Friday, February 1, 2008

Jake Tapper wrong on Clinton's global warming statement... ABC correspondent is a moron and the fourth Bee Gee...

Unless Jake Tapper makes a concerted effort to clearly explain exactly how wrong he was about Bill Clinton's statements on global warming, the following statement is true:

Anyone who takes Jake Tapper of ABC News seriously is a grade-A dumb-ass.

That's because Tapper showed the kind of journalistic skills of a drunken Xinhau General News correspondent or a stoned Bill O'Reilly. You'd have to be generous to liken it to a Geraldo story about violent neo-Nazis.

Jake Tapper
broke the "Bill Clinton wants to slow the economy" story.

By now you've probably heard the latest campaign controversy: Bill Clinton, stumping on Hillary's behalf in Denver, said that the U.S. must slow its economy in order to combat global warming. You may have heard about it from ABC. You may have heard about it from any of the other broadcast and cable networks who picked up the "story". One of seemingly hundreds of conservative political analysts may have said it. Some Obama backer who isn't worried about creating party acrimony might have mentioned it. You can find anti-Clinton types and pro-growth advocates talking about it, too.

The idea of slowing down the economy while a recession looms boggles the mind of many. The notion that the Clinton campaign is advocating a reduction in economic expansion right as Super Tuesday approaches is shocking. The flaw of an initiative to reduce global warming based on a unilateral decision to intentionally throttle our economy seems doomed.

So, why would Clinton say such a thing? What possessed Bill to advocate an economic slowdown? Why would President Clinton say something so controversial, so potentially idiotic and so obviously destructive to his wife's campaign?


He didn't say we should slow things down. He didn't advocate a reduction in growth. Jake Tapper, ABC Senior Washington Correspondent, was wrong.

Jake Tapper is lazy, stupid or dishonest. He might be a little of all three. In any case, he was DEAD WRONG about the Clinton statement.

Tapper reported that Clinton said, "We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren."

He even provided a link to video from the Denver speech, in which Clinton utters those words. Proof positive that Bill said those political destructive things in support of a policy that would never work, right. No. Not right. DEAD WRONG.

Tapper didn't explain that the pull-quote came from this longer and decidedly less stupid remark:

"And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada — the rich counties — would say, ‘OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.’ We could do that. But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world’s fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work."

See the difference? I thought so. I knew you would see that and say, "Wow, Bill Clinton didn't say we should slow the economy and Jake Tapper is a dumb son-of-a-bitch". I knew that because I know you have 3rd grade reading skills. I knew it would be obvious to you that Clinton was addressing the idea of slowing the economy and then explaining why such simple approaches to a global issue would be foolhardy. I knew you'd immediately see the sheer stupidity of Tapper's "report".

Okay, a reporter got the story wrong. Not the first time and surely not the last. Maybe I should cut him some slack, right? None of us are perfect. Tapper has probably been working long hours, roaming the campaign trail. He might have been tired, nodding in and out of consciousness, coming to his senses just in time to hear Clinton say something about slowing the economy before drifting back into dreamland. It was a simple little mistake on the part of an otherwise decent reporter, we might think.

The evidence, however, points to a different conclusion. Tapper is a weak journalist.

He pulled that quote, wrote a "Clinton Wants to Slow the Economy!"-style headline, and ran with it. When the sensible people of the world explained to him (via his blog) and the Clinton campaign explained to him (via an email) that he had committed an act of foolishness, Tapper proved his lack of wits quite clearly.

He wrote another post at his ABC blog, wondering how the Clintons got off on accusing him of being inaccurate and parsing the speech. He response included a few digs at the "what is the definition of 'is'" history of William Jefferson and stood by his original "report".

When a few hundred other people took the time to explain just how freaking dumb he'd been, Tapper merely toned down his headline to "What Did Bill Clinton Mean by 'We Just Have to Slow Down Our Economy' to Fight Global Warming?", leaving the idea of an advocated slowdown (not true) intact and deflecting blame for his own lack of comprehension on Bill Clinton. If he's wrong, it's only because Bill's stump speech was just too complicated to follow. Bullshit.

Trust me, it wasn't confusing. Bill Clinton's position was clear. The argument was clear. It was nothing at all like Tapper's assessment. Tapper was wrong, sloppy and stupid. That's bad enough. He now continues to advance his bullshit statement, even in the face of facts that prove it wrong. That makes him a grade-A dumb-ass. Period.

Just as troubling as Tapper's commentary is the reaction to it from many in the media and involved with the ongoing presidential campaign. Other media outlets relied on Tapper's assessment, parroting it as if it contained one scintilla of accuracy. The story spread. Political operatives leapt on the comment in hopes of beating up the Clinton campaign. The Republican National Committee quickly churned out a statement criticizing Clinton for his allegedly foolish remarks--remarks he never made. RNC tool Alex Conant argued that Clinton needed to "come back to Earth".

The quality of our national debate on an upcoming election and a contentious environmental issue has been denigrated because ABC gave Tapper a soapbox and Tapper used it to shout inaccuracies and misrepresentations. It's been further denigrated by the unwillingness of other journalists to fact-check the Tapper assessment. It's been pissed on even more by the anti-Hillary people who immediately used it as a means to attack her campaign.

Jake Tapper, take a few moments today to write a report explaining your mistake and do whatever you can to encourage others to retract the lie. Until you do, you can't be trusted to deliver junk mail, nonetheless the news. Anyone who takes you seriously until that point is a grade-A dumb-ass, just like you.

Anyone else remember that old Bee Gee's song, "I Started a Joke"? It goes something like this:

"I started a joke, which started the whole world crying,

But I didnt see that the joke was on me, oh no.

I started to cry, which started the whole world laughing,
Oh, if Id only seen that the joke was on me."

Don't just take this as gospel from John Brown. Others have called Tapper on his bullshit, too:

Climate Progress
Media Matters
Radio Left
Tennessee Guerilla Women
Obsidian Wings
Sadly, No!

and many others...


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  1. It's pretty funny. Overaggressive media-type trying to catch the ex-President in a bad quotation finds himself unable to just take responsibility for his own screw-up.

    More typical than not, in my experience. Especially in politics, the media, and all of our most aggressive, high-stakes enterprises.

    It'd be funnier if the stakes weren't so serious. But I don't really anticipate much better from such folks as long as we play the game the way we play it today.

    Remember Dan Rather? Same drama, different story. Dan can't just say, "I got a little wrapped up in my own politics and screwed up that story" because he's too embarrassed and the world came crashing down on him around it. It's kind of sad, really, and reminds me why I have no interest anymore in careers in either politics or the media and some ambivalence about academia insofar as the same kind of bullshit takes place (which is does much more often since this more aggressive era has taken hold).

    These are the people, remember, John, who are trying to lead everyone else in the country to do good in the world. It'd be funnier if it weren't so seriously fucked up.

    I'm making my peace with it, John. Either we change our ways or it stays fucked up. And, in the meantime, my life is becoming much less centered in this bullshit the more it becomes clear that it's going nowhere in a hurry until these more fundamental issues get resolved.

    Hence my new interest in investment and my still interest in movies and writing and just living my life outside of politics so I can say my peace but not live my life in this dysfunctional mess as long as we refuse to face up to it and take responsibility for how fucked up we have made it.

    To all the Jake Tappers of the world: good luck making this world better as long as you can't take responsibility for your own part in how fucked up it is now:).

  2. I can't blame you for being upset. Someone of Bill Clinton's stature finally let the cat out of the bag and revealed the real motives behind the global warming scam.

    And you can pussy foot around what Bill said all you want, but the money quote stands regardless of how you try and spin.

  3. Hey Mike,

    Your comment is so god-awful silly that it's inspired me to write another post on the whole Tapper thing. Maybe tonight... Hopefully soon.

    Couldn't disagree with your argument more, but thanks for the prod.

    John Brown of KS