WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2003
TOMORROW: General Boykin, part 3.
A CLOWNING CLOWNS CLOWNING CLOWNISTRY: Weve told you the script about General Clark: Clark (a big fake) cant explain his positions. This morning, Katharine Kit Seelye of the New York Times cut-and-pastes the key script once again.
Seelye has followed Clark to New Hampshire, scene of so much past clowning clownistry. Shes programmed to type the key scripts about Clark. So this morning, she offers us this:
SEELYE: Right after [Clarks] health care speech, the general introduced some new confusion into his stance on the administration's request for $87 billion in emergency spending on Iraq and Afghanistan. He has said that he opposes the request, and he repeated that position on Tuesday. But he told one woman who asked him what he would do about Iraq, We broke the dishes, were going to pay for them.More confusion from General Clark! Readers, the god of scripts is an angry god, and Seelye paid her god this great tribute.
But readers, let us ask a simple question. Is there anyone on earthexcept a paid journalistwho would be confused by what Clark said? Were relying on Seelyes account of his comments, generally a risky thing to do (see below). But who on earthexcept Kit Seelyewould find Clarks statements on this matter confusing? Clark said he wont approve new money for Iraq until Bush has a plan for getting out. There are plenty of questions you could ask about that. But who would find this construction confusing?
The answer, of course, is perfectly clear. Katharine Seelye would find it confusing, because thats one of the scripts about Clark. She clowned her way through Campaign 2000, making a joke of your White House election. According to the Financial Times, Katharine Seelye was one of three scribes who did little to hide their contempt for [Gore]. As her clowning continues today, she shows her contempt for you too.
THE TRUTH ABOUT CORRECTIONS: On Monday, it was Adam Nagourney who was typing the script, telling readers that General Clark appeared to struggle as he explained his views on the war in response to a challenge from a questioner. As we noted, Clarks actual answer was blindingly clear (full text below), so Nagourney did what he had to dohe simply provided a fake, bogus answer. He quoted one part of what Clark had said, then typed in part of an earlier answer! After creating this phony amalgam, he typed the script: General Clark wasnt clear (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/27/03).
NEW YORK TIMES CORRECTION: An article on Monday about a debate in Detroit by Democratic presidential candidates referred incorrectly to a response from Gen. Wesley K. Clark: Right after 9/11, this administration determined to do bait-and-switch on the American public. President Bush said he was going to get Osama bin Laden, dead or alive. Instead, he went after Saddam Hussein. He doesnt have either one of them today. The comment responded to a question about where he stands on the war in Iraq, not to the question Are we to understand that what youre saying now is that those things you have said that were positive about the war was not what you meant?On-line, that correction will live forever, tagged to Nagourneys astonishing article. But please note: Youre never shown what Clark actually said to the question Nagourney cited. Is it true? Did Wes Clark appear to struggle as he explained his views on the war? No, of course, he plainly did not (text below). But New York Times readers will never know that. Lets be plain: The mighty Timesand their script-typing scribesdont want you to know what Clark said.
Nagourneys article will be on-line forever. It will still say that Clark appeared to struggle. But the correction wont show you what Clark really said. Readers will have no way of knowing: Clark didnt appear to struggle at all. That was just scribes typing scripts.
CARL CAMERON HANDLES THE SCRIPT: Remember, what Clark said was perfectly clearhe did support the Afghanistan war, but didnt support the war in Iraq. A Head Start drop-out could follow the statement. For the record, here is the full Q-and-A which Nagourney described as a struggle:
CARL CAMERON: General, there is a long litany of comments from you, both in your time as a former television analyst and then over the course of the last several months. Are we to understand that what youre saying now is that those things you have said that were positive about the war was not what you meant?Believe it or not, thats the answer which puzzled Nagourneythe answer in which General Clark appeared to struggle as he explained his views on the war. Obviously, no one could really find that confusing, but journalists are paid to hand you their scripts. Nagourney was able to hand you the script by jumbling up what Clark really said. On Monday nights Special Report, Fox slickster Carl Cameron was able to convey key scripts too.
Remember, Cameron is the Fox reporter who posed the original question to Clark at the Dem debate Sunday night. The following night, he was assigned to describe the debate for Fox viewers. Heres what he said about Clark:
CAMERON (Special Report, Monday night): Retired 4-Star General Wesley Clark was repeatedly accused of shifting his Iraq position And when pressed, Clark did not deny his repeated praise for the war over the last year.What did Clark actually say? He actually said this: I supported Afghanistan, I opposed Iraq. So how did Cameron handle the matter? He only showed you the first little bit of what Clark said, then claimed that Clark did not deny repeated praise for the war. Of course, thats not what Clark saidhe didnt say that at all. But so what? Cameron lied in your faces.
Clark did not deny his repeated praise for the war over the past year? Heres what Clark actually said, in response to the question which came before Camerons: Ive been against this war from the beginning. I was against it last summer. I was against it in the fall. I was against it in the winter. I was against it in the spring. And Im against it now. It was an unnecessary war. But according to Cameron, Clark did not deny his repeated praise for the war! At Fox, Cameron lied in your faces.
SMILE-A-WHILEKITS HOWLER HISTORY: How gong-like was Seelye during Campaign 2000? For just one bit of her clowning clownistry, consider her utterly clowning report on December 17, 1999.
Two nights before, Gore had staged a fund-raiser at Nashvilles Wildhorse saloon. (Bush had been in Nashville at the same time.) At the time, Gore was battling Bill Bradley for the Dem nomination, and the press corps had an Official Approved Script: Al Gore is too nasty and negative. Needless to say, Katharine Seelye was hunting for ways to pass on this Official Script. She exploited a spouses introduction:
SEELYE: [Bush and Gore] also collected money at the same saloon here, the Wildhorse, with Mr. Gore staging a fund-raiser Wednesday night and Mr. Bush following tonight, in his first fund-raising foray into Tennessee. Mr. Gores wife, Tipper, introduced him by saying, Hes good enough, hes smart enough, an allusion to the idea that Mr. Bush lacks the intellectual heft to be president.Engaging in her standard spin and dissembling, Seelye told readers that Tipper Gore had directed a shot right at Bush. But what had actually happened that evening? When Kriste Goad described the event for the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, she included what Seelye withheld:
GOAD: Tipper Gore has a masters degree in psychology, so she said she felt qualified to say: Youre good enough. Youre smart enough. And doggone it, people like you, Al.Thats right, gang! Tipper had been joking with Al Stuart Smalley Franken, whose presence Seelye knew not to mention. Seelye had a script and, doggone it, she typed it. So too with Clark-on-Iraq.
Bonus: Note the way Seelye pared down what Tipper Gore said. Because she had a spin to sell, the doggone it part just had to go. Readers, have we ever told you? Kit Seelye is a true world-class crackpot.
VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: Seelyes clowning from Nashville was inconsequential, if revealing. Two weeks before, however, she had mistakenly misquoted Gore on Love Canal, an error which gravely affected the race. (For nine days, the Times refused to correct.) Meanwhile, to see another Seelye special, check her amazing dissembling about Elian Gonzalez. She reported the factstill the script became clear. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/19/00 and 4/20/00.