During live coverage of the Republican National Convention here in Tampa, Yahoo News Washington bureau chief David Chalian provided the perfect example of the pervasive anti-Republican bias Mitt Romney faces in his bid to unseat President Barack Obama.
In video broadcast Monday night by ABC and Yahoo over the Internet, Chalian can be heard claiming that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann are unconcerned about the fate of residents of the New Orleans area who are currently being hit by Hurricane Isaac.
“They aren’t concerned at all,” Chalian can be heard on the live broadcast. “They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.”
Enjoy the clip:
Meanwhile Obama campaigned and did an online chat, oddly drawing no criticism from Big Media. He’s drawing criticism from Bobby Jindal, however, who says the federal government could be doing more. Even more odd: Obama could actually do something, whereas Romney cannot.
But Romney is the Republican so he gets the criticism.
“We built it,” the slogan of the evening, was painted on the side of the convention hall. Speaker after speaker alluded to the phrase in an entire day based on the thinnest of reeds — a poorly phrased remark by the president, deliberately taken out of context. President Obama was making the obvious point that all businesses rely to some extent on the work and services of government. But Mr. Romney has twisted it to suggest that Mr. Obama believes all businesses are creatures of the government, and so the convention had to parrot the line.
“We need a president who will say to a small businesswoman: Congratulations, we applaud your success, you did make that happen, you did build that,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia. “Big government didn’t build America; you built America!”
That was far from the only piece of nonsense on the menu, only the most frequently repeated one. Conventions are always full of cheap applause lines and over-the-top attacks, but it was startling to hear how many speakers in Tampa considered it acceptable to make points that have no basis in reality.
No basis in reality? Was that remark really taken out of context? I know we keep reading that but I’m not so sure it’s true. Obama said: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” You want context, here’s context:
The point is that Obama doesn’t merely believe that government helped businessmen and businesswomen build businesses. He actually gives government the lion’s share of the credit in his own mind. He sees no difference between successful entrepreneurs and others, besides luck.
It’s a mindset.
Despite ivory tower academic theories to the contrary, words mean things. It matters what words you use to express your concepts. When I view Obama’s comments in their full context, I understand the point he is making. I also understand that he made a classic Kinsley gaffe: he accidentally said what he actually thought.
No wonder the New York Times is scrambling to give him cover.