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4 November 1998

Read on: The press corps just hates lying

Synopsis: The press corps told Quinn it just hates lying. It must be a newly-acquired taste.

Throughout the 1996 re-election campaign, Haley Barbour (and character icon Bob Dole) repeated a howler about President Clinton. They said that Candidate Clinton, in 1992, had promised to balance the federal budget. And they said that since President Clinton had failed to do it, you can’t trust President Clinton.

Their claim about what Clinton had promised was egregiously, howlingly false. In Clinton’s 1992 campaign book, Putting People First, Clinton had spelled it out in print: “Our plan will cut the deficit in half within four years and assure that it continues to fall each year after that.” Everyone knew that was Clinton’s pledge at the time. The Dole-Barbour claim was howlingly false.

We invite the truth-loving press corps to cite an example of any time it spoke up to correct Barbour’s tale. It’s strange, but a press corps which is just so aggrieved about lying had very little to say about that.

Barbour’s statement couldn’t have been more plainly false. It was made in the context of a race for the White House--a race for the office the corps just reveres. The statement was made constantly, in all major forums. And no one said anything. How weird!