Bridge to Nowhere and the Controversy Over the Shape of the Earth at the Washington Post
With a hat tip to Brad DeLong, Ryan Avent, and Ezra Klein, let’s review yet another example of why the Washington Post is rivaling the National Review for stupidity:
Democrats accused Gov. Sarah Palin (R) on Sunday of misrepresenting her role in scuttling a controversial bridge project to a remote island in southeast Alaska.
Is this a controversy? Do opinions as to the shape of the earth really differ? Let’s go further down in this WaPo article that claims that Democrats are making this allegation:
After some parliamentary skirmishes, congressional leaders agreed to kill earmarked funding for the Ketchikan bridge and another bridge near Anchorage, instead giving the state a lump sum of $454 million to spend as it saw fit. While campaigning in Ketchikan in September 2006, Palin indicated support for the bridge project, assuming there was no better alternative. “This link is a commitment to help Ketchikan expand its access, to help this community prosper,” she told the local chamber of commerce, according to an account in the Ketchikan Daily News. “She campaigned here, she knew what the project entailed, and she was very affirmative, unqualified: ‘We’ve got to get the bridge done,’ basically,” Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein, who supported Knowles, said Sunday.
In other words, Democrats say Palin initially backed the bridge because Palin initially backed the bridge. Why isn’t that the substance of the headline? What kind of reporting is this?
In other words, Democrats don’t “say” Palin initially backed the Bridge, Palin says she initially backed the Bridge, which is to say, Palin initially backed the Bridge, and Democrats are drawing attention to her statement. Attaching a “Democrats say” to “Palin initially backed bridge” makes no more sense than attaching a “Reporters say” to “Gustav Lashes Gulf Coast; Levee System Tested.” It’s a nonsensical appendage meant to undermine the authority of the story’s conclusions: These things are either true or they aren’t, and people are paying the Washington Post good money to clear up that ambiguity for them.
When Team McCain claims that Palin opposed the Bridge to Nowhere, they are telling a big fat lie. But the Pravda on the Potomac can’t say Team McCain has lied about this. Heck – Team McCain has lied about a lot of things during this campaign. A real press would call Team McCain on these lies but then the Washington Post apparently has decided that it is not in the business of journalism
Update: Steve Benen has a post capturing some of the McCain-Palin lies, misleading claims, and otherwise dumb things said in support of her VP selection. The latest is that she somehow took on Senator Stevens:
On Friday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CNN, “Gov. Palin took on Ted Stevens. If she can take him on, she can take on the Russians. Heh.” He liked the line so much, Graham repeated it on ABC News yesterday, saying, “If you can take on Ted Stevens and that crowd in Alaska, you can handle the Russians.” On its face, it’s an unusually inane thing to say. Unless Ted Stevens is a nuclear power with autocratic tendencies, the analogy is rather a childish one for a United States senator to make on national television. But more to the point, Graham’s just wrong. Palin didn’t “take on” the allegedly corrupt Alaskan senator; she allied herself with him throughout her brief political career. That includes, we learned today, Palin’s work on Stevens’ 527 group.
Team McCain – they lie about everything!