Patterico's Pontifications


Holey Moley — L.A. Times Criticizes Gibson for Mischaracterizing Palin’s Prayer

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:15 am

You heard me: the L.A. Times actually got one right:

In the sit-down with Gibson, she faced questions about statements on the Iraq war that she made at an Assembly of God church that she sometimes attends in her hometown, Wasilla, of which she is a former mayor.

A video shows Palin asking a group to pray that the nation’s leaders were sending troops to Iraq “on a task that is from God.”

Gibson, however, mischaracterized her as simply asserting that the nation’s leaders were sending troops to Iraq on a task from God.

“Are we fighting a holy war?” he asked.

After Palin disputed his characterization, she paraphrased Abraham Lincoln, saying she meant, “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.”

Gibson went on to take a second part of her comments out of context. Palin had asked the group to pray “that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.”

But Gibson dropped her reference to praying — and instead quoted Palin as saying the war was God’s plan. He asked if she believed the country was sending her son on a task from God.

Wow. Dead on target.

OK, so it comes late in the article. And, much further towards the top, there is some typical L.A. Times claptrap:

And Palin, whose critics see her as unqualified for the vice presidency, said she was “thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War.” The Soviet Union collapsed three years after Ronald Reagan left the White House.

Gotcha! Except, not so much. It’s an article of faith among conservatives, whether right or wrong, that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. Palin’s quote merely reflects that view. The L.A. Times‘s criticism here is like quoting a Democrat praising JFK for leading the country in the drive to put a man on the Moon, and then snarkily observing: “Man first set foot on the Moon in 1969, six years after JFK’s death.”

OK, so that’s par for the course. Still, my expectations for this paper are so low, my dominant reaction is to be tickled pink that they actually got part of the story right, and firmly so. Well done, sort of, L.A. Times!


  1. I am very, very sure that I have never heard any Democratic politician ever give Pres. Richard M. Nixon credit for “putting a man on the moon.”

    Comment by Beldar (8a23eb) — 9/12/2008 @ 12:34 am

  2. Not only the LAT, but – as Jeff Goldstein points out – the NYT seems to have had a moment of clarity:

    Mr. Gibson, who sat back in his chair and wriggled his foot impatiently, had the skeptical, annoyed tone of a university president who agrees to interview the daughter of a trustee, but doesn’t believe she merits admission.

    I wonder if this is an indicator that the coverage of the election has reached a turning point.

    (Here’s a link to the PW post, which I include because Jeff is depressed that you’re getting all his traffic.

    Comment by Marco (dbeec2) — 9/12/2008 @ 1:12 am

  3. Maybe this is their way of getting back at Gibson for when he and Stephanopoulos were so mean to the Messiah during the ABC debate.

    Comment by Icy Truth (db6433) — 9/12/2008 @ 1:32 am

  4. Everyone has seen this haven’t they?

    “Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor.”

    Here is the email text that I sent to Rush.


    Actually, Pilate was a procurator, not a full governor. What communities did Jesus organize under today’s definition of community organizer. In most cases, I prefer to use the term “community agitator for Obama and his ilk.

    How about turning the worm on these idiots?

    Mohammed was a community organizer, Ronald Reagan was a governor.


    Comment by peedoffamerican (389cf6) — 9/12/2008 @ 2:55 am

  5. Truman was president when Germany and Japan surrendered, but only a contemptible pedant would object if someone said that FDR won World War II.

    Comment by Dr Weevil (174040) — 9/12/2008 @ 4:14 am

  6. Oh, don’t worry: now that you’ve pointed this out, they’ll make certain it doesn’t happen again.

    Comment by The Dana with hairy legs (3e4784) — 9/12/2008 @ 4:19 am

  7. my dominant reaction is to be tickled pink that they actually got part of the story right


    When the media gets something right, it is either accident or coincidence.

    Comment by cboldt (3d73dd) — 9/12/2008 @ 4:41 am

  8. Everyone has seen this haven’t they?

    “Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor.”

    Yes. It’s Astroturfing. And, like everything else they’ve done for the last two weeks, it’s blowing up in their faces.

    Comment by Jim Treacher (592cb4) — 9/12/2008 @ 5:01 am

  9. On the “Jesus was a community organiser” meme, just keep pointing out that Pilate didn’t make a the final decision. He voted “present” and tossed the decision to the mob. That sound familiar?

    Comment by Dan S (ca8a95) — 9/12/2008 @ 5:08 am

  10. Now, this calls for another McCain ad – the press needs to know that they will be held to account. This is more important than going directly against Obama.

    This is slam-dunk. You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote – that has got to be shown right next to his misquote.

    Of course, liberals who don’t spend much time thinking of God would not pick up on the fact that asking God for something is not the same thing as saying it is true. This would have been clearly understood in Lincoln’s day. It’s hard to comprehend another person’s faith when one has none of one’s own.

    Comment by Amphipolis (fdbc48) — 9/12/2008 @ 5:19 am

  11. You’re joshing us, right?

    If the LA Times actually went to Sarah Palin’s defense, then it means they’re setting her up for something even nastier.

    Cynical of the LA Times am I? And I don’t have good reason to be?

    Comment by Arnold (1a3b0c) — 9/12/2008 @ 5:29 am

  12. you’re over parseing these things. WE all know she’s on a mission from God. She won’t blink. She is “wired”.

    Comment by datadave (eb12a5) — 9/12/2008 @ 5:49 am

  13. Over parsing things. WE do not all know what you assert, datalessdave.

    Comment by JD (6a8c0a) — 9/12/2008 @ 6:01 am

  14. They must be having snow-ball fights in Hell! I agree though, if they back her up on this, they probably have something else they are holding back on which they will try to release at the right time to cause the most damage possible.

    Comment by J. Raymond Wright (d83ab3) — 9/12/2008 @ 6:03 am

  15. While I agree there is just cause for cynicism on “what’s next?”, I am happy to give a little credit where it is due. For the LAT and NYT to explicitly point this out is good. It is the truth and a good commentary on it. Whether they were more interested in tweaking Charlie Gibson than wanting fairness for Gov. Palin, I don’t know, but three cheers for intellectual honesty no matter what the motivation.

    It would make a great McCain/Palin ad, showing the original interview exchange and then the quotes by the NYT and LAT.

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 9/12/2008 @ 6:07 am

  16. The LAT gets it right…There has been a disturbance in the force.

    BTW some other well known community organizers:
    Hitler, Mussolini, Castro, and Lenin.

    Comment by Perfect Sense (9d1b08) — 9/12/2008 @ 6:20 am

  17. “Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor.”
    “Jesus was pro-life, Pontius Pilate voted “present”.

    Comment by rhodeymark (1aaf2a) — 9/12/2008 @ 6:28 am

  18. Yo datadave – what do you have against the Blues Brothers?

    Comment by rhodeymark (1aaf2a) — 9/12/2008 @ 6:32 am

  19. My impressions: Once again all the focus is on Palin vs. Obama. Not McCain. Big mistake on the Ds part there.
    She once again overwhelms the media’s low expectations and so, once again, they fall back on “she was well coached” similar to their “her acceptance speech was written by a speechwriter, she just performed it well” after her boffo performance at the convention.
    Translation: She continues to score!!
    I still wish they could find a way to make the point that if she became president she would also appoint another vice president!! This fact seems to elude the media. Just to get to the pathetic situation that the Dems have with Obama who is highly unqualified to be president, McCain would have to die and Palin not be able to choose her own greybeard as vice president, just like Obama has.
    And running against Washington D.C. reflects the mood of the country. She is the only outsider in the race.

    Comment by bio mom (a1e126) — 9/12/2008 @ 6:50 am

  20. We knew we had won the cold war when East Germans were traipsing all over Europe in Trabants and the Czechs had their velvet revolution, which was 1989 was far as I remember, but it was obvious we were going to win when Gorbachev got rid of censorship, which happened after Chernobyl.

    Comment by John Costello (b92105) — 9/12/2008 @ 8:08 am

  21. For quite some time I’ve been very angry at CNN for what I’ve felt was lopsided pro biased articles. Commentators like Jack Cafferty have been particularly biased and out spoken in behalf of Obama. But, to be fair, this article by Glenn Beck provides some reassurance that CNN is interested in providing some balance and truth to the public. It’s interesting reading these blogs, for it shows that people don’t want to be bothered with the facts, but will believe what they want to believe anyway.

    Comment by Howard (f14f31) — 9/12/2008 @ 8:23 am

  22. Not really, Howard – their ridiculous anchor (John Roberts) was just caught saying to Paul Begala (live) “but how do we respond (to McCain) to this?” Couple that telling slip of the tongue with Soledad O’Brien’s fraudulent gotcha attempt at a McCain campaign head and you’ve got a jailbreak of moonbattery over at Communist News Network. All that’s left is to bring in Howard Beale.

    Comment by Dmac (e639cc) — 9/12/2008 @ 8:28 am

  23. I think MD in Philly has it mostly right here. This was not a purist case of setting the record straight. This was a case of the LAT and NYT tweaking Gibson because he got the interview and they didn’t. ‘Defending’ Palin from the talking points was just collateral damage.

    Comment by kaz (cad490) — 9/12/2008 @ 9:27 am

  24. We are going to win this thing, and even moreso if we start displaying Christian values, especially “turning the other cheek. Palin should start coming out and forgiving the press, saying she knows that they are just trying to get to know her better. And that taken out of context, those quotes can be misleading, so she welcomes the opportunity to set the record straight.

    Similar deal on the lipstick/stinky fish quip by Obama. Frankly I thought it was a funny way to respond, and in no way insulting to Palin. In my mind, even without us making a stink about it, it just strengthened her brand and was another example of how Obama is running against our VP candidate.


    Ok then, Geoff

    Comment by Geoff, Austin/USA (1fc3bb) — 9/12/2008 @ 9:33 am

  25. OK, so it comes late in the article. And, much further towards the top, there is some typical L.A. Times claptrap:

    And Palin, whose critics see her as unqualified for the vice presidency, said she was “thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War.” The Soviet Union collapsed three years after Ronald Reagan left the White House.

    Gotcha! Except, not so much. It’s an article of faith among conservatives, whether right or wrong, that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. Palin’s quote merely reflects that view. The L.A. Times’s criticism here is like quoting a Democrat praising JFK for leading the country in the drive to put a man on the Moon, and then snarkily observing: “Man first set foot on the Moon in 1969, six years after JFK’s death.”

    Right on, brother. Barack Obama, in his interview with Bill O’Reilly (whom I thought did only a fair job — too much shouting) mentioned his ten-year energy plan, which, of course, is designed to outlive his potential Presidency.

    O’REILLY: $150 billion to alternative energy in the Obama administration.


    O’REILLY: OK, over 10 years.

    OBAMA: Yes.

    O’REILLY: To what? What’s it going to be?

    OBAMA: Let me give you some examples. We have to extend tax credits for solar, wind, hydro. We just visited a hydro plant…

    O’REILLY: We just got our shot at it though. What if solar, wind and hydro don’t work?

    OBAMA: But that was true for the space program. Kennedy didn’t know how we were going to go to the moon. The nature of discovery and research and innovation is you put money into a whole bunch of promising pots. It’s like venture capital, and you figure out what works. And some things are going to work, and some things are not.

    As if Mr. Community Organizer/Messiah/CAC rathole chairman would know something about return on venture capital. If that was important to him, he would have had Mitt Romney as his running mate.

    But I digress. The point is that when you think about going to the moon, you think about Kennedy, who said it was something that was possible for Americans. If the Obama energy plan is a success (yeah, I know, but stay with me) and, say, Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal is elected after he’s termed out, neither will be given the credit (neither would be so indecent to dare claim it). And, in the post-Carter age of detente, Reagan wouldn’t settle for co-existing with the expansionist Soviets, and he strategized with Margaret Thatcher to neutralize them. George H.W. Bush, to my knowledge, has never strutted around claiming that because his butt was in the chair at the Oval Office, he alone deserved credit.

    Comment by L.N. Smithee (a0b21b) — 9/12/2008 @ 9:34 am

  26. rhodeymark wrote: “Jesus was pro-life, Pontius Pilate voted “present”.


    Comment by L.N. Smithee (a0b21b) — 9/12/2008 @ 9:39 am

  27. Comment by L.N. Smithee — 9/12/2008 @ 9:34 am

    Yeah, I guess we have to credit Bush 41 with winning the Cold War. That’s obviously what the LATimes must believe.

    Comment by Attila (Pillage Idiot) (cb5f32) — 9/12/2008 @ 10:10 am

  28. So, Jesus was a “community organizer.” Hummm, is that what Reverend Wright was teaching Obama when he was screaming “God Damn America” from the pulpit?

    Yes, indeed, the Lord works in mysterious ways.

    Comment by Ropelight (921f6e) — 9/12/2008 @ 10:38 am

  29. LNS – thanks, but others came up with the “present” part, I just added the logical first part. Please, pass it around as the anti-meme!

    Comment by rhodeymark (e86321) — 9/12/2008 @ 10:39 am

  30. That’s all cool. The important thing is, now that Palin is out there doing the do, Barry must also answer some hard questions. O’Reilly was a big dissappointment but a beginning. Barry still needs to go on Hannity or stop whining about him.

    Comment by megapotamus (17c12e) — 9/12/2008 @ 10:48 am

  31. Except that in the dead-tree edition the TV reporter Mary McNamara has a hostile Op-Ed printed in the “news” section along with the rest of the campaign articles.

    Sarah Palin — Still Confusing The MSM After, Let’s See, Two Whole Weeks? This is how she starts:

    Those hoping that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin would burst into tears or start speaking in tongues during her interview with Charles Gibson were no doubt disappointed by the first part of her much heralded “first interview” on “ABC World News” Thursday and then in a slightly expanded form on “Nightline.” She did consistently mispronounce the word “nuclear;” but then so did Jimmy Carter, and so does George Bush, and they both became president.

    It was a fascinating and unsettling interview nonetheless, first and foremost because it’s been nearly two weeks since Republican presidential nominee John McCain announced the Alaskan governor as his chosen running mate and these are the first non-scripted words the American people have heard from her.

    This is how she wraps it up:

    Since when it is OK that the American people have to wait in breathless anticipation for its nominated candidates to speak to them en masse? Since when do we have to rely on a single interview, from a single source, to introduce us to a woman who claims she would be privileged to lead us?

    In a world that is measured by milliseconds, a broken-up hour is too short to offer, a week is simply too long to wait. Such manipulation of a public moment is simple exploitation.

    Someone needs to give that woman a paper bag before she hyperventilates into a coma!

    I’d cancel our subscription but the wife likes to read a paper in the AM and the cat box would get lonely, and damp.

    Comment by Okie (cfb495) — 9/12/2008 @ 12:38 pm

  32. A neighbor just came to my door to tell me the latest slime against Sarah Palin. He was positively aroused, with a sweaty glow on his face, as he recounted the news from Esquire that Palin was guilty of “an affair with her boss,” and of “neglecting her family” in persuit of a political career. He blamed Palin’s ambition for her daughter’s pregnancy. This is the same guy who wanted priggish Republicans to keep their puerile noses out of Bill Clinton’s oval office dalliances.

    I bit my tongue to keep from being rude.

    Comment by Ropelight (921f6e) — 9/12/2008 @ 12:39 pm

  33. Was that “Esquire”? or “Enquirer”?

    Comment by Icy Truth (3b614c) — 9/12/2008 @ 12:52 pm

  34. Wow, I’m amazed the Times would catch that. It was a subtle misquote from Gibson. I had to read the original and his question a few times to see the difference.

    He worked hard to trip her, but she did well. I like how she turned one part around to ask what he meant by something. It obviously flustered him.

    Comment by Neil (04248a) — 9/12/2008 @ 2:20 pm

  35. Here’s how WRONG the L.A. Times is. Quiz question: When did the Berlin Wall come down? It Started in November 1989, 9months after Reagan left office and Bush 41 was sworn in.

    In August 1989, Hungary removed its border restrictions with Austria. East German leader Erich Honecker resigned in October 1989. East Germans began their “Peaceful Revolution” in September 1989. In November 1989, refugees were permitted to exit directly through crossing points between East Germany and West Germany, including West Berlin. The Berlin Wall started to come down in early November 1989, with heavy equipment moving large sections before Christmas 1989. German reunification was reached formally on October 3, 1990.

    Obviously, then, Bush 41 won the Cold War after 9 months in office, and officially reunified Germany in just 21 months. That’s part of the reason he won re-election…um…well…wait a minute… Given the above, how could the L.A. Times see it any other way than that Plain got it wrong and that Reagan didn’t win the Cold War?!?! Do the writers at the L.A. Times actually get paid for what they do? Maybe they are running a junior-high, writing internship program for 11 year-olds and I’m just expecting too much.

    Comment by Zach Garber (7f2e68) — 9/12/2008 @ 2:25 pm

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