erik lundegaard

Chronology 101

Is this another example of a journalist trying too hard to be objective? Or is it merely poor writing?

Read the entire piece (it’s short) by Janie Lorber, under the headline “Cheney’s Model Republican: More Limbaugh, Less Powell,” in The New York Times. Two observations, both by Lorber, stick  out. Here’s the first:

The [Powell] endorsement, in a carefully timed and deliberate statement after Mr. McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate in a move to fire up the party’s conservative base, helped solidify Mr. Obama’s campaign.

Yes, it did help Obama’s campaign but…doesn’t this graf make it sound that the Powelll endorsement came shortly after the Palin selection? But McCain chose Palin on August 30, while Powell endorsed Obama on October 19. That’s more than a month and a half difference. And a month and a half thick with campaigning. How was that “carefully timed and deliberate”? And deliberate? What does that mean anyway? As opposed to carelessly timed and accidental?

Here’s the second:

Mr. Cheney has been a particularly fierce critic of the Obama administration and a defiant defender against critics of the Bush administration, including President Obama. While his remarks have been striking, they are not unusually outspoken by comparison, for example, to former Vice President Al Gore’s condemnations of the Bush administration when it held office.

True. But Al Gore didn’t criticize the Bush administration immediately, the way that Cheney is doing with the Obama administration. After the 2000 election, Gore disappeared, remember? Then returned with a beard that everyone made fun of. Then 9/11 happened and no one criticized the Bush administration. Gore really didn’t criticize Pres. Bush, et al., until the Bush adminstration began gearing up for war with Iraq in the fall of ’02. And, yes, he was one of the first to do so. To his credit.

I guess all I’m saying, with both points, is: chronology matters.


Posted at 01:11 PM on Mon. May 11, 2009 in category Politics, Media  
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