AP, CNN Both Distort Laura Bush Saying Palin ‘Lacks Foreign Policy Experience’
By: Warner Todd Huston
In the Words-Mean-Things category, yesterday we got both the Associated Press and CNN distorting the words Laura Bush used to describe Sarah Palin on foreign policy. Worse, the video interview of the First Lady was right on CNN yet on its own Political Ticker blog, CNN still distorted what Laura Bush said about Palin. It makes you wonder if the folks at CNN even watch CNN?
On September 24, Political Ticker posted a story by “CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney” headlined “Laura Bush says Palin lacks foreign policy experience” and started the posting out with these first lines: (bold mine)
First Lady Laura Bush told CNN Wednesday Sarah Palin lacks experience in foreign policy, but quickly added the Alaska governor is “a very quick study.”
Notice my bolded emphasis of the “but quickly added”? This is a distortion. When someone says “but quickly added” it is meant to imply that the speaker thought better of their initial words and thought to quickly add something in clarification. However, the actual video does not show Laura Bush “quickly” adding anything, but going forward in an even, measured tone. She did not “quickly add” a thing.
But, even the headline is a distortion. The headline makes it seem as if this “Palin lacks foreign policy experience” topic was something that Laura Bush focused on. But it was not. In fact, she dismissed it as unimportant. Not only that, but Bush wasnâ€™t even the one that brought it up.
The Associated Press also went with this distortion of a headline: â€œLaura Bush: Palin lacks foreign policy experience.â€
First lady Laura Bush says Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin lacks sufficient foreign policy experience but is a very quick study.
In an interview Wednesday with CNN, the first lady remarked that it’s fortunate that Republican presidential nominee John McCain has foreign policy experience himself.
Again, this at the top of each story of what Laura Bush said about Palin we see a focus on the least stressed point that Laura Bush made about the VP pick. And, unlike what the AP story says, Laura Bush did not say â€œlacks sufficient foreign policy experience.â€ Bush didnâ€™t use the word â€œsufficientâ€ nor did she allude to any â€œinsufficiency.â€
Here is what really was said by the First Ladyâ€¦
Zain Verjee: Today Laura Bush talked to me about a Washington outsider and the question of Sarah Palin’s experience.
I spoke to you a while back and you said at the time that Condeleezza Rice the Secretary of State…
Laura Bush: (laughs) Was my choice. For the female…
Zain Verjee: … your choice for the female ticket, the vice presidential nominee or…
Laura Bush: Our presidential, sure.
Zain Verjee: … exactly, or presidential or on the presidential ticket. Sarah Palin has now emerged as the choice…
Laura Bush: That’s right.
Zain Verjee: Do you have as much confidence in her as you did then in Secretary Rice?
Laura Bush: I have a lot of confidence in Sarah Palin. She’s got a lot of really good common sense and I think that’s very important. She also has executive experience from being a governor and a mayor and I’m thrilled to have the chance to vote for Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket.
Zain Verjee: (laughs) But do you think she has the kind of foreign policy experience that everyone’s (crosstalk)…
Laura Bush: Of course she doesn’t have that. You know, that’s not been her role. But I think she is a very quick study, and fortunately John McCain does have that sort of experience.
Obviously the foreign policy question was not Bush’s point, but was interjected by the reporter. And when the foreign policy point was asked of her, she basically said that Palin’s lack of experience was not so important. So, for the Political Ticker and the AP to focus on a point that wasn’t Bush’s is a distortion of the First Lady’s position on Sarah Palin.
But, who can say they are surprised?