The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Journalistic sneak attack of the day

The right has put plenty of effort into portraying Howard Dean as a radical lunatic, and the mainstream media has largely gone along with it uncritically. All a bit odd, considering that he was actually pretty centrist as a governor and has shown himself to be a very articulate and reasonable spokesman for the Democratic party. Also odd considering that he doesn't hold elected office, is running for any office, and doesn't have any known intention of running for office.

But the attacks go on, and in classic right-wing style:

In response to this post taking Joe Klein to task for his latest Time magazine column -- in which he said Howard Dean was “gleeful” and “rooting for defeat” in saying the U.S. can’t win in Iraq -- a reader writes in to point out something very interesting. It turns out Klein trimmed Dean’s quote, removing a word that would have undercut his fundamental point about Dean’s alleged glee at America’s failure.

Klein, quoting Dean, wrote the following:

The party chairman, Howard Dean, was not inaccurate when he said, "The idea that we are going to win this war ... is just plain wrong." If Dean had added the word militarily, most generals would agree with him. The trouble is, Dean—as always—seemed downright gleeful about the bad news. He seemed to be rooting for defeat."
Here’s what Dean actually said:
The idea that we’re gonna win this war is an idea that unfortunately is just plain wrong.
Note the word "unfortunately." Clearly, those ellipses are awfully useful. After all, how can you be “gleeful” about something when you’re saying it’s unfortunate?

I realize that columnists aren't journalists, but how is it that they can get away with quote manipulation on the pages of some of the country's most widely-read publications?