Saturday, February 04, 2017

The other statements are inoperative

Why do you suppose it took the Fair 'n' Balanced Network a whole day to catch up with the tale of the Bowling Green massacre? (Still in the No. 2 position on the homepage, though the Penitent Conway image only lasted a few hours.) Finding the right tone apparently wasn't easy, even for a seasoned media critic like Howard Kurtz:

Kellyanne Conway admits she made a mistake in talking about a Kentucky massacre that never took place. But that’s not all she has to say about it.

In an interview airing Sunday on “Media Buzz,” President Trump’s counselor called some of her critics “haters” and said she corrected her error as soon as she learned about it. The misstatement has drawn substantial media attention, given Conway’s high profile.

And, not to put too fine a point on things, because it was a lie -- several of them, as it turns out:

... On MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Conway was defending the president’s temporary ban on refugees and on any travel to the United States from seven countries, including Iraq. She said that after former President Obama greatly restricted the flow of refugees from that country, “two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre” -- which, she said, “didn’t get covered.”

We're eliding something important here. How does that last thought go, Washington Post Fact Checker?

"Two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. Most people didn’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

So she didn't just make up a massacre that didn't happen or lie about the order of events (the perps of the non-massacre admitted involvement in attacks on American troops while they were still in Iraq, according to the Post's reconstruction). She wove the lie into a causal claim about the impact of liberal media failures, which she supported by tweeting a link to a 3-year-old liberal media story hedded "US May Have Let 'Dozens' of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees." That's some major-league lying, right there. But Fox, of course, has a mission:

“They’re masterminds, I had said that before,” Conway told me. “I should have said plot or I should have just called them terrorists. … I clarified immediately. I should have said terrorists and not massacre.” Still, she said, “I’m sure it will live on for a week.”
I'm still having trouble with the second paragraph: "as soon as she learned about it." How long does it generally take to "learn" that the thing you made up wasn't true? According to the Post, somewhere north of 90 minutes:

Conway was on her way to a Four-Pinocchio rating when, about an hour and a half after The Fact Checker sent her a query about her remarks, she tweeted that she meant to say “Bowling Green terrorists.” ... She added that this was an “honest mistake” of the type also made by journalists.

So "immediately" means "an hour and a half after somebody asked why I made something up"? Got it! Back to Fox:

She encouraged people to read a 2013 ABC News article on how the two Iraqis in Bowling Green were later convicted of sending weapons to al Qaeda in Iraq to kill American soldiers. She also said MSNBC and host Chris Matthews did not catch the error.

She could also, of course, have encouraged them to travel back in time and read their local newspapers -- which generally don't cover things that don't happen, but might after all have done a pretty good indexing job with the events that did happen.

Keeping track of the Trump people is a challenge; they lie so casually, and so consistently, about everything under the sun that you can see why nobody jumped in to correct her. When the whole statement is fabricated, how do you even start to prove the negative? Fox again:

Conway added: “I misspoke one word. The corrections in the newspapers that are attacking me are three paragraphs long every day.”

Which may or may not be another lie -- I mean, I'm sure there are days in which the corrections in the newspapers that are attacking her run to three paragraphs exactly, but a daily newspaper contains a lot of words, many of them not about Kellyanne Conway. If you screw up one hockey score, one former employer of the bride in a society wedding and one world despot in a caption from overseas, you're already at three paragraphs. Conway told three lies in the space of a moderate-sized lede, and she couldn't even correct one of them without -- how's that again, The Fact Checker?

In an email she wrote to The Fact Checker, she said: “Not exactly the paragraphs of corrections we see in WaPo but hopefully this helps.”

It's charitable, in a self-congratulatory way, of the Post to let her off easy:

Uncorrected, this would have been worth Four Pinocchios. But Conway says it’s an “honest mistake.” We appreciate that she sought to correct the record. Readers can judge for themselves, but as we don’t play gotcha, we will leave this unrated.

Well, good for you. She lied like a rug, backed out of a fraction of her lies when caught at it, and kneed the media in the fusebox when the ref wasn't looking. I'm still waiting for The Fact Checker to come to grips with its tortured intellectual gymnastics about BENGHAZI!!!!!!!!!!!!, but I suppose partial credit is better than no credit. Fox's media analysis, on the other hand, is exactly what you'd expect.

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