Somerby is good today, if I bit more perturbed by the media than usual (“EXTRA! IT’S TIME FOR NAGOURNEY TO GO: Adam Nagourney needs to be fired for his work in this morning’s New York Times”). Why? Nagourney, whose work I often like, is faking quotes. Here’s what Nagourney has Clark saying (quote doctored to make it look like Clark “appeared to struggle”):
“No, I always — I’m a fair person. And when this administration’s done something right, well, if they were Russians doing something right, Chinese doing something right, French doing something right or even Republicans doing something right, I’m going to praise them.
“Right after 9/11, this administration determined to do bait and switch on the American public,” he said. “President Bush said he was going to get Osama bin Laden, dead or alive. Instead, he went after Saddam Hussein. He doesn’t have either one of them today.”
Note that not only are there no ellipses anywhere, the closing quote in the first paragraph is also missing. Why no ellipses? Because ellipses do not imply time travel.
From the transcript of the debate, the latter half of the quote (“Right after 9/11 …”) precedes the first half of the quote and is in response to a different question!
Now let’s take a look at Nagourney, as he “struggles” to make sense. This is an exact quote of Nagourney’s first paragraph in the article:
Rough and intensively, and if the congress should have authorized $87 billion which would help the democratic candidates of president, here discussing, other Sunday one harms on the intelligence to maintain president Bushs of the invasion making of Iraq the effort of war.(*)
(*) Actual text, translated into German, then French, then back to English using BabelFish
. With sufficient creative license, it’s easy to make anyone sound like they’re “struggling.”
UPDATE: Thanks to Jay, I see that the NYT has added this “correction”:
An article on Monday about a debate in Detroit by Democratic presidential candidates referred incorrectly to a response from Gen. Wesley K. Clark: “Right after 9/11, this administration determined to do bait-and-switch on the American public. President Bush said he was going to get Osama bin Laden, dead or alive. Instead, he went after Saddam Hussein. He doesn’t have either one of them today.” The comment responded to a question about where he stands on the war in Iraq, not to the question “Are we to understand that what you’re saying now is that those things you have said that were positive about the war was not what you meant?”
I think that’s a pretty sorry excuse for a correction in that it completely mis-states the original error and hides the intentional mendacity of the authors.