Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Olbermann on Bush, Golf, Fear-Mongering, and When to Quit

This was this evening's "Special Comment" by Keith Olbermann on the latest from George W. Bush -- you'll wish you couldn't believe it.

As "Special Comments" go, it starts out a little weak but gets better and better before finishing quite strong. Go Keith.

8 comments:

ChicagoJohn said...

Of course, the only problem with it is that Keith was being dishonest in quoting Bush. This is what Bush actually said, in reply to the question:
Q Mr. President, was there a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision, or how did you come to that?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I remember when de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man's life. And I was playing golf -- I think I was in central Texas -- and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, it's just not worth it anymore to do.


Note that Olbermann left out the word "no", when Bush was asked if there was any particular moment or incident that made him come to that decision.
If you watch the video of Bush, it becomes even clearer.
Here's the original Politico article, that leaves out the word "no":
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0508/10314.html

And here is the transcript, that you can compare it against:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0508/10316_Page4.html

So the big question is:
Why did Olbermann leave out the word "no"?

-John

Dale said...

ChicagoJohn: Actually, the better question is why Bush would say "no" and then go on to give an answer inconsistent with "no," but I'll grant the small mistake.

Bush's full answer -- that he decided to give up golf when news of de Mello 's death reached him on a golf course -- is belied by subsequent instances in which Bush played golf.

And the larger point, of course, is that the sacrifice of golf is all this piece of crap could give by way of reply to the question of how he himself has sacrificed for his Iraq war. That he wasn't honest even in this paltry answer is just icing on a rotten cake.

ChicagoJohn said...

"Actually, the better question is why Bush would say "no" and then go on to give an answer inconsistent with "no," but I'll grant the small mistake."

Dale;
I'm not the one reaching here.
Olbermann is.
And if he wasn't, then why did he cut out the word "no"?

Bush was asked if there was "a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision".
He answered no, as in 'no, there wasn't any one incident'. Then he gave AN incident, not THE incident, that helped bring him to that decision. If you watch the video, that much is clear.

If you asked me if there was any particular moment or incident that made me stop watching the Cubs, I would most likely answer: "No. I hated when they got the lights in. I thought that was a bad idea, and it made me realize that baseball is all about money."

Does that mean that I stopped watching the Cubs the day the Cubs got lights?
No, and in fact I didn't. There were several things that contributed to me not watching the Cubs. When they cut key players, when they raised prices, and started suing neighborhood places that had views onto their field.

"Bush's full answer -- that he decided to give up golf when news of de Mello 's death reached him on a golf course -- is belied by subsequent instances in which Bush played golf."

That's not his FULL answer to the question of whether there was any moment or incident that bought him to that decision.
The full answer would start with the word "no".
Obviously, as (I thought) Bush made clear, de Mallo helped greatly with that decision. Because the last time that Bush was seen playing golf was 2 months later.

In the past four years, he hasn't been playing golf.

"And the larger point, of course, is that the sacrifice of golf is all this piece of crap could give by way of reply to the question of how he himself has sacrificed for his Iraq war."

That too, isn't honest, nor correct.
He was asked if it was true that he gave up golf because of the Iraq war.
Q Mr. President, you haven't been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it really is. I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as -- to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.


That's quite different then the impression that Olbermann gave, which was that Bush quit golf as a sacrifice for the men dying in Iraq.
Bush wasn't giving it up as some paltry sacrifice. He gave it up because he didn't want "some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf."

Now ask yourself this: how was it that "this piece of crap" as you call him managed to keep that to himself for 4 years, if this was anything but genuine?

And please, if you can, give me an answer for why Olbermann left the word "No." out of Bush's answer.

I don't mind you demanding that Bush be honest. But when someone attacks him this unfairly, I'd hope that your ears would perk up.

-John

Dale said...

If Bush had said 'no' and then sat there quietly awaiting the next question, you would have a point. That isn't what happened and you know it.

The video and the transcript clearly show Bush giving an answer that amounts to "no but yes, and here are more details of the 'yes.'" The actual and plain meaning of the answer Bush gave to the yes/no question was yes followed by details. That he started his 'yes' answer with the word 'no' indicates a moment of confusion in Bush's mind and nothing more.

Olbermann left out the word 'no' because it didn't fit the actual answer given by Bush. The actual answer -- which went beyond a single word -- was the subject of Olbermann's criticism.

My question is, why are you so so focused on the first word of a sentence-length answer? And do you think anyone outside of the tiny and decreasingly small community of pro-Bush dead-enders finds it convincing?

ChicagoJohn said...

"If Bush had said 'no' and then sat there quietly awaiting the next question, you would have a point. That isn't what happened and you know it."

I just watched the video for another time, just to make sure my own memory was correct.
The word "no" is clearly part of his answer.
He didn't start out saying "no", and then change his answer.
If you've watched the video, you know that.

"The video and the transcript clearly show Bush giving an answer that amounts to "no but yes, and here are more details of the 'yes.'""

That's bullsh!t, and if you've watched the video, you know it is:
javascript:void(window.open('http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/ynews?ch=7684298&lang=en','playerWindow','width=792,height=666,scrollbars=no'));

There is not a "no, but yes" answer in there. His answer is clearly 'no, here's something that added to it'.
Taking the 'no' out of his answer would be almost impossible with editing, which is probably why Olbermann didn't do it.

"The actual and plain meaning of the answer Bush gave to the yes/no question was yes followed by details."

You're now reaching a new level of dishonesty. You're suggesting that he meant 'yes' with his 'no'.

"That he started his 'yes' answer with the word 'no' indicates a moment of confusion in Bush's mind and nothing more."

Confusion in his mind?
And you say that I'm reaching?

I don't expect you to be a fan of GWB. But I'd love just a little pinch of honesty thrown in about the man every once in a while.

If you're asked the question "is there a particular incident that made you come to a conclusion", and you say 'no', and then list off an incident... does that mean that's the incident???
Of course not (as I've already demonstrated once.)

But let's try another way:
Q: Is there a particular incident that made you pick up guitar?
A: No. I remember my dad playing guitar around the campfire, and I thought that it was fun.

Was that when I picked up the guitar? No. Was it that incident that made me want to pick it up? No, although it certainly fed to it.

"Olbermann left out the word 'no' because it didn't fit the actual answer given by Bush. The actual answer -- which went beyond a single word -- was the subject of Olbermann's criticism."

The actual answer was "no", Dale.
A journalist isn't supposed to pick and choose what they want to hear.
A journalist is supposed to give the complete answer.
Let's be kind to Olbermann for a moment and presume that he thought that Bush's answer was either confusing or contradictory.
That is ESPECIALLY when you should (as a journalist) include the answer of the person you are quoting. Thus the term, 'fully, and accurately'.

"My question is, why are you so so focused on the first word of a sentence-length answer?"

Because the first word was 'no'?
If it was important enough to clip out of the sentence (because Olbermann thought it was 'confusing' to his interpretation) then its important enough to leave in.
You can't argue that it does not change the answer.
You can't argue that it shouldn't have been included. Particularly when, as you pointed out, its part of the SAME DAMN SENTENCE!

How dishonest is that???

"And do you think anyone outside of the tiny and decreasingly small community of pro-Bush dead-enders finds it convincing?"

And now the name-calling starts?
Dale,
I've given up on expecting honesty from people who dislike Bush.
However, this is a slam dunk.
Olbermann cut off the ONE WORD that changed Bush's answer to a question... the word "no".

Walk away from your computer. Consider that for a moment. Ask yourself:
If Obama was the person being quoted, would you find that fair?

Olbermann cut ONE WORD out of the transcript. ONE WORD, out of the four consecutive exchanges that he quoted. That ONE WORD, in answer to the question, was "No."

Now ask yourself again... why just one word?

-John

ChicagoJohn said...

By the way, Dale, you never answered.
How did you get the original question wrong?
"And the larger point, of course, is that the sacrifice of golf is all this piece of crap could give by way of reply to the question of how he himself has sacrificed for his Iraq war."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not blaming you. Clearly, someone was leading you to believe that the question Bush was asked was about what he was sacrificing for the Iraq war.

Now the only question is... how were you given that impression?

-John

Dale said...

Here's a shorter video link to the Q&A, if anyone is interested:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZSRxNPqqUH4

I think it's good, all else equal, that Bush has found it best not to be seen golfing while troops die. Good for him and for the epiphany he had on that one day on a golf course in Texas.

He has still spent a lot of time on vacation. He has spent a lot of time watching baseball, riding bikes, generally funning around.

This stuff about golf comes in a context.

The question of what Bush has sacrificed, and the larger question of sacrifice in this war is among the many open wounds of the Iraq war and the Bush presidency. This small discussion of golf comes in that context. But Bush has shown himself to be tone-deaf on this again and again. It's one of many questions he doesn't see fit to address in any depth.

It's an illustration of how he thinks himself the president of the people who voted for him and especially the ones who wrote him checks.

ChicagoJohn said...

Man, I'm truly glad that you are linking to the Q&A. Like you said, let folks see for themselves.
And then let them ask themselves:

Why did Olbermann omit the "no" from Bush's answer???

You said:
"The question of what Bush has sacrificed, and the larger question of sacrifice in this war is among the many open wounds of the Iraq war and the Bush presidency. This small discussion of golf comes in that context. But Bush has shown himself to be tone-deaf on this again and again. It's one of many questions he doesn't see fit to address in any depth."

Once again, Bush wasn't asked what he had sacrificed in that interview.
What he was asked is:
Q Mr. President, you haven't been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?

Clearly, if Bush said "no", he would have been lying.
He hasn't played golf in four years. I think its charmingly stupid to see people on the net try to come up with -other- reasons that he might not be playing golf, because they don't even want to give him credit for that.

But the idea that Bush somehow said: "I'm going to sacrifice golf for the Iraq war" is a deliberate lie.

-John