I just sent this to the Readers’ Rep:
A story I saw on the Times‘s website yesterday contains the following passage:
Palin told Fox’s Sean Hannity, in a transcript provided by the network: “And — not only those terrorist activities that Bill Ayers was involved in, but the questions need to be asked, I believe, when did Barack Obama know of these activities? We’ve heard so many confliction stories and flip-flop answers about when he knew the guy, did he realize that he knocked off his political career in the guy’s living room?”
Wow, Sarah Palin really sounds inarticulate there. It’s almost enough to make you wonder whether she actually sounded that silly.
Turns out she didn’t.
Had reporter Peter Nicholas bothered to watch the segment, he would have seen that this transcript is completely inaccurate. Those seemingly inarticulate quotes about “confliction stories” and how Obama “knocked off” his political career in Ayers’s living room — they never happened. Those words did not come out of Sarah Palin’s mouth. I watched the segment. It’s Part 3 at this Web address:
Here is what Palin actually said:
And — not only those atrocious activities that Bill Ayers was involved in, but the questions need to be asked, I believe, when did Barack Obama know of his activities? We’ve heard so many conflicting stories and flip-flopped answers about when he knew the guy, did he realize that he kicked off his political career in the guy’s living room, first it was yes and then it was no . . .
Here are the differences:
And — not only those
terroristatrocious activities that Bill Ayers was involved in, but the questions need to be asked, I believe, when did Barack Obama know of thesehis activities? We’ve heard so many conflictionconflicting stories and flip-flopflip-flopped answers about when he knew the guy, did he realize that he knocked offkicked off his political career in the guy’s living room, first it was yes and then it was no . . .
It was easy for reporter Nicholas to dismiss Palin’s actual allegations by giving the seemingly inarticulate quote — the silliness of it seemingly speaks for itself! — and then giving a one-line characterization of a New York Times article about the relationship. Nicholas’s article would have been better if he had actually watched the segment, given the accurate quote, and then explored whether Palin was right. For balance, he could also have quoted CNN, which recently ran a segment in which the reporter said, and I quote, “the relationship between Obama and Ayers went much deeper, ran much longer, and was much more political than Obama said.” Nicholas could have pointed out that Obama’s camp initially claimed Obama had met Ayers at that coming-out at Ayers’s home — a claim that Obama later had to acknowledge was false, due to the emergence of documents unearthed in the interim.
But never mind that; I almost never write you to complain about pro-Democratic spin, or I’d be writing you much more often than I do. As you know, I generally bother you only when your paper gets facts wrong. Here, the quote is just wrong. Palin didn’t say the words that your newspaper attributed to her.
And yes, I know that your reporter accurately quoted the transcript. Please tell me that accurately quoting an inaccurate transcript does not meet your standards.
It would be really nice if you guys could correct this quickly. It’s quite simple: click the link, listen to the video, read what your reporter claimed Palin said, read what I’m telling you she actually said, and see who’s right. You could run a correction tomorrow.
But of course, they won’t.