Don’t tell me words don’t matter (updated)

1apalinOkay, we’re getting quite a bit of reader reaction to Charlie Gibson’s interview of Gov. Sarah Palin airing on ABC. Apparently Gibson messed up big time when he tried to explore Palin’s religious views. Here’s a portion of the transcript:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

Nevermind the asinine “holy war” question. Gibson was completely wrong in his quotation of Palin because he didn’t mention her introductory clause that completely changed the meaning of the statement. Let’s go to Jake Tapper for the actual quote with, you know, the “exact words” that Gibson omitted:

Palin asked the congregation to “pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

Oh, so she didn’t say that we were in a holy war. And she didn’t even say that leaders were sending soldiers on a task from God. She just encouraged people to pray about the war.

Despite Gibson’s error, Palin’s answer is consistent with her previous prayer request:

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said — first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words.

But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.

But Gibson tries to “get her” again — and again misquotes her. Remember that she said, “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.” Okay, so now let’s look at how Gibson mangles that:

GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln’s words, but you went on and said, “There is a plan and it is God’s plan.”

PALIN: I believe that there is a plan for this world and that plan for this world is for good. I believe that there is great hope and great potential for every country to be able to live and be protected with inalienable rights that I believe are God-given, Charlie, and I believe that those are the rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That, in my world view, is a grand — the grand plan.

GIBSON: But then are you sending your son on a task that is from God?

PALIN: I don’t know if the task is from God, Charlie. What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.

Charles Gibson
Perhaps Gibson wouldn’t have looked so bad here if he had, you know, watched the actual footage of her prayer request instead of just relying on whatever poor sources of information are floating around the ABC newsroom. Unfortunately that includes this completely erroneous Associated Press report by Gene Johnson.

Palin’s statement isn’t difficult to understand. She repeatedly encourages prayer about the topic. Her comments are not atypical when it comes to Christian prayer requests. As reader Patrick O’Hannigan wrote:

Praying that your actions conform to the will of God is not the same as asserting that they do.

Not getting the difference between these things is a key error. Did Gibson think that people wouldn’t be able to check his characterization against the facts of what she said?

It seems to me that if you have the first major interview of Palin since she was nominated, that there is an incredible burden on you as a journalist. With the media reputation in the tank when it comes to Palin coverage, these questions should have been well formulated and really thought out. Palin’s religious views are interesting and completely worthy of coverage. Her real religious views, that is. Not some slice-and-dice media conception of what she said.

I mean, he misquoted her, denied it after she called him on it, and then misquoted her again. That’s just not good journalism. Come on guys, these are vitally important interviews and we just can’t afford more of this ham-handed coverage.

UPDATE: I watched the Nightline clips of the interview and they’d been severely edited. So instead of Gibson’s embarrassing “exact words” exchange, they had a clip of Palin’s direct quote followed by the response cited above. But in the clumsily edited piece, there is no mention of how he botched it. Seems kind of odd. While it’s good ABC recognized the error, it’s not like interview subjects ever get to edit out things they wish they hadn’t said or add things they wish they’d said. I suppose it’s just a good reminder of how many people are involved in putting out a news product.

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  • jason

    When he quotes her, he is using the EXACT WORDS SHE USED. That’s what a quote is.

    Just because you don’t like that she is being challenged doesn’t mean you can defame Charles Gibson and say he’s not quoting her. He is!

    I’ll copy and paste from your posting:

    GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

    Later in your posting:

    “pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God.”

    Just because she said the words “pray for” before the statement doesn’t negate the fact that she made the statement.

    Your comment is ridiculous.

    Quotes are often taken out of context, but this one is not.

    I’m sure there are many things you can choose to be upset about within the interview, but Charlie Gibson misquoting her ain’t one of ‘em.

    Sorry! Try again.

  • pgcfriend

    I thought the first interview would be on Friday morning. I’m recording Nightline right now along with GMA, the evening news and 20/20. I read the transcript of this morning’s interview. It was amazing to read some of this stuff. I know she never said anything about a holy war.

    This looks like it will be pretty interesting to watch. Maybe it will get better than this. I guess I should have known he would hit the religion question. I guess only kooks pray that their actions line up with God’s will.

  • Jerry

    I do agree with you about this case, but the issue goes beyond this particular interview to the media process. Look at Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Barack Obama in which O’Reilly repeatedly mis-represented Obama’s positions and Obama had to repeatedly talk over O’Reilly to put forth his answers.

    When such things occur it could be due to lack of research, to deliberate distortion because of bias, to not listening, to testing the candidate’s inner strength, to gather good ratings and/or to a desire to create an opportunity for a “gotcha”.

    I’d bet the farm that this is not the last example we’ll see before we vote in November, probably far from it.

  • Tim J.

    jason,

    Do you really not see the difference between “we’re doing God’s will” and “pray that we’re doing God’s will?”

  • MichaelV

    “When he quotes her, he is using the EXACT WORDS SHE USED. That’s what a quote is.”

    No, Jason. It’s not a legitimate quote if you cut words out in such a way that you change the meaning of what was said. If a person says “Pray that we do the right thing,” it does not mean the same as “We do the right thing.”

    Watch some of those movie mashups on youtube – context can be twisted in a million ways.

    “We have to fear!” – FDR

    “I have a dream that my four little children… be judged by the color of their skin.” – MLK

  • Martha

    No, Mollie, you’ve got it all wrong!

    He’s on television, therefore he *must* be right! As Jason has so helpfully explained, Mrs. Palin was lying about what exactly she said.

    He neglected to mention (perhaps he is not aware?) how it was done, so let me enlighten you all.

    You see, thanks to the secret time travel technology the Eeeevil Republicans possess, she was able to go back to that original event, change what she *really* said in that speech (which Gibson quoted accurately) to her false version that you have fallen for, and then zip back to the present moment so people could dig up that revised wording and say “Hey, this guy got what she said wrong!” in order to make fools out of the blamelessly impartial and scrupulously rigorous about fact- and source-checking hard-working journalists, reporters and anchorpersons out there (who are on to her dirty little secret that she’s really one of the reptiloids from Alpha Draconis), so that we won’t believe them when they reveal that she’s a blood-drinking, baby-eating, alien.

    (Being a reptiloid from Alpha Draconis, that’s how she has access to time travel technology – see how it all fits together in a tightly-woven net of undeniable veracity and plausability?)

    See? It all makes sense now!

  • Jerry

    Martha, you forgot the biggest mystery of all: what happened to John McCain in our universe. He seems to have almost vanished without a trace. Just look at the media coverage. This election is between Obama and Palin or at least it seems to be that way.

  • Martha

    Jerry, that’s simple. It’s all part of the Master Plan.

    Since the reptiloids need to feed upon the fear energy of humans to remain in this dimension, he’s stepped back and allowed Sarah the spotlight in order to generate the maximum fear, hysteria, and loathing amongst the human population of America and thus provide a veritable feast for our alien lizard overlords.

    The media coverage is certainly witness to the fear being expressed by columnists, pundits, and bloggers, is it not?

  • http://www.jeffsharlet.com Jeff Sharlet

    My first response was the same as yours, Mollie, but then it occurred to me that it was deliberate bait. And I think that’s a legitimate tactic, given that A) there are plenty of people who see Iraq as such; B) plenty of Americans believe that’s what she thinks (some support her for this mistaken impression, more oppose her) C) in one significant instance, he speaks of God’s will in regard to the pipeline in the sense that Gibson (wrongly) suggests she does with regard to Iraq.

    So there’s legitimate curiosity, there. What did she really mean? One way to test that — and a legitimate one with a politician (and yes, I’m absolutely fine with someone testing Obama like this) — is to put out the bait and see if she bites. If she does, then we’ve learned something. If she responds as she did, then she’s been given a marvelous chance to clear up misperceptions about she believes. This is the first time I know of that she cited Lincoln, a comparison I thought of immediately when I first heard the quote. Now she’s had a chance to put it out there.

    An equivalent would be quoting Obama’s “clinging to guns and God” bit and asking whether he believes such voters are incapable of rational choices. I don’t think he does, but I think a lot of people interpret his comment like that. It’d be legit to test it.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Here’s what I thought of when I heard the quote:

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0708/Obamas_note.html

    Lord,

    Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins and help me guard against pride and despair.

    Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just.

    And make me an instrument of your will.

    That, of course, is Obama’s prayer at the Wailing Wall.

  • Margaret

    Thank you for posting this! I’m so thankful that this interview is available online and in transcript form so that the true words may be known. Now a “heads up” has been given to everyone, we need to watch and listen VERY CLOSELY to our media.

    The comments here are excellent, also, thanks to everyone!

  • Bill

    Mr. Gibson, I am afraid, did not understand, did not care, and knew that his target viewers would prefer to believe that his mischaracterization was correct. If impartial journalism ever existed it certainly does not exist today. Choose a source to match your bias.

  • http://knapsack.blogspot.com Jeff

    OK, so on the “getting religion” front, here’s the possibilities:

    Charlie was utterly underprepared, and relying entirely on “verbatim” transcripts that underlings handed him. Hmm. Possible.

    Charlie heard the video, and felt the “Pray that” was overly religious, while “Holy war” was just quoting St. Augustine. Hard to credit.

    Charlie listened to it, realized he had no gotcha without editing out “an inconvenient truth,” and said “clip that off,” believing it is fair to quote a part, not a whole statement, because they do that all the time. Seems most likely.

    Charlie loathes Palin, fears her getting into office, and will do anything to help Obama win and cause McCain-Palin to lose. That i find highly unlikely, but what he did was amazingly clueless in that it made him look as if, in retrospect, that’s what explains the cut, the snarky “Exact quote,” and the lack of acknowledgment afterwards.

    Only because Gibson and other senior newspeople around him don’t “get religion” could they have done themselves this kind of damage in the public eye. And in my trolling around this morning, ABC News is now seen as part of the Olbermann Empire.

  • Dave G.

    I think the problem here is that the interview was never about what Palin thinks, it’s about what Palin knows. Even the questions about her faith statements are in the wider context of a job interview. We don’t really have anything to compare it to in terms of previous interviews, since no matter how experienced or not the VP candidate, most interviews are not predicated on ‘by what right do you seek this office?’. Therefore, the actual content of her answer, or Charlie’s question, begins to fade compared to how well she answered or how smart her answers sound. Most folks will hear that, and miss any little details or facts.

  • Michael V

    Y’know, Tmatt, that raises an issue for me I can’t remember – and I could be remembering wrong – anyone at Get Religion mentioning. I don’t want to read Obama’s prayer, I don’t want to know what it says. It’s none of my business and I think it’s kind of gross that the press reported it.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Michael V:

    The coverage of how that prayer leaked out was really interesting. Depressing, but interesting.

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  • Michael, IL

    There is a huge difference between praying that one is doing the right thing by God by going to war, and praying for one’s safety as they do God’s work by going to war. These are world’s apart, and there is room in any interpretation of Sarah Palin’s remarks to wonder which she meant. The former of these interpretations is what I think the majority of rational people are OK with, while the latter starts to sound quite frightening when it comes with some authority to exercise such a war.

    If Palin is to convince those of us who are frightened by the idea a foreign policy defined not by realism but by religious faith, she needs to account for statements like this. While phrased somewhat like a gotcha question, every single one of Palin’s answers is a diversion and an attempt to sidewind and escape. So he has to keep at it, otherwise it’s nothing but a silly farce to speak in such generalities.

    In any case, as to her belief or intent, I am willing to grant her some leeway, but this was clearly a rehearsed answer, and I wonder whether before she sat down with Joe Lieberman, whether she had ever heard of Abraham Lincoln. OK, that was cheap. I apologize. But my point is that it did not seem to me to be sincere. Honestly, she comes across like she did EXACTLY what Lincoln warned us against, making such a presumption, but is trying to change her mind now. A little bit of honesty about it would have helped, or a truer reckoning of her intent.

    I would have liked her to say something like: “you know, Charlie, I’m glad you asked me about that, because it’s something that I’ve wanted to clear up. What I was trying to say, and my phrasing kind of mucked it up, was that we should pray that our leaders are doing the right thing by God. And I do pray that we are, Charlie. But I see how someone could hear what I said and think otherwise. Lincoln once talked about the difference between praying that you are on God’s side, and praying that God is on your side. I meant the latter, but I can see how someone would take it to think I intended the former, and I really wish I had been clearer that day.”

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  • http://www.goodintentionsbook.com Bob Smietana

    Jeff Sharlet makes a good point about using the “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God” as bait. Maybe that’s what Gibson was trying to do, and Palin certainly had an opportunity to explain herself.

    Even so, it was pretty ham-handed. “Exact words” seems like the worst kind of gotcha. He might as well have said, “Liar, Liar, pants on fire.”

  • http://www.goodintentionsbook.com Bob Smietana

    On the other hand, asking whether Palin thinks we’re in a holy war isn’t asinine. It’s a legitimate question.

    Here’s why. She’s using insider language in this speech. People who are regular church goers pray that God’s will be done in every situation. And she’s using the evangelical dialect in that prayer.

    Most Americans are not regular churchgoers nor evangelicals. To an outsider, Palin’s language can sound scary. So he was right to ask about, even if it was done in a clumsy manner.
    A good intention gone bad.

  • http://www.mikehickerson.com Mike Hickerson

    Jeff Sharlet makes a good point, and Palin handled it well, but a better comparison would be the way interviewers have failed to pick up Rick Warren’s line of questioning about when human rights begin, instead falling back to misreading the question as when life begins. The combination of these two situations (Gibson’s poor parsing of Palin’s prayer, Brokaw et al.’s poor parsing of Warren’s question) seems to me an example of the damage the 24-hour news cycle has done to TV reporting, and makes me miss Tim Russert’s almost superhuman ability to absorb and analyze floods of information in real time.

  • Robert K Wright

    Complain all you want. This is the interviewer and interview that McCain Palin hand picked. They could have choosen anyone and they PICKED HIM. If you are so concerned that she isn’t being treated fairly, then let her answer questions, let her hold a press confrence. What is she afraid of?

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  • Brian Walden

    A little bit of honesty about it would have helped, or a truer reckoning of her intent.

    I would have liked her to say something like: “you know, Charlie, I’m glad you asked me about that, because it’s something that I’ve wanted to clear up. What I was trying to say, and my phrasing kind of mucked it up, was that we should pray that our leaders are doing the right thing by God.

    Michael, IL, For what reasons do you doubt her honesty? As far as I know, she hasn’t offered any explanation other than that she was praying that we do God’s will. If she has said otherwise in the past and then changed once this because a huge story, then I’ll doubt her honesty.

    And why do you think she mucked up her phrasing? Her audience at that speech wasn’t the nation as a whole, it was the congregation of the Wasilla AOG church. Her language was perfectly clear for her audience. She said those words months before 99% percent of Americans ever knew who she was. You can’t go back in time and accuse of her of speaking in a way that is unclear to a national audience.

    Gibson had every right to ask for a clarification, especially now that her comments have gone national, but the “Gotcha!” style he used was a little unnecessary. Given that Gibson didn’t understand what her words meant, I think a more neutral form of asking the question would have been a better opener. Then if her response presented a contradiction or something suspicious, go for the “Gotcha!”

    Anyway, that’s just my opinion. I don’t think it was any intentional ill will on Gibson’s party. It’s probably just better for ratings to ask the question in way that makes the issue more controversial.

  • Dan Crawford

    As I understand it, McCain-Palin chose ABC and Gibson for the interview. It suggests to me that they chose him because they know he is a lightweight. And he ends up looking like a dork, and they have achieved their on-going purpose of discrediting what the media says about them. Brilliant strategy.

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  • http://returntorome.com Francis Beckwith

    Poor Jason does not realize that people talk in whole paragraphs that consist of whole sentences, all of which occur in time and space.

    By the way, Jason, the Bible says, “There is no God.”(Ps. 14:1). Read it for yourself. It’s an exact quote, as you say.

  • saint

    Even the LA Times has a go at Gibson for mischaracterizing Palin’s prayer.

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  • John

    Here is a quote I cut and pasted from Jason’s post. “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Literally cut and pasted, so it can’t be be a mis-quote. So I guess Jason thinks our soldiers are on a task from God. Scary.

  • Dan

    The interesting thing to me is that Gov. Palin demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of how we (including journalists) and politicians should think of God’s will. She correctly understands what Abraham Lincoln had to say about this subject in his (incomparably beautiful) Second Inaugural Address, which is one of the most profound musings on the subject ever penned by a American public official. If only she had added that we in Iraq should go forward “with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right” — which is Lincoln’s perfect expression of how we should go about our affairs, both at the personal level and at the level of national and international affairs.

  • Dave M.

    Dave G. way back in comment #14 nailed it.

    I didn’t see the O’Reilly interview with Obama, it may have had the same vibe– but I was uncomfortable watching ABC last night, I found myself muttering to the TV, “Who do you think you are Charlie Gibson, demanding she prove herself to you? Ask her what she thinks, and let the people decide. She’s qualified to be there, b/c John McCain asked her to be there– full stop. ”

    I’m biased, I admit- but from the way it was framed, it seemed like she couldn’t have been anything other than defensive.

    my 2c

  • http://blidiot.blogspot.com/ Raider51

    Jason writes:

    When he quotes her, he is using the EXACT WORDS SHE USED. That’s what a quote is.

    Just because you don’t like that she is being challenged doesn’t mean you can defame Charles Gibson and say he’s not quoting her. He is!

    I’ll copy and paste from your posting:

    GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

    Later in your posting:

    “pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God.”

    Just because she said the words “pray for” before the statement doesn’t negate the fact that she made the statement.

    Your comment is ridiculous.

    Quotes are often taken out of context, but this one is not.

    I’m sure there are many things you can choose to be upset about within the interview, but Charlie Gibson misquoting her ain’t one of ‘em.

    Sorry! Try again.

    Now that I’ve edited it, here’s exactly what you wrote Jason:

    I’m a holy ridiculous man.

    Capisce?

    (and I apologize if I offended you – I’m sure you are a reasonable person, I just want to give you an idea of what can be done with the selective editing.)

  • http://blidiot.blogspot.com/ Raider51

    John, #32 – you did this much better than I – I opened my comment a few hours ago and never pushed submit – perhaps it would have been better if I just closed it.

    I think Gibson and ABC should just admit they made a mistake and apologize to the candidate and the country.

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  • SpanishProf

    The quote is in the subjunctive mood. The subject+verb, “we are sending”, which appears in the subordinate clause, is governed by the implied verb “pray” in the main clause of that sentence (explicitly stated in the previous sentence). Same with “there is a plan” and “that plan is God’s plan”–these are subordinate clauses whose verbs are in the subjunctive mood, governed by “praying for” in the previous clause. The difference of the subjunctive from the indicative is precisely this: the indicative indicates, the subjunctive does not. The indicative asserts (whether affirmatively or negatively), while the subjunctive expresses wishes/emotions/desires/requests/prayers/petitions. You rip the subordinate, subjunctive clause away from its governing verb, and you make it look indicative–as if a person is asserting something when he or she is not.

  • Tyler Simons

    As an ardent Obama guy, I’m pretty glad that Sarah didn’t have the press savvy to respond, “Charlie, you’re totally misrepresenting what I said. I said ‘I pray that this war is in God’s will,’ which is the exact opposite, really, of what you just said. I was paraphrasing Lincoln, of whom you may have heard. He said this at his Second Inaugural Address, a big speech presidents give upon the commencement of their term in office” or some such. She could have kicked his butt right there.

    I seriously had no idea that she got the reference right. She looked like an idiot on the screen to me — it appeared that she was trying to claim that when she said God was on our side in her church she actually meant, not the exact opposite, but close.

    Charlie made a big misrepresentation, but Sarah didn’t help her case at all. She’s not helping the press get her religion real well. This actually might help the McCain campaign demonize the press and insulate the hardcore Christian base from the reporting of, like, actual crazy stupid stuff that McCain and Palin say. Wouldn’t it be better, though, for Palin to be an effective communicator of her faith, so that even the boneheaded mainstream media can’t completely twist it around?

    My Christianity is quite a bit different from Palin’s, so far be it from me to offer her advice in its proclamation, but I’m pretty excited to have a candidate for national office, in Barack, who can articulate a faith much like mine in a way that makes sense and is appealing to some of those who don’t already share it. There are some folks more in Palin’s camp that do this for me, but she doesn’t have those chops. Yet, at least.

    I hate it when candidates I oppose get attacked with misinformation like this. It hurts my cause. When the candidate I oppose drops the ball like that, though, I guess I like it?

  • Dave G.

    Wow, an entirely different approach from ol’Tyler there. Interesting take. Perhaps Gibson’s mistake feeds into the ‘media hates Sarah’ thing, but I don’t think the MSM has needed much help. For my part, I didn’t think she looked like an idiot. I prefer not to use terms like that, my Christian leanings and all. But I do think she was defensive, and I didn’t feel Gibson did a horrible job. He was more direct than anything Obama has gotten hit with, that’s obvious (with the exception of O’Reilly, but then there was so much talking over each other, I couldn’t hear what Obama was trying to say with that series). But the big problem Palin will have now is that, unlike Obama who was able to fumble and bumble early on when about 1% of the population cared, Palin has to do it in front of tens of millions of people who are paying attention. This is the flip side of the popularity Palin enjoys. She must learn, but in front of a crowd. Of course the experience issue itself always plays against Obama. But the faith, family, personal issues will be open to much more interpretation, and pre-conceived bias (probably the bias that led the MSM to miss her as a candidate when it was far from a shock to those who were watching the political weathervane), will play a big part as the MSM comes to her door trying to parse just what it means to be something that caries with it so much popularly accepted stereotypes.

  • Lee

    > Jason: “When he quotes her, he is using the EXACT WORDS SHE USED…. That’s what a quote is. Your comment is ridiculous. Quotes are often taken out of context, but this one is not.”

    I think our brother Jason may not quite understand the concept of taking a quote out of context. I would like to help him by using his own words.

    “… defame Charles Gibson and say he’s snot…” — Jason

    “…what a quote…” — Jason

    “Quotes are often taken out of context…. this one is….” — Jason

    “…there are many things… to be upset about within the interview…” — Jason

    “…men, t’is ridiculous!” — Jason

    “…I’m sure there are many things you can choose to be upset about within the interview, but … her ain’t one of ‘em.”

    So here’s how it works, Jason: when a passage from a quote is removed in such a manner that it alters the meaning of what was originally said, then it has been taken out of context.

    Palin’s second sentence is incomplete, and its meaning depends on the statement preceding it. Thus, the phrase:

    > Palin: “Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God.”

    … in context, really means:

    > Palin: “Also, [pray] for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God.”

    To have quoted Palin honestly, the first sentence would have been needed to have been in Gibson’s quoting of her, in order to provide the context.

    But all Gibson quoted was this part, as if it were the entire sentence:

    > “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.”

    I trust you will be pleased to receive this update on your education, and will gracefully retract your post.

  • ME

    I suspect Jason will be too embarrassed to show his virtual face around here again. Being the first poster isn’t worth much if you misunderstand basic things like quoting people in context.

    Meanwhile, America and the GOP VP candidate await Charlie Gibson’s apology for his weasely, dishonest (or ignorant) distortion of Gov. Palin’s words. Charlie’s in a more difficult situation than Jason. He seems to misunderstand the basic tenets of journalism, like “get your facts straight,” “be objective,” and “don’t become part of the story.”

    Of course, I’m not holding my breath waiting for the apology. It’ll be penance enough for Charlie to have to utter the words “Vice-President Palin” for the next 4-8 years.

  • steve schofield

    I pray that brother Jason does not have a job of any responsibility . . . if only that made it so.

  • Steve Newton

    Wow, I’m happy to find this site. NPR was interviewing Juan Williams and he had the same misunderstanding as Gibson. There’s all the difference in the world between praying to do God’s will and saying that whatever one does is God’s will, and Palin clearly was doing the former. President Bush was not so humble. I write this as someone who does not think Palin is ready to be vice president. In any case, I hope your voice of reason gets out to a wider and wider audience. It is needed.

  • Chris Bolinger

    How can someone who honed his journalism skills at the hard-hitting news show “Good Morning America” not understand the basic tenets of journalism?

    You people give way too much credit to “journalists” such as Gibson. Try lowering your expectations. A lot.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Note: All the media round tables analyzing the interview that I have seen analyzed and probed almost everything Gov. Palin said. But, I saw very little honest analyzing of the job Gibson was doing and the accuracy or quality of his questions.
    And when are we going to see a 2 day grilling of the brilliant VP candidate Sen. Biden who recently urged a paralyzed man in a wheel chair to stand up and be recognized. I heard it on two talk radio stations and it is hilarious if you know what is going on. Or maybe he should be asked what was on his mind when he–in essence-trashed the decision making ability of his ticket partner when he said that Hillary would probably have been a better choice for VP
    But I haven’t seen a video of the first incident or anything on the TV News about it.

  • Linda

    Dave G. says:

    He was more direct than anything Obama has gotten hit with, that’s obvious

    People perceive things according to their own biases. I could fill pages of biased Obama interviews. The debate moderated by Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos was way out of line, especially since it was a rehash of beat to death subjects.

    One reason some people are concerned about Gov Palin’s words about God and war are in reaction to the reported wording by Pres George W. Bush that God told him to invade Iraq. For people that believe Bush should not have attacked Iraq, Palin’s wording sounds scary.

    Charles Gibson did an interesting interview with Bush on October 26, 2004 before Bush’s reelection.

    CHARLES GIBSON: But you’ve used a phrase that interests me, which is, you said, freedom is a gift of the Almighty.

    PRESIDENT BUSH: It is.

    CHARLES GIBSON: And if you’re the agent of freedom, or consider yourself so in this, does that indicate in your mind that the Almighty is on our side in some way?

    …..

    CHARLES GIBSON: Do Christians and non-Christians and Muslims go to heaven in your mind?

    PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, they do. We have different routes of getting there. But I will, I, I want you to understand, I want your listeners to understand, I don’t get to decide who goes to heaven. The almighty God decides who goes to heaven. And I am on my personal walk.

    Transcript:
    http://xcommunicator.blogspot.com/2004/12/transcript-of-bush-interview-with.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U0O2-cAYWM

  • Pingback: The Art of the Possible » Blog Archive » In Defense of Sarah Palin

  • Tim

    The first commenter, Jason, needs to go back to 4th grade and learn the difference between declaratory and imperative sentences.

  • Dave G.

    Linda says,

    People perceive things according to their own biases.

    A very true statement. Yet it doesn’t mean things may not be a certain way. For instance, I don’t remember (and if it happened, please correct me) Obama being asked if he was ready to be president, and when answering yes, asked if that wasn’t a bit arrogant for him to suppose.

    Likewise, I have seen yet another AP story, in addition to CBS, NBC, CNN, and previous AP stories, indicating that Palin is ‘not being truthful’ regarding the bridge to nowhere. That might be. But their reasons are the same that the Democrats have referenced: that she supported it until overwhelmingly negative reactions caused her to change her mind. Now, did she actually say that? Did she say, “You know, I was all for this bridge, but now that everyone’s against it, I’m going to play politics and change my mind for the sheer convenience”? Because otherwise, there is no reason to suggest her reason – that she supported the possibility until she became governor and had a chance to see all the details – isn’t true. Yet every major MSM story has not just taken the Democrat interpretation as the way to see it, but has headlined it with ‘Palin less than honest’ to boot.

    So yes, you are right Linda. We see things with bias. But sometimes, those biased viewpoints can still be true. Maybe Palin was just being politically savvy, and the Democrats and MSM are right. And maybe, just maybe, the MSM is actually quite biased toward aiding the Democrats in their quest for the White House, and is seeing things through the lense of a partisan political operative.

  • Dave G.

    Palin first approved of the project, and turned against it only after it proved to be a political embarrassment.

    Italics are mine.

    And yet again. From an AP story. Again.

  • Bern

    Yes, Gibson blew it big time: in setting up/prefacing his question, “Are we fighting a holy war?” he took Gov. Palin’s quote out of context. And, it’s also a very poor question, if what is being looked for is a thoughtful and informative answer about foreign policy. It is indeed a “gotcha” question. Consider it on it’s own, no misquoting prefacing: “Are we fighting a holy war?” If the answer is a simple “yes” that’s going to be fine with a certain segment of the voting population; and a simple “no” is going to be fine with another segment of the voting population. But yes and no are NOT the answers.


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