bill Clinton. The biter bit, you may say, but I don't believe this sort of manipulation by the media is in any way helpful. The clip is out of context.... That's not good journalism in any sense.

Hot Air added:

I have to say, as much as I loathe Billy Jeff and all, ABC is misrepresenting what he said. Sure, he uttered the line about slowing down the economy, but he followed that with an explanation of why that's a bad idea.... The bottom line is that, for whatever reason, ABC actually played Clinton's "slow down the economy" line unfairly.

When conservative bloggers are defending Bill Clinton against bad journalism, you know the journalism has to be really bad.

Nevertheless, I'm afraid with the RNC and Townhall.com pushing the bogus story line, we may be looking at media malpractice along the lines of "inventing the Internet." How soon until pundits are simply asserting, as fact, the notion that Bill Clinton wants to "slow down our economy"?

Steve Benen 2:28 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (101)

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Comments

This guy started out as a fairly untalented cartoonist for the Capitol Hill rag, Roll Call. Hard to imagine how he rose to even be in a position at one of the major networks to spread this misinformation.

Posted by: Pat on January 31, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

How soon until pundits are simply asserting, as fact, the notion that Bill Clinton wants to "slow down our economy"?


Cue Broder in 5, 4, 3....

Posted by: TonyC on January 31, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, let's build the next generation of Hummers and stop worrying about those silly scientists and this worthless planet.

Posted by: chuck on January 31, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Why be truthful when you can be...truthy?

Posted by: Kryptik on January 31, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Shocked!

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on January 31, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Chalk one up for the reality-distortion powers of MSM corporate employment!

Tapper used to do pretty good work when he was at Salon. But like Rey Suarez, he's become "one of them." It's too bad.

Tapper's asinine twisting demonstrates the shift from being a journalist to being a "playa." Rather then doing hard journalism, he's playing the same polemical games all his corporate colleagues play.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on January 31, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously Jake Tapper has drunk the Obama Kool-Aid! Do we know for a fact that he isn't working for Mr. Dreamy's campaign? Unless he can prove otherwise, I'm going to assume he is based on this outrageously transparent incident.

If Obama had been misquoted like this, his swooning groupies would be threatening to blow up ABC headquarters with their dynamite-spiked incense and flowers. Instead, you all defend Tapper here. So much for "bringing us together" to a "higher place"!

Posted by: franklycrazy on January 31, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Wow.

"Tapper's mistake"

Ha!

Posted by: Swan on January 31, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if I've ever seen anything so directly and clearly taken out of context by a major national news organization. This is an outright disgrace that clearly is even beyond the dirty tricks of the average GOP water carrier. Good job ABC. Way to bring that reputation around.

Posted by: Nobcentral on January 31, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

But like Rey Suarez, he's become "one of them." It's too bad.

Assuming you mean Ray Suarez, he's become one of what? Have to say, never thought working as a correspondent for PBS might be considered selling out.

Posted by: junebug on January 31, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Tapper is just doing what the American media does best: screw it up for their corporatist agenda.
Distortion, misinformation and deception are not media bugs, those are their most vaunted features.

Posted by: Mike on January 31, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

It certainly seems from the debates going on at our new-ish On Day One website, that there is much consternation over the Clintons. Undoubtedly, sounds like an unfair characterization by Jake Tapper. But are the Clintons just reaping what they've sown? Their press strategy has been controversial before. No doubt Tapper is getting the brunt of it today.

Posted by: On Day One on January 31, 2008 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

I just linked to the correct text because I know I am going to have to send it out all over the place in the next few days as I get bombarded by friends and otherwise. dammit. Who has time to constantly correct this crap?

Posted by: Dawn on January 31, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

This in all likelihood wasn't a mistake. It was an attempt to attract the attention from Drudge and generate traffic.

Posted by: Tyro on January 31, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. That's really appalling. I support Obama, but deeper that my support for Obama is my distrust for our awful media, and I have to admit that they've been treating the Clintons unbelievably unfairly in quite a few incidents. A lot of it the Clintons deserve of course (Jesse Jackson! Florida counts!), but stuff like this is preposterous.

Posted by: greg on January 31, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Where is the video. It needs to be spread far and wide. If this story is true the words "Jake Tapper" need to become a verb meaning bad journalism.

How does Tapper keep his job anyway? In the old days he would have been out on his ass for writing a story that tarnished the name of his rag. The owner would have read the report and called the publisher who would have called the managing editor telling him that he had a choice: "fire Tapper" or be fired himself. The firing would have been loud so as to restore the rags reputation. I guess the rules of journalism are different now.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 31, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Jake is just a little more ham-handed than most of the press. Broderists want a horse race, and they'll use just about any tactic, beating up any front runner, to get it.

The thing that the Obama people don't, or can't admit is every time they cheer the press going after Clinton, they'll have to cry a dozen times when it's their turn. And none of us on the left will win.

The blogosphere has completely lost its rudder on this: until we tame the press, we get nothing.

Posted by: Meerkat on January 31, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Getting a story so wrong (deliberately?) should be cause for dismissal/reprimand.

Posted by: don'tknow on January 31, 2008 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

That's jake.tapper@abc.com
and support@abcnews.go.com (subject line: abcnews.com editorial)

Posted by: Mike on January 31, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Welcome to Idiocracy.

The media's reliance on sound-bites (which they often talk over anyway) has devastated public and political discourse. It's extremely difficult if not actually impossible for politicians (et. al.) to convey any meaningful nuance to ideas, concepts, or arguments.

If you slip-up, people will hear about it. If you speak a sentence that will be misunderstood if not reported in context, it will be misrepresented. This obviously has a chilling effect on politicians speaking candidly and/or extemporaneously (the risk of a slip-up or being taken out of context is too high).

The media treats its viewers as though they have ADD and do not have the patience or mental competence to hear thoughts that cannot be expressed in 10 words or less. Reporters are also starting to resemble bad stereotypes of stoned teenagers - they rarely understand what people are saying to them, and instead seem to bother listening only for the opportunity to point and laugh if someone says a funny word.

Add this to the list of reasons why American Democracy is failing. And falling.

Posted by: Augustus on January 31, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Just heard Rush repeating this crap and of course Drudge is beating the drums as well.

Tapper goes back and instead of apologizing for being misleading complains that Hillary is attacking him for "parsing." Jerk.

Posted by: Teresa on January 31, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

The thing that the Obama people don't, or can't admit is every time they cheer the press going after Clinton, they'll have to cry a dozen times when it's their turn.

It is pretty simple explanation:
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Human nature has been that way forever.

You want to say it isn't rational?
Go ahead.
That's where the cheap debating points lie.
And not much else.

One could just as easily aver:
Well maybe if the Clintons' weren't such divisive creatures.
Maybe then this wouldn't happen.
Maybe...


Posted by: liberal historian on January 31, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Part of the problem is the unclearness of Clinton's alternative to slowing the economy. He begins by stating (correctly, in my view) that reducing greenhouse gases will slow the economy (that is, will make us poorer.) In the second paragraph Clinton says we must "prove it [fighting global warming] is good economics that we will create more jobs..."

Well, which is it? Does reducing greenhouse gases slow the economy or create more jobs? IMHO it's the former. That's why countries like China and India don't want to do it.

Incidentally, I think Clinton's reference to the creation of more jobs reflects his failure to understand the famous parable of the broken window, created by Frédéric Bastiat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 31, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

The misquote was just repeated on To the Point on NPR.

Posted by: nana_karina on January 31, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

The thing that the Obama people don't, or can't admit is every time they cheer the press going after Clinton, they'll have to cry a dozen times when it's their turn.

What's not to admit? Of course Obama will be attacked, but if he gets the nomination then instead of the attacks coming from the left they'll be coming from the right.

But so what? I support Obama because I think he'd be a better president. I don't support Hillary because I think she'd be a bad president. Lots of Obama supporters are less afraid of a Hillary presidency than I am, but they still support Obama because they think he'd be a better president.

Posted by: bobb on January 31, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

If you speak a sentence that will be misunderstood if not reported in context, it will be misrepresented.

That's correct. And at the risk of sounding like I'm blaming the victim here (I'm not), I'm going to suggest that Tapper's misrepresentation, while egregious, is just the latest in a string of similar events that, taken together, should have alerted any seasoned politician by now that saying stuff like this is dangerous.

If any part of a speech, any sentence, can't stand alone, it is at risk of being misreported and twisted out of context the way this was. Sometimes you can't come at your point any other way, and sometimes the risk is worth taking. Sometimes--like at the height of a heated primary election--it's not.

Food for thought for the Democratic speechwriters out there...but none of this implies we should stop pushing back against journalistic excrescences of this sort.

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

The Obamamaniacs need to pay close attention and take notes. This is what's going to happen to your boy when he faces McCain and the swiftboaters. And if all his campaign is based on is rhetoric, he'll get his ass handed to him.

Posted by: rbe on January 31, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

So shortstop, you are saying "we should stop pushing back against journalistic excrescences of this sort." You should be ashamed.

Posted by: Bush Lover on January 31, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

The Obamamaniacs need to pay close attention and take notes. This is what's going to happen to your boy when he faces McCain and the swiftboaters. And if all his campaign is based on is rhetoric, he'll get his ass handed to him.

Of course, since he's just one guy, he's only half as likely as Bill and Hillary to be misquoted.

And lately the Clinton campaign has done a worse job at interpreting Obama's remarks than the MSM, so I'm not inclined to give Bill too much sympathy.

Posted by: sweaty guy on January 31, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Sometimes you can't come at your point any other way, and sometimes the risk is worth taking. Sometimes--like at the height of a heated primary election--it's not.

Yes indeed. You have to really question the judgement of letting the "First Cannon" opine semi-learnedly on the economy at this moment. Of course, the right understands exactly what the Clinton machine is up to at this critical moment: Remind everyone what a robust economy we all enjoyed during the run up of the Internet bubble.

One can hardly blame them for seizing on an ambiguous Clinton moment and dashing for the end zone.

Posted by: liberal historian on January 31, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Mr. Tapper,

I must admit that I have a hard time figuring out how you could not understand what was patently wrong with your piece. You took one line out of a longer statement, based an article on it, and then printed the entire statement. Fine as far as fitting in certain journalistic necessities, but you come to a conclusion and basis for your article that is 180 degrees from what was said in the longer statement.

This leads me to only 2 possible conclusions of my own:

1- That you are just a partisan hack and this was a deliberate hit piece. If so fine, but be honest about it.

2- You are simply not smart enough to pass a 5th grade reading comprehension test. If so, it is understandable but still you should try to find a line of work you can handle. Journalism is not for you. Perhaps it is time for you to learn to say “would you like fries with that”

Hard call. Then again it doesn’t help that this is ABC, the same outfit that broadcast that revisionist nonsense movie on the September 11 attacks.

Welcome to the main stream media: making Journalistic Integrity an oxymoron, one story at a time.

Posted by: clyde on January 31, 2008 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

If any part of a speech, any sentence, can't stand alone, it is at risk of being misreported and twisted out of context the way this was. Sometimes you can't come at your point any other way, and sometimes the risk is worth taking. Sometimes--like at the height of a heated primary election--it's not.

Oh, but c'mon, you just can't talk like that -- no human being can. It's simply impossible to give speech after speech, interview after interview, day after day for years at a time and not say a single sentence that couldn't be misinterpreted or taken out of context.

Posted by: Stefan on January 31, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Call me crazy, but I think it would be great if Obama addressed this at the debate, pointing out how damaging it is to political discourse for the press to take a statement out of context in order to come up with a sensational by-line.

Posted by: cowalker on January 31, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Who has time to constantly correct this crap?

Nobody. That's why it works.

Bush Lover at 3:21 -- that was brilliant. I had to go back and read shortstop's post again and if it hadn't been so close by, I'd have shaken my head sadly and muttered "shortstop used to be on our side."

Posted by: thersites on January 31, 2008 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

The Obamamaniacs need to pay close attention and take notes. This is what's going to happen to your boy when he faces McCain and the swiftboaters.

That's right. And remember: don't protest or point out the errors. That just makes you look whiny and unable to handle criticism. It's best to just stoically submit to the omnipotent right-wing consipiracy. You better start looking for new jobs for your Democratic congressmen and start saving up for legal defense fund contributions.

Posted by: ao on January 31, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

And at the risk of sounding like I'm blaming the victim here (I'm not), I'm going to suggest that Tapper's misrepresentation, while egregious, is just the latest in a string of similar events that, taken together, should have alerted any seasoned politician by now that saying stuff like this is dangerous.

shortstop, I find it appalling that you're blaming the victim here.....

Posted by: Stefan on January 31, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

The ABC network may exceed even Fox in its open hostility to the Clintons. This was almost certainly an editorial decision. It is likely that Tapper knew what exactly what he was doing as did his superiors.

Posted by: rk on January 31, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK
Call me crazy, but I think it would be great if Obama addressed this at the debate, pointing out how damaging it is to political discourse for the press to take a statement out of context in order to come up with a sensational by-line.

You are crazy.

Did you not see that spoof the initial debates:

Clinton: 1:12-- Insult
Obama: 1:14--Compliment
Clinton: 1:17-- Insult
Clinton 1:19-- Insult
Clinton 1:20-- Insult
Obama: 1:25--Compliment
Obama: 1:26--Compliment
Edwards: 1:27--Story about the Mill
Clinton 1:29-- Insult
Clinton 1:30-- Insult

The snake can hiss its own horn and rattle it's own tail.

It doesn't need Barack Obama's help...

Posted by: Herpetologist-Dem on January 31, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

So shortstop, you are saying "we should stop pushing back against journalistic excrescences of this sort." You should be ashamed.

I took the risk, didn't I? And I even smiled when I was typing it, as I'm smiling at you now.

Stefan: Oh, but c'mon, you just can't talk like that -- no human being can. It's simply impossible to give speech after speech, interview after interview, day after day for years at a time and not say a single sentence that couldn't be misinterpreted or taken out of context.

But I didn't suggest that it was possible. As I pointed out in the very quote you cut and pasted, sometimes you have to make the point you want to make and take the risk. I'm simply saying that someone who's been in politics as long as Bill Clinton has, who has been misrepresented as often as he has and who for the past several weeks has been a controversial figure in a boiling-hot primary campaign might have worded this particular passage in this particular speech differently.

Saying that someone might have seen it coming isn't the same as saying he had it coming. It's saying, "Keep pushing back, but exercise more care going forward."

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

The Obamamaniacs need to pay close attention and take notes. This is what's going to happen to your boy when he faces McCain and the swiftboaters.

Yes, but so what? That would be true for any Democratic candidate. And as someone else pointed out, with Hillary you get double the danger, because Bill is going to be out there shooting his mouth off, doing big financial deals, etc. Not stuff that Hillary has already had to explain, but new stuff entirely.

And how much confidence do you have that the new stuff that Bill will do won't include a little skirt chasing on the side? Or is it just that you think he can chase the skirts and keep it off of drudge?

Posted by: bobb on January 31, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

This is total bullshit.
I sent my letter to abc.com. How about you?

Posted by: w on January 31, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Jack Tapper is not a reliable source. Frequently he insinutes or infers things that are not backed up by creditable evidence. As long as he is not challenged, he pretty much gets to make up what he likes. If you examine his educational background, you will find that he's an authority on just about nothing. Yet somehow he is a senior political correspondent at ABC. I'd be careful about accepting Tapper's insights, and wary of those who offer his work as strong evidence.

Posted by: Geoff on January 31, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

And lately the Clinton campaign has done a worse job at interpreting Obama's remarks than the MSM, so I'm not inclined to give Bill too much sympathy.

Look, the former President was out of line with some of the things he said in attack-dog mode, but any sense of schadenfreude is out of place here. The man was talking sense on an issue that matters a great deal to us Democrats, and Tapper's decision to quote selectively undermines the argument for doing something about the problem of global warming. It's incumbent on us to call bullshit on Tapper here. This kind of pettiness doesn't serve progressive interests.

Posted by: junebug on January 31, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

...I'm blaming the victim here...

You should be more careful what you say and how you say it.

Posted by: AJ on January 31, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'm simply saying that ... Bill Clinton has ... a ... figure ... boiling-hot...

The shame of it.

Posted by: thersites on January 31, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

LOL, AJ's a little late off the mark.

bobb: And how much confidence do you have that the new stuff that Bill will do won't include a little skirt chasing on the side? Or is it just that you think he can chase the skirts and keep it off of drudge?

Tweeeeeet! Out of bounds! Please, let's stick to the dumb things he's doing/done instead of the dumb things he might do. We all have busy schedules and limited time to dissect the personal failures of the candidates and their spouses in this fun-filled campaign season.

Actually, I shouldn't be so sarcastic about this season of joy. I went to vote yesterday (early voting) and it was the most fun I can remember having at a polling place. I burst out laughing thinking about how the Florida Republicans were down there drooping and trailing and moaning like Eeyore while I was happily making my way through my ballot.

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Now, that's misquoting me, thersites. Everyone knows I think it's Huckabee who has the boiling-hot figure.

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

I went to vote yesterday (early voting) and it was the most fun I can remember having at a polling place.

I plan on trudging through the snow in an hour or so, but why don't you help a brother out, shortstop -- who gets the nod for Water Commissioner?

Posted by: junebug on January 31, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm simply saying that someone who's been in politics as long as Bill Clinton has, who has been misrepresented as often as he has and who for the past several weeks has been a controversial figure in a boiling-hot primary campaign might have worded this particular passage in this particular speech differently.

But how would you know? How on earth would you know beforehand that you should word this particular passage in particular speech any more carefully? A biased or lazy reporter could take almost everything you say out of context -- there's no way to defend against it. And frankly, Clinton's statement was quite plain and unexcioptonal -- only deliberate dishonesty or exceptional stupidity could have let anyone to misinterpret it.

Posted by: Stefan on January 31, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK
Tapper appears to have gotten the story backwards.

"Gotten the story backwards" seems to be a really longwinded way of saying "lied".

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

ex:
there's no reason that switching fromone energy source to another makes u poorer, especially if the energy sources are cleaner and more efficient.
When a factory decides to computerize workflow, say, it requires a capital outlay. Profits go down from where they could have been, and some idiots whoyawp about 'maximizing shareholder value' might complain, but adults will realize that investments must be made to keep up with conditions, and will have benefits in the long run,

It's Bill's precse point that this is not austerity, or pulling back, this is investment in a better way of doing things. What we will end up with is a cleaner, more flexible, sustainable energy system, that not only lessens a disaster but breaks us free from bad old systems.

Money invested in improvements is not money lost. Spending money on home improvements does not make us poorer.

Reducing greenhouse gases costs money, but so does new windows and a new furnace.

Posted by: pbg on January 31, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Saying that someone might have seen it coming isn't the same as saying he had it coming.

So you're saying that someone might have seen it coming is the same as saying he had it coming? Well, I disagree with you.

Posted by: Stefan on January 31, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

I suggest not voting for Frank Avila, junie. Beyond that, I don't personally have any strong objections to the rest of them. Spyropoulas seems to have the best environmental record.

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2008 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK
Part of the problem is the unclearness of Clinton's alternative to slowing the economy.

There is nothing unclear at all in what he is saying. You seem to be making it unclear by forcing it through the assumption that he fundamentally agrees with (and is stating agreement with) your preconception.

He begins by stating (correctly, in my view) that reducing greenhouse gases will slow the economy (that is, will make us poorer.)

No, he doesn't. This seems to be the source of your perception of unclearness. He states that one apparent way to reduce greenhouse gases might be simply to slow down the economy. He does not say that reducing greenhouse gases will cause an economic slowdown, but that slowing the economy could seen as a means to reduce greenhouse gases (at least, that the rich nations could see that as a viable means of doing so). You've reversed the suggested cause and effect in his statement.

He then goes on to suggest that while that might be a viable option for the rich nations, that could afford a slower economy (and hence, getting richer less rapidly), that its not a viable option for the poor nations, and that their going to work very hard to catch up one way or the other, so slowing the economy to reduce greenhouse gases doesn't work.

In the second paragraph, Clinton goes on to conclude that, since slowing down the economy will not work, the only way to have a realistic effort to combat global warming is for the rich nations to lead the way in showing how taking the right actions to combat global warming can be a source of growth.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

How on earth would you know beforehand that you should word this particular passage in particular speech any more carefully? A biased or lazy reporter could take almost everything you say out of context -- there's no way to defend against it.

Because some passages are more obviously prone to being misrepresented and have bigger repercussions if they are. Look at Clinton's passage in print. As they read that over, how could no red flags have presented themselves to his team? What about the number of words it took him to spin out the point? Does that look like something an editor is likely to excerpt in full?

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

If you speak a sentence that will be misunderstood if not reported in context, it will be misrepresented.

The meaning of your communication is the response to it.

Posted by: Grinder and Bandler on January 31, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, you may be right that Clinton said slowing the economy would reduce greenhouse gases, rather than saying that reducing greenhouse gases would slow the economy. His quote is somewhat ambiguous, but your interpretation is probably correct.

However, I'll stick with my belief that Clinton was falling for Bastiat's fallacy. I think that expending large amounts of capital to reduce greenhouse gases will indeed hurt the economy.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 31, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Read a few previous blogs from Tapper, and well.....it sounds like he's posts nothing but tripe.

Posted by: Quinn on January 31, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

There is simply no way to craft a statement so that someone who is interested in fitting it into a preconceived narrative and who is willing to deliberately reverse its meaning 180 degrees in order to do so can't find a way to do just that.

Since that is exactly what happened here, and no reasonable person could read or hear the original statement in full and believe that what Tapper presented was anything but extraordinarily dishonest selective quotation plus outright lying, there is also no reasonable argument that Clinton should have done something to prevent it.

Let's put the blame for lying on the actual liar here, rather than the person being lied about. Even if, you know, he's married to someone who isn't your first choice for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell is going on over at ABC? First they had that badly misleading story accusing Obama of yelling at a NYT reporter when he didn't, and now this. If this is the "liberal media," what do we need a conservative media for?

Posted by: Hyde on January 31, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Path to 9/11, anyone?

As for why ABC chooses to compete with Fox News (sic) Channel for the conservative Wurlizter title...well...There could be all sorts of reasons behind that.

Posted by: grape_crush on January 31, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Let's put the blame for lying on the actual liar here, rather than the person being lied about. Even if, you know, he's married to someone who isn't your first choice for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency.

Cute snark. Not particularly reflective of what I actually said, but creative. And not unexpected, given the events of the day.

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's good to see that the Clintons are immune to being slimed by the media....

Posted by: Disputo on January 31, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely's 4:07 interpretation of the Clinton statement is exactly right which leads directly to the conclusion that Jake Tapper is either a dishonest hack or lacks the reading skills to be a professional journalist. The former seems more likely than the later.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 31, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Because some passages are more obviously prone to being misrepresented and have bigger repercussions if they are. Look at Clinton's passage in print. As they read that over, how could no red flags have presented themselves to his team? What about the number of words it took him to spin out the point? Does that look like something an editor is likely to excerpt in full?

OK, just for fun why not try to write your own version of the passage conveying Clinton's message and then post it, and see if people here can't immediately misrepresent and misquote it. I say it can't be done.

Posted by: Stefan on January 31, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

grape_crush, I have a hunch that good old Jake is in the running for this week's Wurlitzer Prize.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 31, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

All the more reason why we need to commence discussions that address the obvious and compelling need for media reform. If I had displayed this sort of reprehensible ethical standard when I was in my high school journalism class and writing for my school paper, I'd have been flunked, plain and simple.

"Journalists" like ABC's Jake Tapper, U.S. News' Gloria Borger, and the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Cici Connelly (she of the infamous "Al Gore invented the internet" meme), et al., are apparently no longer interested in sober journalism and honest analysis -- rather, they're willfully misinterpreting it to sway public opinion, and in the process they become the story themselves, enmeshed in their own bylines.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 31, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK
Cute snark. Not particularly reflective of what I actually said

That wasn't snark and it wasn't specific to what you said, it was a general comment in response to the "blame the victim" thing going on here which you are hardly the only one who has engaged in. I have something specific to say about a particular thing you say, I'll probably refer to you by name and/or quote the bit I'm responding to.


And not unexpected, given the events of the day.

What is that supposed to mean, anyway? That I've just been running off in an unhinged defense of the Clintons today? I'm sure frankly0 wouldn't see things that way...

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2008 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

This is what's going to happen to your boy when he faces McCain and the swiftboaters. And if all his campaign is based on is rhetoric, he'll get his ass handed to him.

I'm not worried. Obama has withstood HRC's swiftboater crew quite nicely.

Posted by: Disputo on January 31, 2008 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: "I think that expending large amounts of capital to reduce greenhouse gases will indeed hurt the economy."

Then shoving a large plastic cork up your ass and supergluing it in place will just have to suffice.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 31, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Let's put the blame for lying on the actual liar here, rather than the person being lied about. Even if, you know, he's married to someone who isn't your first choice for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency.

Really? Tapper's spouse isn't shortstop's first choice?

Posted by: thersites on January 31, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

If this is the "liberal media," what do we need a conservative media for?

To reminding people that Obama is a black muslim terrorist... wait, I fergit, we got the HRC campaign for that....

Posted by: Disputo on January 31, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

"But Tapper's mistake is spreading quickly."

Calling such an obvious misinterpretation, happening to someone who makes a living on his communication skills, a sheer "mistake", sounds very naive to me.
:-/
Imho this is a deliberate falsification by a journalist who either wants to get his big coup, by whatever means it takes, or is actively working against the Clinton campaign!

Posted by: Gray on January 31, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think that expending large amounts of capital to reduce greenhouse gases will indeed hurt the economy.

Yeah, large capital expenditures always lead to depressions....

Posted by: Disputo on January 31, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK
Really? Tapper's spouse isn't shortstop's first choice?

Now, see, my sentence (specifically, the pronoun use) was ambiguous, unlike Clinton's.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Herpetologist-Dem:

"Clinton: 1:12-- Insult
Obama: 1:14--Compliment
Clinton: 1:17-- Insult
Clinton 1:19-- Insult
Clinton 1:20-- Insult
Obama: 1:25--Compliment
Obama: 1:26--Compliment
Edwards: 1:27--Story about the Mill
Clinton 1:29-- Insult
Clinton 1:30-- Insult

"The snake can hiss its own horn and rattle it's own tail.

"It doesn't need Barack Obama's help..."

But how's that strategy working for her? I'd say it's working better for Obama. Obama would look even better and I think it would be a good thing to address this loathesome practice by the press directly.

Yeah, I'm crazy.

Posted by: cowalker on January 31, 2008 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Right, the Clintons have been playing the "race card" by what again?

Oh yeah, there was that episode where according to Bob Hebert, they seem to have told their "surrogate" Andrew Young to make a statement claiming that Bill Clinton has probably been with more black women than Obama.

Huh?

The Clintons told Andrew Young to say this?! And this was "playing the race card"?

Wow, I can see that America is not ready for democracy yet.

Posted by: JR on January 31, 2008 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

According to Tapper ABC must mean "Anything but Correct."

Posted by: Tripp on January 31, 2008 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

I say it can't be done.

Of course it can't be done, Stefan; I never argued that it could. What I did say was that some misrepresentations, misquotes and lies have larger repercussions than others. "Clinton wants to slow down the economy" is, to put it mildly, a biggie. That might--might--have been avoided had his people simply recast his point in fewer words and a more direct way.

Look, despite my having said up front that I'm not blaming the victim, that we should push back against this crap and that this was a heinous move on Tapper's/ABC's part, there appears to be a sense here that I'm being unfair to Clinton. Let me put it this way: This stuff is outrageous, and I'm as pissed as anyone here about it. Honest Abe. And I recognize that it will continue to happen to one extent or another (none of them slight) no matter what precautions we take. That is the horrendous current state of the media.

What I'm suggesting is that, since we are fully acquainted with the atrocious state of journalism, we can somewhat mitigate the damage from this kind of thing through taking some care in identifying the opportunities we put out there. I don't think it out of line to suggest that we work to minimize--not eliminate, for that's an impossibility--some of the obvious openings for this kind of thing even as we speak out strongly and decisively.

If you think that reading through speeches with an eye for the more obvious ways one can be misrepresented isn't a worthwhile exercise because of its certain failure to prevent all or even most of the misrepresentation, or you believe that doing so would prevent none of the misrepresentation, we should probably agree to disagree.

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Obama has withstood HRC's swiftboater crew quite nicely.

Don't kid yourself. "HRC's swiftboater crew," if they even exist, are rank amateurs compared to the Repubs.

reminding people that Obama is a black muslim terrorist.

Worse than that. He's a (shudder) liberal!

Posted by: thersites on January 31, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

funny, shortstop, I knew precisely what you meant the first time you said it... why didn't anyone else, I wonder....

Posted by: Disputo on January 31, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, this sentence was originally: I don't think it out of line to suggest that we work to minimize--not eliminate, for that's an impossibility--some of the obvious openings for this kind of thing even as we speak out strongly and decisively against media misconduct.

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2008 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK
What I'm suggesting is that, since we are fully acquainted with the atrocious state of journalism, we can somewhat mitigate the damage from this kind of thing through taking some care in identifying the opportunities we put out there.

I'll take arguments on these lines seriously as relevant to the immediate issue when someone points to a concrete way the same message could have been conveyed that would be:
1) As clear and effective in conveying its message to honest listeners and readers, and
2) Substantially more difficult for dishonest relayers to lie about with scattered out-of-context quotes glued together with outright lies, innuendo, and spin.

Sure, there are statements that are clumsy and which lend themselves to even honest listeners getting the wrong take-away message, and its a basic and universal maxim that those are to be avoided in a political campaign. And its at least abstractly conceivable that some statements could lend themselves more to misrepresentation, but if this particular statement is argued to be a case of that, I'd like to see an argument for thatbeyond "Tapper lied about it, therefore Clinton is at least partly at fault for enabling the lie."

If you think that reading through speeches with an eye for the more obvious ways one can be misrepresented isn't a worthwhile exercise because of its certain failure to prevent all or even most of the misrepresentation, or you believe that doing so would prevent none of the misrepresentation, we should probably agree to disagree.

I think its abstractly true but irrelevant to the specific events that this thread concerns.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2008 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Gah...

I think its abstractly true but irrelevant to the specific events that this thread concerns.

Abstractly true, of course, that is a worthwhile exercise, not that it is not.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 31, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to see an argument for thatbeyond "Tapper lied about it, therefore Clinton is at least partly at fault for enabling the lie."

And the straw continues to fly....


(Sorry, folks, gotta beat the snow home.)

Posted by: Disputo on January 31, 2008 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop, your recommendations are practical and reasonable in a world where "respected" journalists are dishonest hacks. Sadly your recommendations makes nuanced discourse unduly difficult, if not impossible. Maybe if we reduced the number of words and their meanings significantly it would be possible for us to avoid "mistakes" of the Jake Tapper variety. Don't you think that would be doubleplusgood.

Wouldn't it be better for us to hold reporters working for mainstream media outlets to a basic standard of truth telling? If somebody pulled a Jake Tapper he would be called out by everybody from his boss on up to his readers. Maybe other professional journalists would start to honor the truth if they knew the rest of us would hold them accountable when they lied. A basic truth telling standard would allow us all an opportunity to communicate complicated ideas using complete sentences.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 31, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it be better for us to hold reporters working for mainstream media outlets to a basic standard of truth telling?

There really isn't any "Wouldn't it be better..." about it, corpus, since I've endorsed this over and over in my posts above.

I've said each time I've addressed this that I think we should be yelling loud and clear for journalistic accountability. Suggesting that we also consider some basic preemptive self-protection measures, recognizing that they are of incomplete utility, is not advocating those measures as a replacement for kicking up a righteous fuss at journalistic misconduct. Nor did I ever state or even imply that it was.

Posted by: shortstop on January 31, 2008 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

W. Clinton supervised the bipartisan cooperation to deregulate media. If there ever was a basic institutional standard to hold the media to, W. Clinton helped destroy it.

Posted by: Brojo on January 31, 2008 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Good! We have reached total agreement. Next thread.

Posted by: corpus juris on January 31, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal wrote: "I think that expending large amounts of capital to reduce greenhouse gases will indeed hurt the economy."

You are wrong. Investing in efficiency and clean renewable energy technologies will stimulate the economy and create millions of new, high-quality, high-paying, high-tech, non-exportable jobs. Energy efficiency and clean renewable energy technologies are the New Industrial Revolution.

Senate Finance Committee Adds Renewable Energy Tax Credits to Stimulus Bill
Renewable Energy Access
Thursday 31 January 2008

On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee included measures to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable energy through the end of the 2009 in its version of an economic stimulus package originally proposed by President Bush. Under the Committee's bill, wind companies would receive a tax credit, currently 2 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated, for each new wind turbine that goes into operation through 2009. The tax credit, which also would apply to electricity from solar, geothermal and other sources as well as energy-efficiency rebates, would cost approximately $5.5 billion. The measures were introduced to the committee by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

"Renewable energy production depends on investment," Grassley said. "Investors need certainty. They won't put their money out for a wind energy facility unless there's a reasonable expectation that tax incentives will continue into the future. For energy needs and for economic growth, we need to continue renewable energy provisions without interruption."

The bill would also extend for one year a credit, equal to 30 percent of qualifying expenditures, for the purchase for qualified photovoltaic (PV) property and solar water heating property used exclusively for purposes other than heating swimming pools and hot tubs.

The proposal extends the energy-efficient existing homes credit, extends the tax credit for the production of energy efficient appliances for two years, extends a credit to holders of clean renewable energy bonds, includes a deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings, a credit for the construction of new energy-efficient homes and a credit for residential energy efficient property.

The best way for the Federal government to stimulate economic growth is to invest heavily in energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy technologies -- the same technologies and investments that are needed to reduce global warming pollution are needed to stimulate strong, sustainable economic growth.

Most of the needed government investment will be in the form of tax cuts and tax credits, which will encourage private investment not only by large energy producers (the corporations who build wind farms and large-scale solar installations) but by homeowners, farmers, small businesses and municipalities who will invest in their own efficiency improvements and even their own generating capacity.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 31, 2008 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Liar. Try staying awake for the whole speach. The next paragraph explains why that isn't what he wants. What are you? Some kind of beginner hack?

Posted by: kharma on January 31, 2008 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

""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."""

So why haven't Al Gore and crew done this??????
Prove that it is good economics first before ruining our economy.

Let's see Al Gore's plan.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on January 31, 2008 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see Al Gore's plan.

Last time I looked, Mr. Gore wasn't running for office this year. If only...

Posted by: thersites on January 31, 2008 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal: Your reading is almost as dishonest as Tapper's. Clinton did not state that "reducing greenhouse gases will slow the economy"; he said that some might suggest that the industrialized West pursue that strategy.

Therefore, your alleged contradiction in Clinton's statements -- "does reducing greenhouse gases slow the economy or create more jobs?" -- is not supported.

BTW, your belief that reducing GHG emissions necessarily means slowing down the economy is not shared by business or industry, except for the businesses and industries that directly profit from GHG emissions. For those interested, the World Business Council on Sustainable Development is a good place to start on finding out about sustainable business opportunities.

Posted by: phein on January 31, 2008 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal: Your reading is almost as dishonest as Tapper's

Wait till you hear ex-stud's dishonest excuses for his 159 deferments during the Vietnam war!

Posted by: elmo on January 31, 2008 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

It does spread quickly. Here's a clip from Rush Limbaugh's website:

RUSH: I want to start by getting to some of the Clinton stuff, because Bill Clinton was in Denver, Colorado, is out there stumping for his wife, who says, laughably, that she can control him. This is the ABC News blog, and this is the way they write this: "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,'" so we gotta slow down our economy. Well, then we can't have a stimulus package, folks. That means the government can't grow if we gotta slow down the economy. Folks, do you understand this? This is precisely what Gore and his crowd want to do. Destroy the economy; slow it down; put government in charge of more and more of people's lives and freedom. We just have to slow down our economy?

Posted by: OnTheMark on January 31, 2008 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry about TownHall - Matt Drudge has (unsurprisingly) been linking the headline for hours.

Posted by: Tom Maguire on January 31, 2008 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Tapper has taken the comment out of context. However, what Clinton said is still ignorant, and is another example of the broken window fallacy. He is in fair company, however, since most people believe it.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 31, 2008 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK
So why haven't Al Gore and crew done this?????? Prove that it is good economics first before ruining our economy.

Why? Oh, maybe all the nay-sayers and entrenched energy interests have colluded to keep people serious about the issue out of office.
I'm not even going to mention the fucktards, that wouldn't be civil.

Perhaps you remember the Reagan administration?
And all the alternate energy initiatives that Carter had established, that Reagan gutted so that big oil/coal could avoid competition and continue to get their subsidies?
Thanks to Reagan, George H W Bush, and millions of Republican voters, we as a nation are nearly thirty years behind in technology AND social understanding of non-fossil fuel energy generation.

The numbers have been run, and have already proven that it is good economics. It sure beats the manure out of watching coastal cities become uninhabitable, and watching the oceanic food chain collapse.

How about you prove it isn't?
Without using number provided by the American Petroleum Institute ...

Posted by: kenga on February 1, 2008 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

It is just amazing how quickly these comments brought up Obama and descended into Clinton-bashing madness. This rotten hit by ABC had absolutely nothing to do with Obama, yet here come the Obamaweilers barking their heads off about how Clinton deserved what he got. That is fine, go right ahead, and remember in a few months, "they who sow the wind, reap the whirlwind"

Posted by: CMO on February 1, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Jake Tapper is becoming the embodiment of all thats wrong with media in America today. He starts out doing decent work, even some really good work at Salon, then gets a gig at a major news source and slowly evolves into a hack. Something happens to anybody that succeeds in journalism today. It seems that once your social circle revolves around the major media/NY/Beltway cocktail circuit, you slowly adopt all their egregious habits, eventually becoming so arrogant that you refuse to admit it even when you're caught red-handed lying to the public. The MSM is a joke. Tapper is a joke.

Posted by: Michael Moss on February 1, 2008 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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