Friday, February 01, 2008

Why isn't this guy on Fox News?

So we have this guy named Jake Tapper on ABC's "news" blog who wrote a column that started like this:
Former President Bill Clinton was in Denver, Colorado, stumping for his wife yesterday.

In a long, and interesting speech, he characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: "We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren."

At a time that the nation is worried about a recession is that really the characterization his wife would want him making? "Slow down our economy"?
Unfortunately, he followed that up by actually showing the full quote, and when you put it in context, there's an entirely different message there.
"And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada -- the rich counties -- would say, 'OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.' We could do that.

"But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world's fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.
Normally, when you take somebody out of context to that extent, it's a good idea to hide your blatant lie by not giving the full quote. You have to admire the cojones of the man, to so openly and blatantly expose his own lie right there in the middle of the column.

Then, at the end, he posted the following: "UPDATE 2: The original headline of this post was too definitive, while the larger blog post tried to express that I wasn't sure just what Clinton meant by his statement. So I changed the headline to reflect that. I understand after many, many emails that many folks think I misunderstood what the President was saying."

Unfortunately, the new headline, 'What Did Bill Clinton Mean By "We Just Have to Slow Down Our Economy" to Fight Global Warming?' still shows that he is either ignorant or a political hack.

And since I would presume that someone billed as "ABC News' Senior National Correspondent" would have taken a few journalism classes, "ignorance" probably isn't the answer in this case.

But in the off-chance that he's suffered some debilitating brain injury, let me answer the question his new headline poses, in words short enough that even he might understand. What Clinton meant was, other people might ask that question, but if we did that, countries that weren't trying to stop polluting might surpass us, and that would be a bad thing. Anyone who reads the whole quote could tell that.

Except, apparently, Jake Tapper.

And, to tell you the truth, I doubt that "many folks think I misunderstood what the President was saying." I would hope that most people are aware that Tapper deliberately mischaracterized Clinton's statement. Particularly with his follow-up "Which begs the question -- does (Hillary Clinton) want to slow down the economy?"

Sadly, judging by the reader comments that followed, there are far too many people out there willing to believe whatever they're spoon-fed, even when the lie is so obvious and blatant.

I'm surprised that ABC keeps this guy on staff. How many shoddy journalists with questionable ethics do they need?

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