« Deep Thought of the Day | Main | Disclosure's the Word? »

March 17, 2008

Comments

To invoke Harry Frankfurt's useful distinction, Kristol is bullshitter (he doesn't care whether what he says is true), as opposed to a liar (he cares about the truth but wishes to mislead). But then this is nothing new. He's been one for years.

It's 11:13, and still no correction.

Yes; and everyone has linked to this op-ed. Kristol drives traffic; that's why the NYTimes hired him and won't correct his errors until everyone has had the opportunity to see them. You (and anyone else) don't link to the generally sensible Bob Herbert or Nick Kristof; there's nothing sexy about their op-eds. But oh, if Kristol writes something dumb, this drives the entire internet news cycle (OH MY GOD- the NYTimes doesn't care about ACCURACY!!!1!!!1!). And you know- as long as Kristol is great copy, the paper will continue to carry him...

11:37; still no correction Although the NYT has removed the link to Kristol from its home page.

Kristol is a lazy partisan hack and liar - I doubt he has told the truth or gotten anything right since he was in short pants.

12:11, no correction.

12:22. He regrets the error. But somehow the column still has the offending paragraph.

There's a correction now. Still appalling...

P, you know, if the NYT ran porn in place of the Kristol columns they could get even more traffic, if that's their only concern.

Well someone is lying. But why do you conclude it is Kristol?

Kristol reported what Kessler said he saw as an eyewitness., ie Obama in church listening to the sermon and nodding his head in agreement.

Just because Obama denies it does not mean it is not true. Obama is a political hack who has lied throughout this camaign. He could be telling the truth in this one instance but why give him, instead of an eyewitness reporter, the benefit of the doubt. Politicians lie all the time.

Now the reporter could be outright lying about this, but why would he? The story is just revealing about the church Obama attends regularly, even if Obama was not there that day. There was no need on the part of the reporter to insert a false claim into the story.

Obama on the other hand has a crucial need for people to believe he was NOT there that day, or any other day, as it will be politically harmful to him for people to think otherwise.

To me it seems that the reporter has the high ground here and that Obama is most likely lying about this.

BTW Hilzoy, if the Kristol article is an example of a 'hack writer' then surely your commentary above is an example of a 'hack ethicist'.

The correction should end with "Never mind" (to be voiced by Emily Litella).

ken: did you see the actual video (linked in my post) of Obama speaking in Miami on the day in question, at 1:30pm? I wasn't relying on Obama's word. Unlike Kristol, I checked.

If you don't mind my asking, what was hackish about my post?

Kristol reported what Kessler said he saw as an eyewitness., ie Obama in church listening to the sermon and nodding his head in agreement.

Well, after all, it could have been an honest mistake...all black people look alike to some folks...right, ken?

I don't think there can be any doubt that the reporter's credibility is now shot. He said Obama was there on July 22nd, and it seems it can be shown that he wasn't. Now the Newsmax reporter is saying he's sticking by his story and that Obama was at a sermon "sometime in July".

The story is July 22nd, full stop. Facts tend to matter with these sorts of things.

So Hilzoy, If you 'checked' then why did you launch your diatribe against Kristol, who for all you know also 'checked' instead of against Kessler whose eyewitness account of Obama actually being in church the day in question is what make this an issue?

As a reporter Kristol was accurate in relating the facts regarding the essence of the eyewitness account of Kessler. Yet you become his charactor asassine instead of an ethicist when you intentionally attack him for reporting what was in fact the truth. ie, that Kessler said he saw Obama that day in church.

Your argument is with Kessler or Obama, not with Kristol. One of THEM is lying.

I think you owe Kristol an apology.

But the ball is now in Kessler's court. He needs to verify his eyewitness account or he needs to correct it. He could have been just making it all up, but I doubt it.

As a reporter Kristol was accurate in relating the facts regarding the essence of the eyewitness account of Kessler.

As a former reporter, this is dead wrong.

Try again.

I see Kristol issued a clarification. But someone above says that Kessler is sticking by his story.

I still think Obama is the one lying about all this. He is trying to deny that for over a twenty year period he ever heard any of his close friend and preachers sermons denegrating white people and America. That is just not believable.

ken: for me, the point of the post was not about Obama. I would have reacted the same way had Kristol printed something similarly false about Clinton or McCain, or for that matter about Ralph Nader.

I cannot imagine how Kristol could have checked the facts and written what he had. They were so easy to ascertain: Google would have worked, contacting the Obama campaign would have worked, any number of things would have worked.

You say he conveyed the story accurately, apparently on the grounds that Kessler did, in fact, say what he did. But Kristol did not mention Kessler in order to draw conclusions abut, say, what Kessler has reported, or what his interests are, or anything else for which the fact that Kessler said X, whether or not X is true, would be the point. What he actually said was:

"For one thing, it’s becoming clear that Obama has been less than candid in addressing his relationship to his pastor, Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. For example, Obama claimed Friday that “the statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity.”

It certainly could be the case that Obama personally didn’t hear Wright’s 2003 sermon when he proclaimed: “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, not God bless America, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. ... God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human.”

But Ronald Kessler, a journalist who has written about Wright’s ministry, claims that Obama was in fact in the pews at Trinity last July 22. That’s when Wright blamed the “arrogance” of the “United States of White America” for much of the world’s suffering, especially the oppression of blacks."

You just don't get to use Kessler's quote as evidence that "it’s becoming clear that Obama has been less than candid in addressing his relationship to his pastor" unless that quote is true.

And if you're going to use it in that way, you should make sure that it is, in fact true.

As a reporter Kristol was accurate in relating the facts regarding the essence of the eyewitness account of Kessler.

Just as Bush was accurate in saying "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" -- except of course that using the word "learn" implies the truth of the thing "learned". Some techniques remain ever useful for injecting propaganda into the media bloodstream.

Uh, Hilzoy,

Obama is claiming that he has not once, over a twenty year period of active membership in that church and close personal friendship with its pastor not once, ever, heard Wright denegrate white people or America.

That is totally unbelievable to any rational person.

SO: Kessler writes an article about a time that he attended the church, heard Wright insult white people and America, saw Obama there nodding his head, and gives us a specific date, July 22, 2007.

In this case all Kristol was required to do was confirm with Kesslor that what he was going to write about his visit to the church was accurate. I don't know if he did that or not and niether do you. Kessler gets the benefit of the doubt because Obamas claim is totally without credibility and Kesslers first person account is consistent with our intuitive sense of where the truth lie.

Ok, so it may be true that Obama was not there on July 22, 2007 but that does not exonerate Obama from his highly dubious claim of ignorance.

Unless it can be proven that Kesslor and Obama were never physically present in Chicago on the same Sunday during the period of time that the story by Kesslor was being researched I will still say that Obama is the one who is lying. Kesslor just may have to write a correction on the date.

And isn't that really the important issue here anyway? Is Obama being honest? It strains credulity to believe his claim of ignorance. It mocks our intellegence for him to make such boldfaced lies like that.

...Kesslers first person account....

Kristol fooled you again, Ken; Kessler never said he was there himself - he said another person was.

I see Kristol issued a clarification. But someone above says that Kessler is sticking by his story.-ken

I'm the one who said it, but it's a joke because he's CHANGED THE STORY.

Obama is claiming that he has not once, over a twenty year period of active membership in that church and close personal friendship with its pastor not once, ever, heard Wright denegrate white people or America.-ken

Do you have a link to back up your claim? My understanding is that all Obama has done is to state that he was not in the pews when the particular sermons in question were given. Methinks your reading comprehension is lacking.

Ken’s reading comprehension is certainly very poor indeed, but the fault is not his alone. Both Kessler and Kristol presents their evidence in a highly misleading way. Kristol says:

But Ronald Kessler, a journalist who has written about Wright’s ministry, claims that Obama was in fact in the pews at Trinity last July 22.

That suggests (without directly asserting) the Kessler is the witness we are being asked to rely on. But Kessler doesn’t pretend to have first-hand knowledge; he actually says:

In fact, Obama was present in the South Side Chicago church on July 22 last year when Jim Davis, a freelance correspondent for Newsmax, attended services along with Obama.

Notice also how Kessler implies that Davis actually accompanied Obama to the service – that’s strongly suggested by the the phrase “along with”. But the “Clarification” backs away from that suggestion; we are told that “Mr. Davis stands by his story that during one of the services he attended during the month of July, Senator Obama was present” which carries no implication that Davis was actually with Obama at all.

Putin is looking good. Maybe Wright could learn something from Obama or the FSB or whatever;

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSL1745555120080317

Well, can we at least call Kristol an "editorialist" rather than a "reporter".

My take on this is that the black half of Obama decided to go to Florida, leaving his white half in the pew to hear whatever comes out of Wright's mouth. His black half ran outside before said remarks to hail a cab to get to the airport and not a single cabbie stopped for him.

So, his black half ran back inside the church and told his white half HE would have to go to Florida instead, which the latter did begrudgingly, always being the one to hit the road. As soon as Obama's black half sat back down, out came the offending remarks.

Wow, even Kristol's correction has an error.

"The Obama camapaign..."

Perfect.

hilzoy: :In this case, the only conclusion is that Bill Kristol doesn't care enough about the truth of what he says to make even the most minimal efforts at accuracy.

Good. Obama wasn't there himself. He was making a speech to La Raza: Kristol was wrong, and now the record's corrected.

But your outrage over Kristol and the NY Times is another deflective skew of the Wright-Obama controversy, a rationalizing dance of avoidance.

Whether or not Obama had his ass on a pew in the church at the time Wright made that particular comment isn't the issue -- it was his willingness to remain mute about statements like it (which he himself categorized as inflammatory and appalling') until confronted by media scrutiny: a silence that indicates acquiescent consent.

Wright made the 'United States Of White America' speech in September, 2007 -- six months ago. Obama's public denials carefully state he wasn't physically in the church when that sermon, and others, were given; but Obama avoids mentioning when he became aware of them. Are you so naive as to believe Obama didn't hear what the reverend was saying until this month? The egregious 9/11 sermon was six years ago -- you think word of it didn't reach Obama soon after it was given?

Wright's 9/11 'chickens come home to roost' sermon is particularly creepy, mouthed in such close proximity to the attacks. Don't you remember the horror of it all? The repeated videos of the punctured towers? Fleeing pedestrians choking on soot? All those first responders trapped and dying in the rubble? What kind of low-life American, of any race, would use a tragic event of that magnitude to wag a finger at other Americans, no matter what their color. Oh yeah, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson made similar remarks, indicating the attacks were god-initiated punishments for homosexual behavior. And what did the liberal blogosphere have to say about that? A loud outcry of condemnation, from liberal blogs like this, and from moderates and conservatives too.
But at news a black minister was just as insensitive what do we hear from a majority of posters on this site (you and publius specifically included) and other so-called progressive sites as well? An unending slew of rationalizations defending Wright.

You guys ought to be ashamed of yourselves for these kinds of mealy-mouthed bend-over-backwards double-standard excuses. And so should Obama for keeping his mouth shut about it for so long. It's one thing for Obama to applaud the good things his church has done, but it's another to shut his ears to the race-charged crap Wright was preaching, and to ignore it as long as he did, not distancing himself at all from the reverend until it was politically expedient: on Feb 10, 2007, when he 'dis-invited' him for the official candidacy announcement, in Springfield, Ill.

In politics it's legitimate to judge candidates for office by the company they keep. Loyalty may be a good character trait, but as liberal-progressive bloggers have indignantly pointed out, misplaced loyalty is not (Nixon for Bebe Rebozo, Bush for Cheney and Rumsfeld, Rudy for Bernie, etc.) In Chicago, Obama consciously picked Wright and Rezko as friends, one with a propensity for insensitive race-baiting, the other a wheeler-dealer schemer facing federal charges for extortion who conned Chicago community groups to help him with government contracts to build low-cost rental unit, which he ended up neglecting (no repairs, no heat in winter), half of them ending up in foreclosure.

Obama chose these guys as pals. What does that tell you about his judgment ability?

If Kristol's article is predicated on Obama's attendance, that makes what he wrote a full-blown fabrication, not an "error."

This strikes me as a much bigger offense than "poor fact checking."

In politics it's legitimate to judge candidates for office by the company they keep.

I really wouldn't think a Clinton supporter would want to go down that road...

"Wright's 9/11 'chickens come home to roost' sermon is particularly creepy, mouthed in such close proximity to the attacks. Don't you remember the horror of it all? The repeated videos of the punctured towers? Fleeing pedestrians choking on soot? All those first responders trapped and dying in the rubble? What kind of low-life American, of any race, would use a tragic event of that magnitude to wag a finger at other Americans"


Hi Jay. I spent part of 9/11 in a state of terror wondering if a loved one had died (nope) and while in that state I thought it was chickens coming home to roost and said as much to my mother on the phone, though not using those terms. But I said it was probably revenge for one of the awful things we'd done.

You know, the funny thing was I was naive enough to think that now Americans would understand the kind of terror we'd help inflict on others and would be more compassionate as a result. I can't imagine how I could have been that stupid, but the disillusionment set in very fast.

"Obama chose these guys as pals. What does that tell you about his judgement ability?"

Compared to whom?

Clinton or McCain? Bush?

If I don't vote for Obama, for whom do you recommend I vote?

If it's Clinton, she has known pals too, in the context of being judged by the company one keeps. Some of them are even of the Oriental/high IQ/high educational ethic persuasion spreading money around, just to suggest a few, not that there is anything wrong with that.

If it's McCain/Bush, has Wright declared that there is no separation or Church and State in the United States like McCain/Bush's pals have?

If he has or when he does, then I'll expect some stronger explanations from Obama.

Candidates go into elections with the pals they have, not the pals they wish they had. Voters have pals, too, but no one really cares, until they run for office.

Suddenly, the pals look like cronies.

Hi Jay. I spent part of 9/11 in a state of terror wondering if a loved one had died (nope) and while in that state I thought it was chickens coming home to roost and said as much to my mother on the phone, though not using those terms. But I said it was probably revenge for one of the awful things we'd done.

You and me both.

You know, the funny thing was I was naive enough to think that now Americans would understand the kind of terror we'd help inflict on others and would be more compassionate as a result. I can't imagine how I could have been that stupid, but the disillusionment set in very fast.

That's where we part ways. The very first thing I said once the enormity of what had happened had sunk in was: Holy sh**, we are going to f*** some people up. And the immediate aftermath of that thought was: we'll never stop to ask why this was done, and we'll never stop to ask who we should hit, we're just gonna light some (foreign, wrong-colored) motherf***ers on fire and spit on their graves.

I was partially wrong, thank God -- viz. Afghanistan -- but not even close to wrong enough -- viz. Iraq. So much for those "learning moments" I keep hearing about.

I think instead of debates, we should have contests to see which candidate can condemn the most, both in number and stupidity, stupid things any of their supporters have said. That's really what they should be talking about - things that matter to the American people, like what some preacher in Chicago said, instead of domestic and foreign policy. That's why Obama's failure to condemn is on par with Kritol's failure to present the truth in a major newspaper.

"The very first thing I said once the enormity of what had happened had sunk in was: Holy sh**, we are going to f*** some people up."

Yeah, well, I should have known that too. I'm not sure what caused the momentary lapse into sentimentality on my part.

ZOMG!! "Obama did not attend church on July 22!!!"

Obama is an atheist! He is going to hell, and he is going to take the nation with him!

Ask yourself: can we, as a nation, really afford to elect a president who lets a Sunday go by without ging to church? What if the rapture had happened that week??!!?


By the way, what church does John McCain attend, and how often does he go? Just wonderin'...

Obama chose these guys as pals. What does that tell you about his judgment ability?

That a candidate who chose as a pal someone who has said stupid things is still infinitely more qualified than a candidate who actually has done stupid things (like vote to authorize war in Iraq or signed off on the Military Commisions Act).

JJ: "Whether or not Obama had his ass on a pew in the church at the time Wright made that particular comment isn't the issue"

The issue of this post is: why does Bill Kristol get to write for the NYT when he isn't concerned with basic accuracy?

If you want to discuss another issue, that is of course your prerogative. But the issue I brought up is not the one you identify. There are, of course, other threads on the issue of your choosing.

As though that piece of carelessness weren't bad enough, he then portentously discusses whether the group that calls itself "Generation Obama" reflects megalomania and a dangerous cult of personality. Aside from the fact that this is an advertising slogan that should be taken about as seriously as "Pepsi generation," good lord! LOOK WHO'S TALKING -- one of the people who created the repulsive and utterly over-the-top cult of Bush worship.

hilzoy, my suggestion is to not respond to JJ or ken unless they make a comment pertinent to the post.

It shows the desparation of some people that they will now turn any statement about Obama or by Obama into something relating to Wright, and will make leaps of logic (probably wrong word because there is nothing logical about it) to come up with conclusions for which there is no evidence.

This little non-journalistic endeavor by Kristol and the NYT is worth discussion, because it shows the same type of thinking. It is so important to discredit Obama that anything that comes up has to be legitimate.

And if somehow Clinton gets the nomination these same people (JJ and ken) will be whining because the same thing will be done to her.

What kind of low-life American, of any race, would use a tragic event of that magnitude to wag a finger at other Americans

The kind who doesn't want it to recur?

Anyway, your premise is completely wrong. Unlike Falwell and Robertson, Wright did not single out some minority group he hates. He said "we" several times in the paragraph people keep quoting. We nuked, we bombed, we supported, our yard. That's not blame, that's accepting responsibility. I seem to recall you saying that you've been to synagogue, Jay, did you ever attend a Yom Kippur service?

Wright's comments are also a heckuva lot more relevant to what happened than the gay-bashers'. UBL's kamikazes did not do this as a response to gay rights. They may well have been motivated in part by resentment of American violence and interference. That doesn't mean they were right (they weren't), but it does mean that Wright was looking in the right direction for root causes, unlike President "they hate us for our freedom." Why is asking "why did this happen" out of line after a disaster?

Why should Kristol do any fact checking?
We all know, including Kristol, that facts have a liberal bias.

So the best thing for him to do is to write what he thinks is right, and if enough do it, then that becomes reality.
Whatever the facts may be.

Obama is claiming that he has not once, over a twenty year period of active membership in that church and close personal friendship with its pastor not once, ever, heard Wright denegrate white people or America.

I must have missed that. Can you point me to where, exactly, he made that claim?

Not saying it's not so. I just haven't seen it.

Don't you remember the horror of it all? The repeated videos of the punctured towers? Fleeing pedestrians choking on soot? All those first responders trapped and dying in the rubble?

Great. It's been a while since anyone's trotted out the 9/11 dead and waved them like a bloody shirt in a blog post. It's like a trip down memory lane.

What kind of low-life American, of any race, would use a tragic event of that magnitude to wag a finger at other Americans

I guess that would be you, Jay.

Thanks -

I must have missed that. Can you point me to where, exactly, he made that claim?

Apparently it is unheard of and totally out of bounds to note that white people have held a privileged position in our country's history.

Obama chose these guys as pals. What does that tell you about his judgment ability?

And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

OT: Please make it stop.

I am tired of reading about politicians' sex lives.

Amen, hilzoy!

Daily News, daily blues
Pick up a copy any time you choose
Seven little pennies in the newsboy's hand
And you ride right along to never, never land

--Tom Paxton

I guess things haven't changed much in 40 years.

"UPDATE: At last, a correction"

When was that? (It's sort of uninformative, absent that information, since the point is what time that happened, which you don't give: three minutes later? A day?)

"Well, can we at least call Kristol an "editorialist" rather than a "reporter"."

Absolutely not. He has no connection whatever to the editorial Board of the NY Times, and has no influence or connection whatseover to any editorials published by the NY Times.

He is an opinion columnist, and speaks only for himself, and in no way for the editorial position of the paper. The only thing the two things have in common is being printed on two opposing piece of paper.

This sort of confusion is extremely common, and causes a lot of problems in misattribution.

I am tired of reading about politicians' sex lives.

Hey, who remembers Jimmy Carter admitting an infidelity that never even occurred? Now that, my friends, was taking the confessional urge to new heights.

Good times.

Thanks -

Gary:

Sloppy word choice on my part.

It occurred to me later that "opinion" was a better word.

Glad you are back.

"It occurred to me later that 'opinion' was a better word."

I lose words temporarily every day, as I get more tired, myself.

Hope I didn't sound snappish, since I didn't mean to.

Anyway, Kristol, like Krugman, Dowd, Friedman, etc., is a columnist. An editorial columnist, if you want a longer version, or an Op-Ed writer. Those will all do fine.

Also, "schmuck."

Hilzoy: "OT: Please make it stop."

But look how more more efficient Paterson is: he got the "scandal" out of the way immediately.

And I'm entirely with Michelle Paterson on this:

"I feel life is very fragile," she said. "You never know what could happen. That is why you shouldn't judge people.
That is, unless there's some a factor like someone clearly being a rapist, I feel entirely unqualified to pass many judgments on what goes on in private between two people. People have all sorts of relationships, and they need not be bound, in the privacy of that relationship, by any conventional definitions or customs.

Or they may. Who the hell knows, other than those two people? That's the point.

And this also:

When asked if she worried about "other women," given how much time she and her husband spend apart, she replied, "Not really. I have a philosophy in life: You have to let people live their life. I feel my husband loves me and is devoted to the family. And I know he loves me. I am not going to worry about that stuff."
Good enough for me. So why should this be anyone else's business, if it doesn't affect the the business of government?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad