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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Saturday, January 25, 2003



When You Cast The Beam Out Of Your Own Eye...

We have noted the TIME magazine embarrassment over their "now we print it, now we don't" story alleging that Bush had revived the practice of honoring Jefferson Davis.

Andrew Sullivan was one of the first to blog about this, saying the following on Monday, Jan 20: "AFTER THE LOTT DEBACLE: Why on earth is the Bush administration doing this?

Now, following the "announce bad news on Friday" rule, Andrew provides this to ponder:

TIME'S RETRACTION: I noted it in my weekly dish for the New York Sun and Washington Times today but it behooves me to note it here as well. I linked recently to a Time piece claiming that president Bush reinstituted a practice of laying a wreath at the Confederate Monument in Alrlington. I asked why the administration would do such a thing. Well, they didn't. Sorry to link to something that wasn't true. Now let's all wait to see if Maureen Dowd will retract a more serious error - actually claiming it was true. Or are we supposed to treat Modo's pieces as fiction anyway?

Well, as an aside, how about a few links? Sully's pieces in the Sun and the Washington Times, MoDo's column - how about it?

OK, in the Wash Times, Sully says, in part, "I was dumb to link to the Time piece. Now when will Maureen Dowd correct her error?

Bother. A bit of thunder is gone from my post, since this is a lot more sensible. But I will regroup. Many of us encounterd the story at Sullivan's blog, for which other folks are paying good money, so the "I was dumb" belongs at the blog as well. Sully did not just link to the TIME article - he quite clearly endorsed it. Glenn Reynolds demonstrates the difference about ten times a day.

And MoDo? Roll the tape, please, as Andrew does for the Wash Times:

...as Time notes this week, he quietly reinstituted the practice — which lapsed under his father in 1990 — of sending a floral wreath on Memorial Day from the White House to the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, where those nostalgic for the Old South celebrate Jefferson Davis. Why on earth would the president of the U.S. in the year 2003 take the trouble to do that?

First, with a keen journalist's nose for trouble, MoDo unravels the TIME mess a bit, separating (unlike TIME or Sullivan) the Memorial Day wreath and the Jefferson Davis tribute. She clearly attributes the story to TIME. And she asks virtually the same question as Andrew - why would Bush do that? OK, maybe Irish minds think alike [KIDDING! - I am one, for gosh sakes]. Or perhaps MoDo reads Andrew's blog. But the notion that she is more culpable than he does not fly.

So, in the (unlinked) Washington Times piece, Andrew presents himself as "dumb", and simply notes that MoDo has the same cloud hanging over her column. Fair enough. But here at his blog, he pretends that he merely linked to TIME (oops), but MoDo made "a more serious error" by "claiming it was true", and was writing fiction. The two faces of Andrew?

At his blog, Sullivan is playing the same lame "blame someone else" game that we expect from Marshall. Now, for an example of a stand-up acknowledgement of error, check this:

* Update:
Time has printed a retraction of a story that I picked up from Josh Marshall, who has also now acknowledged that the Time report was errant. I subsequently used the information that the Bush administration had renewed an outdated policy in order to illustrate that they were pandering to Neo-Confederates. The Time piece was factually incorrect; I reckon the reporter's career is probably on pretty thin ice, as a result. Long story short, I made an unfair allegation based on flawed information and I have a duty to retract it, in light of new information.


OK, I am not finding a lot of common ground with the author of this blog on other issues, but we seem to agree on one point - a bit of crow in the diet builds character.

UPDATE: Hmm. Atrios and Marshall, linked above, have widely differing views on the TIME reporter Weiskopf. Sort it out, gents - I get upset when lefties argue in front of the kids. And this is a pretty cryptic post, since no links are working. If someone posts a blog in the cyberforest but no one see it...

REAL UPDATE: MoDo trashes the French and the Germans (but is she serious?), promotes the "Axis of Weasel", and suggests a little nursery rhyme, which would be:

"Chirac and Schroeder backed an Iraqi
And now even Powell has turned a little hawk-y"

But no, she didn't actually say that.

However, what she did say, and the reason we are here, is:

In my last column, I cited a Time article reporting that the president had "quietly reinstated" a custom of sending a wreath to the Confederate Memorial. Time has since corrected the story, saying he didn't revive the custom, but simply continued it.

I would still ask: Why keep a tradition of honoring the Confederacy while you're going to court to stop a tradition of helping black students at the University of Michigan?


OK, nice rhetorical question. Quick, annoying answer in two parts:

(a) Honor the soldiers, hate the war - sort of like the attitude of many folks towards our Viet Nam vets, and dead.

(b) Uhh, timing, please - Bush was supposed to stop this practice two years ago because he might later oppose Affirmative Action, Michigan-style?

(c) Concede nothing! Mightn't a Ward Conerly argue that the "faux-help" of quotas and preferences is no help at all?

OK, I want to say more, and I want to get some kids ready for Church. This update doesn't have a prayer.

UPDATE WITHIN UPDATE: Based on the timestamps, the Man never sleeps. But he sure does unleash the terrible swift sword on MoDo.

GIVE IN TO THE DARK SIDE:

OK, it's an Irish thing - Yeats, Dowd, whoever.

Chirac and Saddam sitting in a tree
K-I-S-S-I-N-G
First came Bush
Them came Powell
When will Saddam throw in the towel?

MORE FROM ANDREW: Who is implacable. [And the link fails!]

Here he is:

HOW DOWD RETRACTS: Here it is:
[START DOWD] In my last column, I cited a Time article reporting that the president had "quietly reinstated" a custom of sending a wreath to the Confederate Memorial. Time has since corrected the story, saying he didn't revive the custom, but simply continued it. I would still ask: Why keep a tradition of honoring the Confederacy while you're going to court to stop a tradition of helping black students at the University of Michigan? [END DOWD]
Did I miss the simple retraction? And what on earth does the Michigan case have to do with anything?


Hmmph, no poetry. Can I rhyme "Sulllivan" with "Muddled again"?



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