Can’t recall where this practice began: By light years, this is the dumbest White House campaign staged in the modern era.
Are you allowed to cite a claim which hasn’t been taken out of context? Quite correctly, liberals have criticized Romney’s absurd complaints about Obama’s remarks on building a business.
We liberals are very upset about that. On the other hand, Romney’s old remark about “firing people” has become part of our liberal wallpaper. And when Romney made this pointless remark, a string of liberals noted the obvious:
His comment was being taken out of context—“wildly” so, Kevin Drum said. A wide range of liberals made this obvious comment. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/3/12.
(Beyond that, note this fact-check of Obama’s recent Florida speech, in which he continued to flog Paul Ryan’s old Medicare plan—even though Ryan, responding to liberal complaints, has crafted a new Medicare plan, working with Senator Wyden. The original plan was very bad. And so, unless Glenn Kessler is crazy, Obama is still pretending it’s Ryan’s current plan.)
This is our dumbest campaign by light years. The dumbness all around us is simply astounding. This includes the dumbness of the feigned outrage which animates all discussions.
This is our dumbest campaign by far. But when Alec MacGillis discussed the problem of out-of-context citation, he forgot where it all began.
Quite correctly, MacGillis slams Romney’s cynical, out-of-context clowning. He even slams the mainstream press corps for failing to challenge Romney’s behavior! As he finishes, the high-minded scribe is shocked, just shocked, to see the press acting this way:
MACGILLIS (7/25/12): I’m genuinely perplexed that people who work with words for a living can be so blithe about the deliberate misuse of words to mislead. What are we in this business for if not to hold the people we cover to basic standards of context, rather than just scoring the marks left by the mistruths?Good God! Where the heck was Alec MacGillis when this culture got started?
Answer: MacGillis was part of the mainstream press corps when this culture got started. Indeed, the press corps invented this broken-souled practice. We refer to the twenty months of Campaign 2000, when the press corps took every syllable spoken by Candidate Gore and rendered it out of sane context.
Al Gore had said he inspired Love Story! Al Gore had said he invented the Internet! Why, Candidate Gore had even said that he discovered Love Canal! That he invented the Earned Income Tax Credit! That his mother sang him a union lullaby before it had even been written!
Al Gore even made crazy lying remarks about his dog’s arthritis pills!
This was a disgraceful performance; it sent George Bush to the White House. Romney is doing the same thing today. But, within the modern context, the culture of flogging remarks out of all sane context was invented by MacGillis and friends in early 1999.
Everyone has agreed to pretend that this conduct never occurred. But, of course, it did occur. Surely, MacGillis must know this.