What he said vs. how it was reported

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn is quoted in the Tulsa World as saying President Obama wants to “create dependency” because it “worked so well for him” as an “African American male.” Now he is getting lambasted as a racist.

Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent went to the trouble of digging out the entire transcript.  Yes, he said those words, but here is the rest of what he said, in answer to a question about whether President Obama is trying to destroy the country:

“No, I don’t… He’s a very bright man. But think about his life. And think about what he was exposed to and what he saw in America. He’s only relating what his experience in life was…

“His intent isn’t to destroy. It’s to create dependency because it worked so well for him. I don’t say that critically. Look at people for what they are. Don’t assume ulterior motives. I don’t think he doesn’t love our country. I think he does.

“As an African American male, coming through the progress of everything he experienced, he got tremendous benefit through a lot of these programs. So he believes in them. I just don’t believe they work overall and in the long run they don’t help our country. But he doesn’t know that because his life experience is something different. So it’s very important not to get mad at the man. And I understand, his philosophy — there’s nothing wrong with his philosophy other than it’s goofy and wrong [laughter] — but that doesn’t make him a bad person.”

via What Coburn really said about Obama, race, and dependency – The Plum Line – The Washington Post.

So this was in the context of Sen. Coburn defending President Obama from a “worst construction” assessment.  One might still reject the points being made, but surely Sen. Coburn comes across differently in the entire transcript from the way he comes across in the truncated quotations in the World story.  I suspect that other scare quotes we read about from various sides may have be similar to this one.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • fws

    “I suspect that other scare quotes we read about from various sides may have be similar to this one.”

    Alot.

    I actually think senator Coburns ideas are goofy as well. But I also respect him and truly believe that he does love our country. And I also am very very appreciative that he has avoided the partisanship that infects the Republicans on their crazy no tax gambit.

    He has come up with alot of proposals on the budget that make some good sense and notice that he has been marginalized by the republicans as a direct result of that. He did not sign Grover Norquists pledge. kudos.

  • fws

    “I suspect that other scare quotes we read about from various sides may have be similar to this one.”

    Alot.

    I actually think senator Coburns ideas are goofy as well. But I also respect him and truly believe that he does love our country. And I also am very very appreciative that he has avoided the partisanship that infects the Republicans on their crazy no tax gambit.

    He has come up with alot of proposals on the budget that make some good sense and notice that he has been marginalized by the republicans as a direct result of that. He did not sign Grover Norquists pledge. kudos.

  • steve

    I’m sure I read this full quote, in context, on Media Matters. I’m sure of it. They wouldn’t let this kind of thing go unnoticed, would they?

  • steve

    I’m sure I read this full quote, in context, on Media Matters. I’m sure of it. They wouldn’t let this kind of thing go unnoticed, would they?

  • Kirk

    He also feels that he is black: “As an African American male… I… get mad at the man.”

    He also hates America: “I think… and… think… about America… and… our country… is wrong.”

  • Kirk

    He also feels that he is black: “As an African American male… I… get mad at the man.”

    He also hates America: “I think… and… think… about America… and… our country… is wrong.”

  • steve

    Kirk, I disagree. He said:

    His intent… to destroy… goofy… person. I, for one, commend him for that. We have far too many goofy people in this country.

  • steve

    Kirk, I disagree. He said:

    His intent… to destroy… goofy… person. I, for one, commend him for that. We have far too many goofy people in this country.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    A Guide to Cherry-Picking to Maintain Your Worldview

    Dislike the media for its consistent liberal bias? Here’s how to react to this story. Focus solely on what the Tulsa World journalist did wrong, and how he butchered a quote by a Republican. However, do not, under any circumstances, take into consideration the article that Greg Sargent wrote. Because that makes it look like some in the media actually do care about objectivity and doing research and aren’t simply hellbent on destroying Republicans. And since Greg Sargent is clearly a liberal, it necessarily follows that he is incapable of being objective or respectful of Republicans.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    A Guide to Cherry-Picking to Maintain Your Worldview

    Dislike the media for its consistent liberal bias? Here’s how to react to this story. Focus solely on what the Tulsa World journalist did wrong, and how he butchered a quote by a Republican. However, do not, under any circumstances, take into consideration the article that Greg Sargent wrote. Because that makes it look like some in the media actually do care about objectivity and doing research and aren’t simply hellbent on destroying Republicans. And since Greg Sargent is clearly a liberal, it necessarily follows that he is incapable of being objective or respectful of Republicans.

  • Kirk

    @5

    Coburn disagrees:

    “His… ulterior motives… don’t help this country… so it’s very important… to get mad.

  • Kirk

    @5

    Coburn disagrees:

    “His… ulterior motives… don’t help this country… so it’s very important… to get mad.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Everyone who doesn’t agree with me is racist.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    Everyone who doesn’t agree with me is racist.

  • CRB

    Here’s a short interview regarding a new book by Tim Groseclose on liberal bias:

    http://tv.nationalreview.com/uncommonknowledge/post/?q=MjgzYjQwNzU4YjU3YzAyMWI1ZGJmMjE0NzE0OGZhNGU=

  • CRB

    Here’s a short interview regarding a new book by Tim Groseclose on liberal bias:

    http://tv.nationalreview.com/uncommonknowledge/post/?q=MjgzYjQwNzU4YjU3YzAyMWI1ZGJmMjE0NzE0OGZhNGU=

  • DonS

    This kind of reporting has become habitual. What is refreshing, in this instance, is Greg Sargent’s willingness to call it out, and the Post’s willingness to print the column.

  • DonS

    This kind of reporting has become habitual. What is refreshing, in this instance, is Greg Sargent’s willingness to call it out, and the Post’s willingness to print the column.


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