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January 13, 2011

NYT: Conscience Dreaming So Much It Actually Changes An Obama Quote To Make It More Friendly To The Narrative

Before getting to this -- stop getting on Drew for saying the speech was good. Apparently everyone agrees, pretty much. Blogs are supposed to be about the truth and honest reactions, not some Paul-Bot endless regurgitation of pre-scripted talking points so that the "right memes" are forever broadcast to the greater public.

There is really no "greater public." It's just us, by and large. There is no need to suppress honest opinions so that outsiders don't see them because there are no outsiders. It's pretty much just us insiders, so we can talk freely among ourselves.

If you ever think to yourself "Well, I don't mind that he said that, but I sure would have appreciated it if he said it privately, among friends," well, this is "privately, among friends." I/we are never quoted on CNN or even Fox (and Rush only quotes when he likes a point) so there is very little danger that somehow this site is going to influence the debate in the "wrong way."

Just a reminder. Let's keep some perspective. I am sadly aware of how limited this blog's actual influence is; trust me, Politico isn't shaping its predictable, set-in-stone Narratives by taking cues from me or the cobs.

Anyway: Here is what Obama actually said, at Hot Air.


And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy [-- it did not --] but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.

Hot Air has "[-- it did not --]" in brackets because that wasn't part of the speech as written -- Obama apparently inserted it.

It's possible, likely I'd say, there was debate on the "It did not" line and at the last minute they took it out, as a pander to the left; but Obama did actually put it back in. So whatever his motives here -- doubt 'em as I do -- in the end he did say something important. "It did not."

That's a big reason that many right-leaning people are praising the speech, by the way. I didn't catch that (because I was looking at the transcript of the speech as prepared) when I said it was bad.

I sure would have liked a stronger statement.

Got that? Good. Now watch how the NYT quotes Obama.

This horrific event, he said, should be a turning point for everyone — “not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation.”

They delete the "It did not" entirely. Now, you may say, "Well they were going from the prepared remarks." Um, okay, but they did see the speech, did they not? It was on at 8:30 or so Eastern; it's not as if it aired too late for them to quote him accurately.

No, they deleted this because this hurts The Narrative. That's right, Obama himself wounded The Narrative, and not accidentally, either; but deliberately, because he knew The Narrative was false. And even though he didn't have the inclination to offer a longer repudiation of it, he did nevertheless offer up a brief, unscripted one.

And this was too much for the New York Times to take, because they have so much riding on The Narrative; they, along with their in-house mental patient Paul Krugman, have been pushing it the very hardest among all newspapers, even when other "lesser" newspapers have noticed it to be quite wrong.

They're not giving up the ghost, you see, and if that means editing Obama's actual words to keep The Narrative in better health, so be it.

They have now descended to changing the quotes of their own preferred President because now even Obama is too right-wing for them.

The other credit Obama is getting -- from the right -- is that while his speech was open to greater latitude of interpretation that I'd like -- and proof of that comes from the New York Times itself failing, spectacularly, to understand what their own dear leader just told them -- he did seem to caution the left against over-reading the tragedy and using it as a new "occasion" to demonize each other.

But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations...

His words really only made sense in that way. In other words: Do not politicize this shooting.

I missed the import here the first time 'round, but that does seem to mean -- to me-- that those who are using this an occasion to turn on each other (that would be the unhinged left) should cool out.

Oh sure, the right should stop too, I'm sure he means; but I think it's obvious, even to him, who is acting defensively in this phase of turning on each other, and who is on the attack.

Allahpundit is goofing the New York Times for lapsing again into Loughnerian Conscience Dreaming -- in a speech directed at them, they see in it only new scorn for Palin. They willfully missed the message.

Now, actually, at this point we come to why most on the right liked the speech but many on the right still did not.

Those on the right who liked the speech are praising Obama for making these statements which, if you read them carefully enough, seem to caution the left about tearing itself into a red frenzy over this.

Those of us who like the speech less don't like it because the speech was elliptical enough, vague enough, ambiguous enough that the New York Times could miss the point if they tried hard enough, which in fact they did.

This is why I said last night he still seemed to be "pandering" to the left -- he was keeping their lunatic theory viable. He wasn't endorsing it, but he also wasn't clearly repudiating it.

Now, some might say "Well Good Lord man that is the best you could hope for, isn't it?" Yes, I suppose, given Obama, that is the best I could hope for. That he would not endorse their lunatic claims, and might even caution them away from making them if you read the speech closely enough and opened your mind to the possibility of "Hey, maybe he means me too."

But I could tell from the speech-as-prepared that there was a lot of interpretation left for the left to claim the speech meant what they wanted it to via their ably-demonstrated gift of Conscience Dreaming.

And you see here the Times demonstrating that gift. As they were permitted to do.

So while it might be the best I could hope for, it still isn't what I'd actually want, and if I'm going to say whether I like or didn't like it, ultimately I have to go by whether it was true and strong in its truth. Not mealy-mouthed and bashful about it.

So it's a glass half full/half empty thing. Yes, he said some good things. But he said them so cleverly-- so... artfully -- that the intended recipient of the message could miss it if they were inclined to miss it, and oh boy howdy! Are they inclined to miss it.

But it should also be noted he did make some ambiguous stabs and instructing the Loughner Left about some hard truths. I missed that the first time, and I have to give him some credit for that, even if (as I suspected) he permitted the left to indulge its fantasies still further.

Hah! Maybe more influence than thought. The NYT has now changed the quote to what Obama actually said.

Of course, they do not acknowledge the correction. Because they never acknowledge the embarrassing ones. They only acknowledge the understandable ones -- transposed digits in a number, misspelled names, etc. They make a grand spectacle of correcting these -- and ostentatiously noting the corrections -- so you will think all of their errors are prominently corrected.

In fact they're not -- they make great shows of minor league typo corrections in order to stealth-correct all the important stuff.


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posted by Ace at 02:27 PM

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