Friday, June 29, 2007

Coulter vs. Edwards - Tale of the Truncated Tirade

One of my pet peeves about political discourse is the truncation of quotes to manipulate the reader - an easy way to slant a story is to cherry-pick portions of quotes that, when taken out of context, can be used to make someone look like they've said something they didn't.

This particular example is a two-fer: Ann Coulter, who is coarse, biting and sarcastic, was said to have (a) mocked the death of Edwards' son and (b) wished that Edwards would die in a terrorist attack.

But here's the catch: The quotes were truncated, taken out of context. The news outlets give you, the reader, misleading portions to support the above statement.

Here's what the truth really is:

(A) No one mocked the Edwards' dead son!

In one of Coulter's columns she was talking about how she felt Edwards was exploiting his son's death for political purposes. That's it. She didn't mock the dead son, she mocked Edwards for things he said about the event on the campaign trail -- and anything a politician says as they seek office is fair game for criticism (and you should look critically at everything they say unless you want to be a sheep!).

I felt the same thing when Edwards came out early on in this campaign to talk about his wife's cancer. I felt I as a potential voter was being manipulated emotionally, because his wife, her cancer, or anything of that sort has nothing to do with whether or not I should vote for Edwards. Everyone knows someone who is ill, everyone has bad things happen in their lives -- there was no reason for him to fill me in on his wife's illness because it has nothing to do with his qualifications to be president.

(B) No one wished a terror attack on John Edwards!

This one is rich. Coulter had been speaking at a political event, and, in referring to the Gray's Anatomy actor who had to go through sensitivity rehab after calling another actor a '"faggot," she said she was going to talk about John Edwards but couldn't because you have to go to rehab if you use the word "faggot."

I didn't really find it amusing, but, hey, whatever. Anyway, people went nuts after that, so she was talking about that incident on Good Morning America and she said this:

"But about the same time, you know, Bill Maher was not joking and saying he
wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack — so I've learned my
lesson: If I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just
wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."

That, to anyone with a brain, is clearly not what all the "news" stations are telling you she said - they say she wished death on John Edwards. ( "In the past, Ann Coulter has called John Edwards a "faggot" and recently expressed that she wished he [Edwards] had died in a terrorist attack." ) It was a sarcastic comment, truncated and paraphrased to make a different point than what as actually said!

Here's why you should be angry with the mainstream media:

They think we're fools! If you look at the quotes the "news" people referred to, and you look at how they paraphrased those quotes, how do you not see that the 2 are different?

Granted, maybe you disagree with Coulter's statements, and that's fine. But at the same time, you should also appreciate the fact that they were not the statements the news outlets made them out to be, and that should be insulting to you as an intelligent human being.

If the public has to rely on the press for information, and the press intentionally gives misleading information to the public, that's not right.

So anytime you read a story and someone is paraphrased ("So-and-so said this," or "So-and-so said that") you should make it a point to find the source of that paraphrased element and see for yourself what was said, because you can't trust the mainstream media!

And you can quote me on that however you like.

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