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Monday, April 23, 2007

Joe Klein needs a Time out

Regular DailyKOS poster, Kagro X catches Joe Klein of Time magazine playing fast and loose with the truth. (h/t Eschaton.)

Not sure if it's Barack Obama being mischaracterized, or Markos "Kos" Zuniga (quoth Klein: part of the "noisier [antiwar] elements" of the Democratic party base), or both (but Kos primarily, I think). Here's the deal--

  1. On Sunday April 1, Obama is quoted in an AP story, saying no congressman "wants to play chicken with our troops" and "I don't think that we will see a majority of the Senate vote to cut off funding at this stage."
  2. Later that day, Kos writes: "What a ridiculous thing to say. Not only is it bad policy, not only is it bad politics, it's also a terrible negotiating approach. Instead of threatening Bush with even more restrictions and daring him to veto funding for the troops out of pique, Barack just surrendered to him."
  3. Later that week, Thursday, a Chicago Sun-Times reporter mentions Kos' comment to Obama, who clarifies: "What I said was it was unlikely we could generate the votes to override a veto. And I said that I don't believe any Democrat wants to play chicken with the troops, put them in a situation where they don't have the equipment they need to come home safely. That does not mean that our only alternative is to send a carte blanche to the president" and something about "options" to keep "this administration on a shorter leash." (NB: the Sun-Times headline reads "Obama says he still supports 'shorter leash' for Bush on Iraq".)
  4. On Wed., April 18, a full two weeks later, Klein in Time conflates Obama's statements so that Kos' comments seem to criticize the clarification. Klein writes: "Obama . . . said in an Associated Press interview that perhaps the best course of action was to 'keep the President on a shorter leash'. . . . This unleashed the ire of Markos Moulitsas Zuniga . . . who wrote with typical restraint, 'What a ridiculous thing to say.'"
  5. Does Klein write with typical carelessness? The "shorter leash" comment is from the later Sun-Times interview, in response to Kos criticism.

It's a minor point in the larger scheme of things, but it is characteristic of the negative and prejudicial reporting about the "left" from many quarters.

Here's another wisecrack from Klein in the same article: "the left wing of the Democratic Party, . . . despite its incredible erudition, is unable to count to 67, the number of votes needed for a veto-proof majority in the Senate." Of course there are a number of such idealists out there: Kos is hardly one of them, even though Klein's crayons seem to caricature him in that way. Kos had criticized Obama for seemingly indicating that he would not even try to "negotiate" effectively with Bush, but give in. There is no inability to count there.

Klein, despite his incredible erudition, is unable to report accurately (or honestly?). Is he unable to tell the difference between the AP and the Sun-Times, between Sunday and Thursday? With news media like this, it's no wonder The Regime has gotten away with so much death and destruction: the opposition doesn't even know how to count. Shades of "fuzzy math."

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