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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Friday, July 19, 2002

It's Alive!

The trifecta, that is. Oh, c'mon, you remember the Bush trifecta: Bush claims to have said his economic plan would not result in deficits except in the case of war, national emergency, or recession, and now we have all three. Critics have said "Bush is lying, when did he say it?". We have covered this whole ghastly mess before.

And why are we back? Well, an alert reader writes in "Hey, MinuteThing, "Spinsanity" is back with the trifecta, what about you?" Well, good point. Both Spinsanity and The Daily Howler are howling about the trifecta again, so why shouldn't we? (The Howler mentions the trifecta in a long story from July 16 titled "New Morning", but I can't figure out their timestamps.)

OK, so back to my questions: for Brendan at Spinsanity, my original question had been: are you still comfortable with the "Bush is lying" spin? We are making great progress here, as this evolution suggests:

Spinsanity, June 18: "It takes a brazen politician to make up a story that can be proven false and then to keep lying about it after being busted repeatedly."

Spinsanity, June 20: "...even if it was, it doesn't negate the "trifecta" lie Bush has been pushing."

Spinsanity, July 2 Update: "When questioned about Gore's statement by the Post's Glenn Kessler, Bush economic advisor Lawrence Lindsay said the exceptions would apply to Bush as well. But there is still no evidence that Bush "told the American people" this during the campaign as he has claimed, either in Chicago or in general."

Spinsanity, July 17. lead: "President Bush may finally stop repeating his fictitious "trifecta" story for good due to growing national press coverage..."

Spinsanity, July 17, body of report: "senior Bush advisors have asked the President to stop repeating his undocumented and unsupported claim"

BINGO! The claim is "undocumented and unsupported", other than by Bush aides, and who believes them? But there is a general agreement that it was, in fact, part of Bush's economic plan during the campaign.

So, Brendan, as an "accuracy in media" guy, would you care to comment on your earlier "Bush lies" coverage, and perhaps modify the "fictitious story" lead in your July 17 piece? I'll grant that the heated rhetoric may have helped move the story, and I'm not really the type to sit in my glass house and urge restraint on others. On the other hand, you are a serious journalist, whereas I am a serious a**.... well, that's not coming out right. Let's say that as a serious journalist, you should aim for a high standard of accuracy. And, as a leader on this story, I think a correction, or clarification, from you would help set straight a big part of the blogosphere, as I can recall seeing the "Bush lies about trifecta" theme repeated elsewhere. So, how about it?

And speaking of the blogosphere, what about our friend Ben Domenech? Ben offered a mysterious document supporting Bush's position as the fruits of a Westlaw search. However, no one else seems to be able to find the document, and Ben admits it doesn't seem to be accurate. So, some of us still wonder whether Ben has a Westlaw signifier for the document, or any help at all in resolving this particular database mystery. It does leave the rest of us scratching our heads as we do these google searches and imagine that we can rely on what we come up with. And more importantly, if we can clear up this little cloud, then we pretty much have a Clean Sweep for the Right on this "trifecta". Oh, sure, I'm strutting a little now, but if Ben can clear this up I'll bring out the full frolic with backflip. My secret hope, anyway.

So, questions for Brendan, questions for Ben. I cannot seem to find Ben's e-mail at his site, so I am posting this without a "heads-up" to Ben. Hideous breach of etiquette, and I apologize. I am relying on "Murphy's Law", which in this case suggests that roughly five minutes after posting this I will find Ben's e-mail and look like a darn fool. Again. Today. But we get used to it.

So, questions for everyone. The truth is out there.

UPDATE: Oh, fine, a Clean Sweep would be videotape of Bush saying it to Tim Russert and Dan Rather before a cheering crowd at Wrigley Field. I'll settle for "not a lie".

UPDATE 2: NEVER underestimate "Murphy's Law". I finally find Ben's contact info, cleverly concealed under "Contact". Man, maybe I need new contacts. I send him a little note and BOOM - recipient has exceeded his storage limit, mail can not be delivered. Some days chicken salad, some days chicken shit.

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