AP Quoting Out of Context

This morning, after my long vacation from blogging, I started reading things on Power Line about the Associated Press making up booing Clinton's heart bypass at a Bush/Cheney rally, falsely twisting details of Arnold's life and all over the place I read a bunch of stuff this morning about a comment Cheney made in a speech.

Via Patterico's Pontifications we find the full quote, whereas Dan Gillmor and a VC get it wrong. Since I was not able to post a comment at Dan Gillmor's site because it thinks I said I'm from “un.org” I have to wonder about his filter.

The full quote, with the AP-shortened version highlighted:

We made decisions at the end of World War II, at the beginning of the Cold War, when we set up the Department of Defense, and the CIA, and we created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and undertook a bunch of major policy steps that then were in place for the next 40 years, that were key to our ultimate success in the Cold War, that were supported by Democrat and Republican alike—Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon and Gerry Ford and a whole bunch of Presidents, from both parties, supported those policies over a long period of time. We're now at that point where we're making that kind of decision for the next 30 or 40 years, and it's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice. Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us.
We have to understand it is a war. It's different than anything we've ever fought before. But they mean to do everything they can to destroy our way of life. They don't agree with our view of the world. They've got an extremist view in terms of their religion. They have no concept or tolerance for religious freedom. They don't believe women ought to have any rights. They've got a fundamentally different view of the world, and they will slaughter—as they demonstrated on 9/11—anybody who stands in their way. So we've got to get it right. We've got to succeed here. We've got to prevail. And that's what is at stake in this election.

The one side says that Bush/Cheney will do anything slimy and underhanded to win the election, but it looks to me like the Associated Press is spinning out of control, and a slew of publications are playing along.

Update: Even Power Line has missed the message in the full quote.

Update 2: I've drawn a comment with this post. It appears the people don't get the difference between saying that an opponent won't make the right decisions about how to react to a incident and that horrible things were sure to happen. I read the above quote to say that the reaction to an incident was what matters. Cheney clearly is talking about the motivations for developing what is now called the Defense Department. He is also clearly talking about how he and President Bush intend to use that department for defense of the US. He also clearly indicates that his opponents, Kerry and Edwards, don't seem to want to treat the threat of Islamic extremists who use terror as a weapon like a real threat. They don't (always) articulate that we're at war. Kerry has, of course, tried to say things about twelve different ways, nuance be damned. Bush has articulated the Bush Doctrine.

Josh Poulson

Posted Wednesday, Sep 8 2004 11:40 AM

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In what context is the Cheney quote appropriate?

Fred already got the really good title in his What Kind of Crap Is This? post, and Jason Chervokas has a more thorough response in his The Fear President post, but this recent Cheney quote that "If we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll ge [Read more]

Coty's Radio Weblog

Linked Thursday, Sep 9 2004 07:09 AM


There are 4 comments on this entry.

I don't think the quote in question has any different meaning read in full context or pulled out. It's still a threat to the electorate--vote for us or Sept. 11 will happen again.

Perhaps you want to suggest that there's "nuance" in the distinction Cheney makes between a criminal approach vs. a military approach to Al Qaeda, but frankly I think that's only a debate that goes on among neo-con civilian intellectuals inside or around the administration. No one has suggested that we're not at war with Al Qaeda. No one has suggested anything but defeating Al Qaeda. It's a straw man created to support Bush Administration rhetoric and fear-mongering--we want to defeat Al Qaeda, they don't.


Posted Wednesday, Sep 8 2004 07:39 PM

You got at trackback, too.

I really do appreciate your posting the full quote and your comments. However, I think I'd be more convinced by your argument regarding context if the Vice President has said something more along the lines of:

...if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will...

I believe such a quote would focus on the reaction to the attack—which would clearly depend on the administration in power—as the result of the decision. In contrast, the actual quote seems to focus on the attack being the result of the decision. Further, I think the revised wording points out more clearly how strained the logic is, regardless. How likely does anyone really believe it is that a second attack would cause the nation to "fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set", regardless of the administration in power?

Coty Rosenblath

Posted Thursday, Sep 9 2004 09:09 AM

No Josh, we understand the difference, we--and most people who have heard the quote other than apologists and ideologue, just see Cheney as saying something different, going a step beyond a policy debate. By using the rhetorical construction "if we make the wrong choice the danger is...." the intended implication, which surely was not missed by anyone or there would be no furor, is this: that if we make the right choice there is no danger of this happening again.

The simple truth, universally acknowledged, is that no matter what choice we make as an electorate, or in our policy approches to Al Qaeda, the danger will continue to exist that an attack may occur.

Cheney chose the rhetoric of certainty (a kind of rhetoric that ideologues and religious believers use routinely) to imply that a vote for Kerry is a vote for the chance of another attack and that a vote for Bush is a vote for the impossibility of another attack. That's what he said and clearly the message was widely received.


Posted Thursday, Sep 9 2004 03:23 PM

agrees-- saw a comment from the whitehouse that the press should be REPORTING the news (as opposed to interpreting it). thats not an exact quote folks

look at the latest out of AP

Newspapers accused of misusing word 'terrorist'

I dont know if you would call it reporting exactly when they change all words describing muslim terrorists to something else

It certainly appears something is very wrong with AP.

What they have achieved is the monopoly (or close to it) of news on the wires to the worlds press, now that story in Canada shows they are AGGRESSIVLY pushing a political agenda (we all knew that) - AND although I have not investigated it. I would be inclined to suspect that the anti americanism in Europe may be attributed to the reports of US news and related news going to most of Europes press.

Is that an extreme comment? I dont think so. The attitude is spreading out from the USA about president bush, through the media.

Why not see what sorts of stories the AP has sent overseas?


Posted Saturday, Sep 18 2004 05:06 PM

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