How Gibson foully misrepresented Palin’s petition about “God’s plan” as a declaratory statement about “God’s plan”

Ortelio writes:

Charles Gibson today ambushed Palin with false quotations, turning her hopes and prayers that our Iraq campaign is God’s will into an assertion that it is God’s will. Her exact words, in the video you linked a few days ago, were: “pray … that our leaders are sending them [our military] out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that it is God’s plan.” Those words make no claim to know—no assertion at all—that it is God’s plan, and in fact imply that it may not be God’s plan. Indeed, she implies that maybe there’s not even a human plan! (You’d go along with that doubt.)

Now listen to Gibson:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

That’s a gross falsehood by Gibson or the people who prepped him, turning a petition into an assertion. And he repeats the falsehood after the explanation which she (obviously confused by him, as anyone would be when confronted by, in effect, a falsified transcript):

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said—first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side. That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie.

GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln’s words, but you went on and said, ‘There is a plan and it is God’s plan.’”

She used those nine words in that order, but along with other words, so that her sentence wasn’t in the least saying what Gibson says she said—more like the opposite. She said we all should hope and pray that there is a plan and that it’s God’s (because there may be no plan, or if there is one it might not be what God wants).

Of course, whether this is Gibson or his team’s malice—outright lying—or the sheer incompetence of modern journalists, who can be sure?

LA writes:

This is excellent work by Ortelio and I thank him very much. As I watched the interview tonight on Nightline, I was impressed by Palin’s answers to these questions, but didn’t realize that Gibson was misquoting her—and doing so repeatedly.

- end of initial entry -

John Hagan writes:

With the succinct exposure on VFR by one of your readers this evening of the Gibson lies in his interview of Palin, is it any wonder that conservatives, even the most savvy ones, who should, and do perhaps know better, lose all objectivity and vote Republican? This Hanson article brings home how vile the leftist, self-loathing Western press is.

Ortelio writes:

Thanks for your post of this. The evil of Gibson’s lie is awesome. He’s trying to tell the whole world, the Muslim world too, that our next VP or maybe president believes we’re fighting a holy war—a war according to God’s plan—and that she can’t deny it because those are her “exact words.” He’s pouring gas on lethal hatreds—hatreds against us.

She was so confused by him—after all, the church prayer meeting was back in June—that she didn’t remember that this was a prayer. (He was depending on her not remembering.) She keeps calling it a “comment.” If she and McCain’s team don’t try to nail the lie, what a bad sign that will be of feeble grip on things.

LA replies:

Yes, this would be a real test of her not being the usual kind of leader. If she is the original she appears to be, she will bring this point up in her speeches, she will expose the lie, and show its significance.

Terry Morris writes:

“Of course, whether this is Gibson or his team’s malice—outright lying—or the sheer incompetence of modern journalists, who can be sure?”

A text taken out of context is a pretext. Had Gibson done this only once in the interview, one could allow that it was an honest mistake that escaped everyone, including Gibson. That he did it twice is a clear indication of malice on Gibson’s part. Notice that Gibson accepted Sarah’s explanation in the first instance without question. But why should he? If Gibson really thought that Palin’s actual statements were what he alleged they were, how is her explanation acceptable to him; why would he just go along with it? He’s just going to take her word for it that she really meant such and such? Bull! He knew what the context was, and when she answered establishing context, he knew he had to move on. So he did, and tried it again. Apparently he ain’t real smart.

Ben W. writes:

Not only did Charles Gibson misrepresent Palin about the “will of God” issue but he also mischaracterized “the Bush Doctrine,” as discussed at the Corner:

The only real problem spot, I’d say, was her asking Charlie Gibson which aspect of the Bush Doctrine he was referring to. It certainly seemed like she didn’t know what it was—whether that’s the case or not. Gibson’s clarification, by the way, didn’t help all that much, or at least wasn’t quite accurate. The Bush Doctrine originally referred to the policy of treating nations that harbor terrorists as terrorists themselves. It has since also come to include other elements, like regime change and democracy promotion as elements of the war on terror, and preemption in the face of evident but less-than-imminent threats. Gibson’s description—“The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us,” wasn’t a good description of even the preemption element of the Bush doctrine (and his claim that the preemption element was enunciated in September of 02 is also incorrect), though Palin’s answer suggested she didn’t quite agree with Bush on the question of imminence.

And here are more facts on Gibson’s mangling of the Bush Doctrine.

Spencer Warren writes:

Thanks so much for all your excellent comments and commenters!

I think that Gibson’s visuals were designed to diminish Sarah as a woman, in particular the eyeglasses down on his nose so that he could look down on her putting the questions as if he were the professor or employer and she the student or job applicant. In any event, her character came over and I thought she did reasonably well, as when she said with force that the first responsibility of the president is to keep us safe.

The McCain campaign has no need to put Sarah before these prejudiced, ignorant hacks. Instead, the campaign should turn the inevitable complaints against them from the MSM by using it to show the MSM is in Obama’s corner and that Gibson demonstrated their anti-Christian prejudice by misquoting her. She should appear only on Fox and other fair or friendly venues. The public will not care if she does not appear with the MSM.

As to the point about her “qualifications,” Truman probably had not met a foreign leader before he became president. Truman was also a figure from the heartland of America who was mocked by the elites. His greatest attribute was his character, determination and common sense—just like Palin. The McCain campaign should draw these parallels

LA replies:

I also felt she did very well, all things considered. I think her performance here bore out what I said in my response two weeks ago to Jonathan Alter’s flat prediction that she would flop in interviews because of her lack of familiarity with national political issues. I said then that even given her lack of familiarity with issues, she has a formed view of the world, as well as a confidence, character, and intelligence, that would carry her through. I think that’s what happened here. So for example, where she didn’t know the details, her strong sense of conviction about the president’s duty to defend the United States, and about the rights of nations to exist (based on the Declaration of Independence), made her impressive in a way that the usual politician is not.

That does not mean I think she should have been nominated to be vice president. It does mean that I think she has unusual qualities that will carry her through despite the fact that she should not have been picked and that her selection, because of its larger implications, is harmful to society as a whole.

At the same time, it would not be unreasonable for people to look at her in this interview and think, “this is a female raised to be vice president on an affirmative action basis.”

Also, I must say that I find the comparison of Palin to Truman to be an embarrassment. Truman had been a U.S. senator for ten years, and had become a national figure due to his influential hearings into waste in the war industries, and was widely known and admired, when he was picked to be vice president.

However, Truman had his own conflict between family and political career. Mrs. Truman fiercely opposed the prospect of his becoming vice president, and he had told her he would not accept the job. But when President Roosevelt came on the phone and told him he needed him, Truman couldn’t say no. Mrs. Truman was furious.

Then, after Truman became president, Mrs. Truman disliked the official duties and life-in-a-fishbowl so much she upped and returned to Independence, leaving him alone in the White House and rather lonely.

Spencer Warren writes:

An experienced Hollywood director would not have permitted the interview to be filmed with Gibson towering over Sarah and looking down his nose at her. He could have been placed in a somewhat lower chair, for example. The McCain handlers showed real ignorance in allowing this.

This is one reason that for the first real TV campaign, in 1952, the Republicans retained Hollywood star and director Robert Montgomery to advise Eisenhower.

LA replies:

Agreed it was stunning how Gibson adopted this tone of a stern teacher addressing a pupil he disdains.

However, I think this disdain was so evident, that it will backfire against the media and in favor of Palin.

Thucydides writes:

Ace of Spades is reporting that ABC last night edited out of its feeds Gibson’s “exact words” insistence and Palin’s statement she was being misquoted. They have not issued a correction.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 12, 2008 01:10 AM | Send

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