In which Bill summarizes the news. 1.07.2006

They'll Be OK if No One Reads the Report
Where the Post is most mendacious, however, is in the truncated quote that it presents as the CRS's overall conclusion: "The administration's legal justification 'does not seem to be ... well grounded,' they said."

Here is what the CRS actually wrote:
Given such uncertainty, the Administration's legal justification, as presented in the summary analysis from the Office of Legislative Affairs, does not seem to be as well-grounded as the tenor of that letter suggests.

So the Post's headline, instead of reading, "Report Rebuts Bush on Spying," should have said, "Report Expresses Uncertainty on Spying."

In the spirit of the Washington Post report of the Congressional Research Service, I've decided to summarize some of the Washington Post's own reporting for you, as a public service so you don't have to. While I've provided links to the actual reports, I'd advise you just trust me, rather than go to the original article--just as the Washington Post has advised it's own readers.

For example, let's take Edward Kennedy's op-ed piece in Alito's Credibility Problem:
The views expressed [here] raise serious concerns about [my] ability to interpret the Constitution with a fair and open mind. When this embarrassing [event] (refering to Kennedy's "accident" at Chappaquiddick) came to light, [I] faced a difficult decision on whether to [help Mary Jo Kopechne, or just shove her head under the water].

Or how about this article in the Washingtn Post: In Video Al Qaeda's No. 2 Tells Bush to Admit Defeat in Iran
Al Qaeda's second-in-command said President Bush had admitted defeat in Iraq by announcing plans to reduce the American troop presence in the country, saying the move would be a victory for Islam.

[Concurring with Senator Moran (D) and Senaotr Murtha (D) in a coordinated press release], Ayman Zawahiri's videotaped remarks, broadcast on al-Jazeera television Friday, came after two days of suicide bombings in Iraq killed almost 200 people, 11 of them U.S. soldiers. Al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq is widely believed to have been behind the deadliest of the attacks.

[Meanwhile, in] an emotional two-hour public forum in Arlington last night on the Iraq war, one of the Bush administration's chief critics, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), renewed his call for an immediate pullout, saying, "We've become the enemy."

Okay, so the latter part came from another news article, found here, which in part said:
Many of those at yesterday's forum were [Playboy Bunnies] who [tried to blow] Murtha and detailed their frustration with botched [sexual passes at the Senator.]

Seriously, anytime I ever read a quote--from any document anywhere, including Bible quotes from various "Biblical scholars"--I worry when I see either a "short quote", elipses, or bracketed insertions into the quote--the device I used above. Short quotes often mean something was taken out of context--such as the WaPo's quote from the CRS's report above which completely changed the meaning of the quote from "we don't know" to "Bush is breaking the law."

I worry about elipses, which means some select part of the quote was removed which may alter it's meaning, such as in the following extreme case:
"Murtha, ... a coward ... has drawn sharp criticism"

which abbreviates the following two paragraphs in a way which completely alters it's meaning:
Murtha, a blunt-spoken decorated war veteran, has become a hero to the antiwar movement after he was denounced as a coward for his call to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq.

Murtha's views had drawn sharp criticism earlier in the day...

And I worry about corrective bracketed inserts which attempt to summarize a section of a quote--a summary which often reflects the bias of the person doing the summarization.

In short, I don't trust quotes in general until I can dig up the original sources. And with the current level of liberal partisanship in the Major Media, I trust their ability to accurately quote material even less.

posted by William Woody at 1:42 PM

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A moderate conservative living in the left coast, surrounded by the sureal, wonders if there is a sane life living amongst those who have lost touch with reality.

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