Howling Dog Graphic
Point. Click. Search.

Contents: Archives:

Search this weblog
Search WWW
Howler Graphic
by Bob Somerby
E-mail This Page
Socrates Reads Graphic
A companion site.

Site maintained by Allegro Web Communications, comments to Marc.

Howler title Graphic
Caveat lector

17 October 2000

The Daily update: Waiting for Jim L’error

Synopsis: Still no word from Melinda H. Will we hear tonight from Jim Lehrer?

Is What We've Got Here a Compulsion to Exaggerate?
Melinda Henneberger, The New York Times, 10/15/00

Letter to the editor
The New York Times, 10/13/00

Sad! Two days after last week's Debate II, a letter appeared in the New York Times. We reprint it here in full:

To the Editor:
In Wednesday night's debate, Jim Lehrer, the moderator, asked both candidates to justify the name-calling in their ads—Bush ads calling Gore a "serial exaggerator" and Gore ads calling Mr. Bush a bumbler (transcript, Oct. 12). Both acted as if they were unaware that these words had been used in their ads. Are we to believe, then, that if they don't know what is going on inside their own campaigns, they won't know what is going on inside their administrations? Will they simply pass the buck and say they were unaware?

They had better be aware of what the people working for them are doing. This troubles me greatly.

B— J—
Ankeny, Iowa, Oct. 12, 2000

Speaking of bumblers, the Times should not have run this letter. The author misstates what Lehrer said, as a look at the cited "Transcript" would have shown. Lehrer made no statement about Bush's ads, referring only to what Bush officials have said. Bush never denied Lehrer's statements.

But Lehrer did claim that Gore ads had called Bush a bumbler, producing a moment where the audience laughed at the VP—a moment when it looked to all the world like Gore was dissembling about his commercials. As we mentioned on last week, the irony of all this was simply sublime; Lehrer—trashing Gore for small mistakes in Debate I—made a larger mistake in the process. In fact, Gore's ads had not used the language in question in talking about Governor Bush; Lehrer's statement was misstaken. But the impression was given that Gore was dissembling. We're sure that the writer in Iowa isn't the only observer who got a "troubled" impression of the veep from the error by the scolding moderator.

Our question: Will Lehrer crack down on himself tonight? Last week, the scribe was hard hard hard on Gore for his vile and naughty errors. And in the process of scolding Gore, he made a bigger error himself! Having scolded Gore, will he scold himself too? We'll be curious tonight to see if Lehrer is even-handed in his Rage Against Error.

By the way: Still no word from Melinda Henneberger about those funny numbers (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/16/00). We left two voicemails yesterday, asking one question: Who told her that Gore spoke with William Westmoreland for "just a few minutes—five, maybe?" Still no word from the Maven of Mishaps. Maybe our initial thought was right—maybe the scribe herself had gone ahead and done a bit of "embellishing" on this matter. Needless to say, we're prepared to be wrong. At THE DAILY HOWLER'S incomparable World Headquarters, operators are still standing by.