Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Writer Botches Palin Prayer, Follows Gibson’s Example and Sends the Embarrassing Passage Down the Memory Hole

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:41 pm

Tom Maguire quotes the L.A. Times‘s Mary McNamara as follows:

Gibson’s probing of a videotaped claim that the Iraq war is a task from God led to a rather convoluted explanation – that it was really a paraphrase of an Abraham Lincoln quote that seemed, frankly, utterly dissimilar.

“Frankly,” McNamara ought to read her own paper, which said in a news article covering the interview:

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.

Wow. Pretty embarrassing for McNamara, at first glance. It sure looked like there was no “claim that the Iraq war is a task from God” on Palin’s part, as McNamara had claimed.

But I didn’t fire off an angry e-mail. A conscientious watchdog wants to see the source material before barking. So I toddled on over to the paper’s web site, to read the McNamara column that Maguire linked and see McNamara’s passage in context.

It’s the oddest thing, though. The passage is not there.

I read McNamara’s entire column three times, looking for it. I rubbed my eyes. I went back to Maguire’s post and checked the link to make sure I had it right. I went back to McNamara’s column, hit ctrl-f, and put in words from the passage Maguire had quoted, searching for them in McNamara’s column.

Nothing worked. It’s gone.

Did Maguire make up this passage out of whole cloth? Somehow, I doubt it. But I have an e-mail in to him to ask.

Or did McNamara subsequently learn that she had botched the analysis, and send that passage down the memory hole — whisking it away without even so much as a note to tell us it had been there?

At the risk of seeming hasty, I’m going with option 2. [UPDATE: And I was right. The screencap proving it is here. Thanks to Karl.]

I guess Mary McNamara figured, if sending embarrassing parts of your journalistic handiwork down the memory hole is good enough for Charlie Gibson and ABC, it’s good enough for her.

Picky postscripts tucked in the extended entry.

P.S. When you read a piece three times, you notice things. Like, for instance:

“. . . though in fine political style she managed avoid to more questions than she answered . . .”

“She seemed willing to concede that human activity may be contribuing somewhat to the effects of global warming . . .”

“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?” Come on, Mary. Singular or plural? Make up your mind!

“In a world that is measured by milliseconds . . .” Is it really “by” milliseconds and not “in”?

(I could go on, actually, but I’ve already gotten too picky.)

This might seem a bit rich coming from a guy who turns over space to typo-prone guest-blogger WLS, but I commend this whole “reading things three times” practice to L.A. Times editors. Try it. It works.

P.P.S. A complaint about typos in a blog post screams for readers to pick over the post for mistakes. And I read this over only once before publishing. So have at it.

60 Responses to “L.A. Times Writer Botches Palin Prayer, Follows Gibson’s Example and Sends the Embarrassing Passage Down the Memory Hole”

  1. Well said but I’m putting in a good word for WLS here. I also want to mention McNamara’s put-down of Palin’s “wonky” approach to energy:

    An early question about her experience on the international stage led to a wonky description of her attempts to free America of its foreign oil dependence.

    That’s priceless. Apparently McNamara sees no value in energy experts with wonky energy knowledge and experience. I guess she likes her experts to have a solid liberal arts education so they can talk-the-talk. What we really need are people like Palin who have walked-the-walk.

    Plus, McNamara could have written the whole thing in one sentence: How dare Sarah Palin not bow down before the media?

    DRJ (7568a2)

  2. Maguire didn’t make it up, and I have a screengrab to prove it. Just in time, too. It magically disappeared from Google’s cache just after you posted.

    Coincidence, I’m sure.

    Karl (1b4668)

  3. Lay it on me, brother. My e-mail is on the sidebar.

    I want to talk to you anyway.

    Patterico (bddb81)

  4. On its way momentarily. The cache cleansing was not complete, either.

    Karl (1b4668)

  5. There have been a LOT of self-second-guessing in the MSM lately. Roger Ebert’s ridiculous rant against Palin is still up at the Chicago Sun-Times site, but he’s deleted it from his own. I hope to find time to blog about it this wkend.

    L.N. Smithee (b61d76)

  6. “…has been,” dagnabit.

    L.N. Smithee (b61d76)

  7. LN, #7, all this second-guessing at the MSM makes me question everything I’ve ever read in my whole life! Meh.

    Dana (213b94)

  8. Do I detect a pattern to Obama’s campaign?

    Under The Bus.

    Ugh .. Ugh .. Ugh

    Down the Memory Hole.

    But, finally, …

    Down the Tubes.

    Arnold (1a3b0c)

  9. the dems have been acting like 13 year old boys. if bush was supposed to be a grownup, he got the people who broke into the house and changed the locks but has ignored what has essentially been a pot party in the basement

    i think america would like grownups in charge and thats not obama

    billypaintbrush (53b901)

  10. Charles Krauthammer who coined the term “the Bush Doctrine” says Gibson, not Palin, got it wrong:

    There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration — and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.

    He asked Palin, “Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?”

    She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, “In what respect, Charlie?”

    Sensing his “gotcha” moment, Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, Gibson grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube that the Bush doctrine “is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense.


    Krauthammer proceeds to lay out four meanings of the Bush Doctrine, including the one Charlie Gibson thinks it is.

    DRJ (7568a2)

  11. The media has been given orders – the election is going south, we must win at any cost. Period. If you find nothing against her, you know what to do.

    Expect to be overwhelmed whith these bogus stories.

    Amphipolis (e6b868)

  12. LN Smithee – I just read the Tyson post at your blog and busted out laughing. That is Iowahawk quality snark. Well done, sir – well done.

    rhodeymark (6231e5)

  13. Lot of that going around. Many of the newspapers that ran with the “Trig is Bristol’s baby” story have now deleted all reference to it. The gatekeepers just don’t care anymore. If they ever did.

    Jim Treacher (592cb4)

  14. Bill Clinton got away with quibbling over the meaning of “is,” so now MSM is going with a fungible definition of “honest.”

    ABC’s edited version of Sarah Plain’s interview fails to represent her expressed views. Not only did Gibson and his goons try to bushwack Palin from the outset, they fudged the tapes too.

    ABC and Gibson are looking at a charge of “journalistic malpractice,” in an attempt to manipulate the outcome of a Presidential election. If that one isn’t on the books, it’s front and center on the blogs.

    Ropelight (921f6e)

  15. Karl said

    It magically disappeared from Google’s cache just after you posted.

    Coincidence, I’m sure.

    Who’s going to write a book about Google’s unseen hand in this election?

    The wall of silence at Google will crack eventually. Just as the Mitrovkin archives revealed decades of KGB dirty work, so too a disgruntled Google worker will shed light on this.

    ibn sina (9a61eb)

  16. Interesting poll numbers conducted over the past few days:

    Looks like Wisconsin’s in play now – whoops; and now we have Michigan as a strong possibility as well:

    This gets better every day, doesn’t it?

    Dmac (e639cc)

  17. You know whats really appalling about that hatchet job of an interview between Sarah Palin and Charlie Gibson? What they left out, over at my website we have the full transcript as well as a review of how she did. I couldn’t believe the stuff they edited out of the interview.

    Nancy (412120)

  18. Petards gettin sharper and sharper

    EricPWJohnson (c00a5d)

  19. Lots of pessimism over at Kevin Drum’s new blog today. When you see the complaints about how the Dems are fighting dirty enough, you know they are really scared.

    I’m still upset at how wrong I was about Gibson and ABC. Much of his condescension was probably unconscious but it is no less obnoxious. She was marginally prepared for such a quiz session but nobody will trust ABC now. She will get better and the debate will be crucial.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  20. The Obama ad making fun of McCain’s inability to type is still up on YouTube, as of this morning. And this is the same candidate who’s now touting his executive ability to “run a Presidential Campaign?” McCain’s people should go interview his Vietnamese jailers and ask their opinion on that ad – goodness, they’re beyond parody.

    Dmac (e639cc)

  21. Dems like this underhanded stuff. They think it’s fun and clever. The cat was out of the bag when Woppie Goldberg admitted the Left knows when they lie and distort facts, but because Bush “stole” the Florida election it’s all OK. They figure the GOP has got it coming. That’s the fig leaf for their mendacity, and they don’t give a damn if you like it or not.

    Dems feel good about public displays of hatred. They’re exempt from the rules of civilized behavior, didn’t you know that?

    Ropelight (921f6e)

  22. ibn sina said

    Who’s going to write a book about Google’s unseen hand in this election?

    The wall of silence at Google will crack eventually. Just as the Mitrovkin archives revealed decades of KGB dirty work, so too a disgruntled Google worker will shed light on this.

    Maybe John Batchelor’s article at is the first sign of light. Obama’s PlumbersObama’s Plumbers

    Stephanie (88b785)

  23. While watching the first interview the editing was so abrupt I could tell they were chopping into Palin’s answers. She doesn’t have Barry’s annoying verbal tic of huge “um’s…” which would make the cuts a bit smoother.

    ABC made a conscious decision to edit Palin to completely DISTORT her answers.

    Darleen (187edc)

  24. #24 and 25, thank you both. The links are excellent and a “must read” for anyone who thinks they can tell a hawk from a handsaw.

    Ropelight (921f6e)

  25. My, too many things to agree with this morning.

    What is left out is indeed one of the greatest sins of the MSM.
    The first time I ever happened upon Rush Limbaugh was after David Kay’s testimony before Congress on the findings of the Iraq Study Group. The MSM was having a field day replaying Kennedy’s badgering and getting Kay to answer they had not found the anticipated caches of WMD’s. What the MSM did not include was Kay stating that in spite of that truth, they found so many violations of the peace agreement, including components for long range missiles, that in his opinion Hussein was actually “more dangerous than we thought”; Rush did.

    Speaking of “Badgers”, apparently, while Gov. Palin was not traveling around the globe meeting world leaders, Sen. Obama did not go up I-90 and I-94 often enough to meet some of the Americans he would be governing, should he be elected.

    And besides, as far as meeting foreign diplomats goes, it’s pretty much like sight seeing, isn’t it, if you don’t have access to the security briefing, etc., you would get when you are a VP, correct?

    Looking at that data is interesting. In every specific topic a majority of people think McCain would do a better job, and they like Gov. Palin the best of all four. In addition, they like President Bush’s performance better than the Democratically controlled Congress. Yet a slight plurality today would vote for the Dems. I guess old habits die hard.

    If laws ever hit the books concerning “journalistic malpractice” I think I’ll go to law school and contact my old friend the former SEAL to head my security detail.

    UW, ’80, ’84

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  26. Yes, Darleen, completely intentional distortion. I hope the public finds out about it. I hope it backfires on ABC. I hope nobody watches the effing station ever again.

    Thanks for the link, Mike K. It is heartening to know that the idiots on the left still don’t get it, as evidenced by Dionne’s quotes. Yes, E.J., we do know that Obama has promised tax cuts for all, government jobs for all, and free health care for all–we just don’t believe that it can be done without bankrupting a nation that’s almost bankrupt now.

    Can’t leftists do simple math?

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  27. I went over to the ABC web site and the comments are surprisingly critical. She seems to have survived well and there are lots of comments about how she was friendly and open while Gibson was condescending. It will be interesting to see how Stephanopolis spins it tomorrow.

    Now, I have to go help SC beat Ohio State.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  28. Patricia – I just checked out the latest “Updated Analysis of the Presidential candidates 2008 Tax Plans: Updated August 15, 2008”, and I think you should read it. It’s a PDF document available from the taxpolicy center website. It breaks down what each candidate’s tax plans are, with tables and figures based on data from campaign staffers and interpretations from stump speeches.

    I read up on it b/c I was pretty sure that Obama didn’t promise to cut taxes for all. Actually, McCains plan cuts taxes for all. The authors describe potential economic problems (downstream) that could result from both plans should they be implemented.


    Stu (9ec768)

  29. regarding #30: if you haven’t read it already.

    Stu (9ec768)

  30. Re #20 – A petard is not sharp. It’s a small bomb and getting “hoist by your own petard” means getting blown sky-high by your own explosives.

    Hey, does that mean this is actually the “O-bomb-a” campaign?

    macbee (658bb5)

  31. You want to see a master at work? I don’t know who edited the ABC interview, but Levin has a transcript pre-edit…

    Gekkobear (60ec56)

  32. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia, dontcha know.

    Ziotic (91c4b7)

  33. McNamara is a TV reviewer. Her latest foray into politics and public policy issues is another example of cutbacks at LAT forcing folks to work way above their pay and ability grades. Tim Rutten ought to look out. I’m sure Mary’s paid less and has proven she can churn out the same drivel as Rutten.

    Kyle (9c35ff)

  34. I stand corrected, stu. He’s only cutting the taxes of 95% of the people.
    Obama Tax Cut – Really a Lump Sum Payment

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  35. OK, this blog has a long history of attacking those poor people at the LA Times. But hasn’t this finally gone too far?

    Hoisting ’em by a petard, I can see that. Though I doubt that they even have a petard on staff, even with all their affirmative action.

    But calling for the LAT editors to read their paper THREE times??? Shades of Guatanamo! Torture! I can hear them saying, “I’d rather be waterboarded!”

    Don (18df96)

  36. Hey Patricia – So there’s actually a bit of tax revenue coming from the the top 5% of the income bracket in Obama’s plan. Do you have references for your statement that Obama wants government jobs for all or was that sarcasm that I missed? I don’t mean to be nit-picky, I just am interested to see how his tax plan and its revenue would offset other costs.

    Have a great day!


    Stu (9ec768)

  37. From Ed Morrissey’s latest Post:

    First, the Anchoress has a list of questions posed by Gibson to Barack Obama three months ago, who has arguably less experience on foreign policy than Palin and no executive experience at all:

    Obama interview:

    How does it feel to break a glass ceiling?
    How does it feel to “win”?
    How does your family feel about your “winning” breaking a glass ceiling?
    Who will be your VP?
    Should you choose Hillary Clinton as VP?
    Will you accept public finance?
    What issues is your campaign about?
    Will you visit Iraq?
    Will you debate McCain at a town hall?
    What did you think of your competitor’s [Clinton] speech?

    Palin interview:

    Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking? Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders?
    Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level job?
    Questions about foreign policy
    -territorial integrity of Georgia
    -allowing Georgia and Ukraine to be members of NATO
    -NATO treaty
    -Iranian nuclear threat
    -what to do if Israel attacks Iran
    -Al Qaeda motivations
    -the Bush Doctrine
    -attacking terrorists harbored by Pakistan
    Is America fighting a holy war? [misquoted Palin]

    Who’s playin’ softball?

    Rovin (a5d8b7)

  38. FWIW, for all of Google’s faults, the cache cleansing in this case was probably the work of the LAT; updating the page and then re-forcing Googlebots.

    Karl (1b4668)

  39. As for the OT tax issue, My question would be why I should care about what Obama says he wants to do, after he voted to raise taxes on the middle-class in February.

    Karl (1b4668)

  40. Somebody needs to tell noted historical authority Charles Gibson that the US Constitution was not signed in 1776. To bad Palin didn’t jump all over that.

    “Exact Words”, My Ass

    Hey ABC, I’ve got the “exact words” for you right here!!

    sherlock (ad6db4)

  41. Karl – You’ve apparently evaluated Obama’s previous decisions/actions and decided you shouldn’t care. That’s cool. Can you tell me the name what the name of the bill was that he voted “yes” on so I can read it?

    Thanks in advance.


    Stu (9ec768)

  42. Trackback for « Educating Sarah « docweaselblog said:

    […] In the movie Educating Rita, a naive, honest, forthright young woman is educated to the point that she has a more erudite and polished way of expressing herself and appreciating literature, but she loses her purity and appealing freshness and vitality. She no longer expresses herself in a unique voice and discovers literature and poetry with an original and very raw and personal response, but instead learns the canned criticisms and pedantic responses to the technical aspects of meter and literary allusions and iambs and assonance and other tropes.

    This is the danger to Sarah Palin as a candidate, that the political handlers will suck everything that is good and decent and appealing right out of her, and mold her into another slick, glib, talking-points spouting, mealy-mouthed automaton, just like the rest of the Washington crowd.

    docweasel (6e0e44)

  43. “Stu,”
    Obama has said repeatedly he is going to have the government “invest” in green jobs. That means government programs funded by tax money. All kinds of La Raza and Acorn hangers on will get a paycheck, courtesy of me and mine. You can read the articles at the link as well as I can.

    Are you part of an Obama astroturf campaign or what? If so, you might want to use your time more effectively than trying to convince us. We have watched the media and Democratic BS for the past five years here and are beyond hope for the Obamessiah.

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  44. “Can you tell me the name what the name of the bill was that he voted “yes” on so I can read it?”

    It’s not Karl’s job to do your homework, Stu. Are you telling us you can’t find it in less than 10 – 15 minutes of searching?

    Dmac (e639cc)

  45. Hey Dmac,

    You’re right, it’s not. I did more than 10-15 minutes of searching and wasn’t sure if he was referring to the estate tax that Obama voted against in February or if he was referring to his vote against the Bush taxes. If you don’t want to help me out, that’s cool. I’ll eventually find it.


    Stu (9ec768)

  46. Patricia

    Absolutely not trying to convince you of anything and I definitely am not a supporter of Obama. I there are alot of trolls here b/c I read the site everyday. I’m actually just trying to learn more about both sides.

    You guys seem to be a lot more informed about many of the details that are within some of decisions made by McCain and Obama, so as Dmac insinuated, looks like I need to do some homework and come back if I want to post.


    Stu (9ec768)

  47. Stu, as for Obama promising a tax cut for 95% of taxpayers…

    Two things: first, that means that the 47% of wage-earners who PAY NO TAX NOW will get another rebate…

    Second, since Obama has never voted for or proposed a tax cut in Congress, and has voted against every tax cut proposal since he entered Congress (I seem to remember that his votes are 94-0 against all cuts/or in favor of a tax increase) what makes you think his proposal will be even submitted, much less voted upon/passed???

    reff (4ab894)

  48. To clarify my stat from above: Obama has voted for every tax increase proposed in the Senate, and against every tax cut.

    reff (4ab894)

  49. Stu, if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, let us know – someone here can probably find it in due course.

    Dmac (e639cc)

  50. Reff – For Obama ro follow through on his promises on taxes is radical behavior CHANGE you have to HOPE like hell for, completely unsupported by past actions.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  51. Reff- I completely understand where you’re coming from, and should’ve been able to put together what daleyrocks posted in #52. Thanks for your patience.

    Dmac- Thanks for the offer, but my work should be pretty easy considering Obama’s voted against every tax cut! I guess I am interested in understanding why….besides the obvious response that he’s a liberal tax happy chicago democrat. But maybe that’s it.

    Patrica also raised some interesting points….how’s he going to pay for all of his plans that require more government funds, not to mention the money we the people are going to have to come with for the Fanny Mac and Freddy Mae takeovers.

    Anyway, I’ve driven this topic far off course, and I’ve got to get back to writing my thesis anyway. It’s just so easy to not write!


    Stu (9ec768)

  52. drocks….absolutely correct….Obama would have to CHANGE his previous actions….and CHANGE everything he has learned from Daley/Ayers/Wright/Alinsky….

    reff (4ab894)

  53. Stu…thesis…

    My prayers for you….regardless of political track….

    reff (4ab894)

  54. Thanks reff, it’s a real pain in the arse!

    Stu (9ec768)

  55. They love their rowbacks, these maggoty vile commie lovers.

    TCOhebebanned (3fbdf2)

  56. Stephanie–

    Thanks for the tip on “Obama’s Plumbers”.

    I’ve been following Steve Diamond’s work with great admiration.

    ibn sina (9a61eb)

  57. Good luck on the thesis. I’ve been there.

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  58. Hi,

    I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I recently signed:

    “Impeach Senator Barack Obama”

    I really think this is an important cause, and I’d like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It’s free and takes less than a minute of your time.


    WillNotBeFooledByObamaNATION (c62648)

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