Many times I am more surprised by the ration of the public to a story or event than I am by the story or event itself. The recent incident where Teresa Kerry told a reporter to “shove it” is one of these cases.
The main line of defense for Mrs. Kerry’s supporters seems to be the use of the word “activities” by the reporter when he questioned her after her speech. She said “traits” and the reporter said “activities”.
(Cue “Imperial March” from the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK soundtrack and roll montage of Joe McCarthy images)
Maybe the reporter was simply wrong. Maybe he was intentionally misquoting her. Maybe he’s working on a story that compares Mrs. Kerry to Joseph McCarthy.
It doesn’t matter. The correct reaction to the situation wasn’t flat denials followed by “Shove it!”. What if this woman becomes the First Lady of the United States? You think she might face reporters who are trying to trap her from time to time? Will Hillary Clinton say “You go, girl!” if Mrs. Kerry works a Q&A session at a White House funtion like she handled this reporter?
But what gets me even more is the effort that Kerry supporters are putting into defending Mrs. Kerry. I received two comments on my original post:
It is alot of hot air because the reporter asked her what she meant by un-American “Activities” which she she didn’t say. They were trying to twist her words in a McCarthy way.
So did the reporter accuse her of saying “un-American” or “un-American activities”? I the latter, or if you don’t know, then you should stop referring to her “flat denials in the face of obvious truth” as you did in your follow-up post.
Despite Mrs. Kerry’s flat denials, she was missing the obvious truth. According to CNN (that bastion of GOP sympathy):
In the interview with CNN, Hemmer said “the quote I have is that you said un-American.”
Heinz Kerry then said, “No, un-Pennsylvanian.”
Hemmer then read her the quote from her address to Pennsylvania delegates and she acknowledged saying it.
“That’s absolutely correct. I would say that again.”
Nope. I didn’t say that. No. Nope. No way. Yes I did. And I’d say it again.
She said it. After several denials, she admits that she said un-American. So the entire defense of her behavior rests upon the use of the term “activities” by the reporter.
Sure, the reporter got the word wrong, and it certainly could have been on purpose. But if you watch the video (available for now here) you can see that he’s stumbling and gesturing as if trying to find the right word when he says “activities”.
Pretty damning evidence, isn’t it. And no wonder Mrs. Kerry denied everything he said and told him off once she found out what paper he worked for. I mean, he used the word “activities”.
The problem is that she flatly denied saying “un-American” at all, she refused to discuss it at all, she refused to acknowledge the line of questioning at all, and she then told him to “shove it” based upon the organization that employed him.
Do not forget the context of the encounter. It was minutes after she claimed to want more civility in politics.
If she had simply engaged the discussion for thirty seconds, she could have easily cleared up any misunderstanding that the reporter may have had. If the reporter or newspaper misrepresented her when it published the story, she would have a leg to stand on when denying it. Instead she makes herself look bad in the eyes of many.
Some folks don’t think she did anything wrong. Hillary Clinton is one of them, apparently. Fair enough. I just don’t have much personal respect for Mrs. Kerry’s actions, and I question the reasoning of those who are defending them.
Hillary Clinton thinks it’s great. Kerry’s senior adviser thinks that Americans want to hear more of this. The only two readers to comment on my post think it’s the reporter who was out of line.
Watch the video. Read a transcript. Flat denial. Obvious truth. Bad form.