“Bushisms” have a special place in my heart, if only because people who claim to be above petty politics and underhanded tactics seem to enjoy them so much. In particular, I’ve mentioned several that have cropped up on the Twisted History sidebar feature that I include on this site.
Ben Fritz has a piece up on Spinsanity about this very subject.
“Bushisms,” compiled by Slate editor Jacob Weisberg, has highlighted plenty of grammatical errors by the President, some of which are humorous or noteworthy. However, the series has also frequently taken the President’s words out of context to make reasonable statements seem nonsensical, grammatically incorrect or even offensive. In the short life of “Kerryisms,” writer Will Saletan has revealed a similarly disturbing habit of turning the Massachusetts Senator’s words into “plain English” by stripping out words that are key to his meaning. And while it would hardly excuse these distortions, neither series even provides links to let readers check the context of the quotes for themselves.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with making fun of the candidates, but even while engaging in satire, political journalists still have a responsibility to not mislead their audience. A review of these two features shows that Weisberg and Saletan have unfairly distorted the words of Bush and Kerry in the search for evidence that fits their pre-established storylines.
As I’ve written before, it seems that the majority of places I find any references to many quotes are on places like Democratic Underground or some guy’s www.ireallyreallyreallyhatebush.com site. When there are legit sources for wacko quotes, a quick look at the context often clears it right up.
The most recent example of an inaccurate “Bushism” shows how Weisberg frequently misconstrues the President’s words. At a May 25 event with men who had been given prosthetic hands to replace the ones cut off by Saddam Hussein’s regime, Bush said, “I’m honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein.” Since the men had prosthetic hands, it’s clear what the President meant. But in a “Bushism”, Weisberg presented the quote out of context, making it appear nonsensical. (Despite criticism by Spinsanity and many others, the item has not yet been corrected.)
As the title of the piece indicates, Fritz also notes the same types of misrepresentation of John Kerry’s words. Are you allowed to defend Bush AND Kerry in the same post? (via Instapundit)