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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I think they're losing their minds 
The nation's newspapers, that is.

I've had a bit of correspondence with Jamie Gold, the Los Angeles Times reader representative. I followed Patterico's lead, and wrote in objecting to this passage in this February 3rd editorial:

That's because contrary to what Bush said in a previous State of the Union speech, we now know the threat posed by Hussein was not imminent.


Now, the blogosphere's been all over this "imminent threat meme," and it's been decisively established that the President never said the threat was imminent. What he said was that we should not wait until the threat was imminent in order to deal with Saddam.

So I wrote as much to the LA Times, complaining that they had gotten their facts 180 degrees wrong, and then ascribed the quote back to the president.

Patterico made the same complaint, and Gold told him that the story was "uncorrectable," since the factual error took place in an editorial.

I guess it's ok to lie in an editorial in the LA Times?

Well, I got this nonsensical reply from Jamie Gold:

You're writing about a subjective piece -- an editorial.
Any speech made by anyone is going to be interpretated in any number of ways.
The editorial board interpreted the president as meaning one thing, you read it
as meaning another. I can send you the entire text of his speech if you want to
see what else he said besides that one reference that led them to write what
they did. I'm sorry that you find this response obtuse or Kafkaesque, but the
key here is that it's an essay, and that is a matter of opinion -- the editorial
board's opinion. The opinion pages are allowed to present many viewpoints whose
interpretation you might question. That doesn't make them wrong, it means only
that you don't agree. Had it been a news story I would have responded
differently.


Yes, the editorial is a subjective piece. And editorial writers are entitled to their own opinions. They are NOT, however, entitled to their own facts. The President's speech was predicated on the assumption that the threat was NOT YET IMMINENT, or at least, that its imminence was not knowable, and would not be knowable until it would be too late to react.

Logically, the postulate of the non-imminence of the threat, or the uncertain imminence of the threat, cannot be considerd equivalent to an argument that postulates the PRECISE OPPOSITE CONDITION.

Further, making reference to "what President Bush Said" in a prior State of the Union address is not expressing an opinion: It is stating a fact.

It's too bad the people at the LA Times didn't take Freshman Comp in college so they could have this confusion beaten out of them.

The last sentence is revealing:

"Had it been a news story I would have responded differently."

Why? Because they got their facts wrong about the President?

The Press are circling their wagons now. It's worse than I thought. These people are willing to undergo any stretch, any Cirque du Soleil convolution of logic, to save face in the shallowest way imaginable, and avoid having to concede the point to the great unwashed.

Once you give up the pretext of, you know, intellectual honesty, anything's possible.

Splash, out

Jason

Comments:
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