Ping (zestyping) wrote,
Ping
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Distortions and lies from our favourite news source.

Got this from the excellent Facts Machine.

Fox News reports on Clarke's testimony yesterday:

"You've got a real credibility problem," John Lehman, former Navy secretary under President Reagan, told Clarke, calling the witness "an active partisan selling a book."

Clarke responded: "I don't think it's a question of morality at all, I think it's a question of politics."

Gee, that makes Clarke sound pretty slimy, eh? According to the above, his response to a "credibility problem" seems to be that politics — in particular partisan politics — is more important than morality.

Now here are excerpts from the transcript of the testimony, showing what Lehman actually said and how Clarke responded.

LEHMAN: I never got Jim Thompson to stand before 50 photographers reading your book. And I certainly never got "60 Minutes" to coordinate the showing of its interview with you with 15 network news broadcasts, the selling of the movie rights, and your appearance here today. So I would say, "Bravo."

Until I started reading those press reports, and I said this can't be the same Dick Clarke that testified before us, because all of the promotional material and all of the spin in the networks was that this is a rounding, devastating attack — this book — on President Bush.

That's not what I heard in the interviews. And I hope you're going to tell me, as you apologized to the families for all of us who were involved in national security, that this tremendous difference — and not just in nuance, but in the stories you choose to tell — is really the result of your editors and your promoters, rather than your studied judgment, because it is so different from the whole thrust of your testimony to us.

And similarly, when you add to it the inconsistency between what your promoters are putting out and what you yourself said as late as August '05, you've got a real credibility problem.

And because of my real genuine long-term admiration for you, I hope you'll resolve that credibility problem, because I'd hate to see you become totally shoved to one side during a presidential campaign as an active partisan selling a book.

 
CLARKE: Thank you, John.

Let me talk about partisanship here, since you raise it. I've been accused of being a member of John Kerry's campaign team several times this week, including by the White House. So let's just lay that one to bed. I'm not working for the Kerry campaign. Last time I had to declare my party loyalty, it was to vote in the Virginia primary for president of the United States in the year 2000. And I asked for a Republican ballot.

I worked for Ronald Reagan with you. I worked for the first President Bush. And he nominated me to the Senate as an assistant secretary of state, and I worked in his White House, and I've worked for this President Bush. And I'm not working for Senator Kerry.

Now, the fact of the matter is, I do co-teach a class with someone who works for Senator Kerry. That person is named Randy Beers. Randy Beers and I have worked together in the federal government and the White House and the State Department for 25 years.

Randy Beers worked in the White House for Ronald Reagan. Randy Beers worked in the White House for the first President Bush, and Randy Beers worked in the White House for the second President Bush.

And just because he is now working for Senator Kerry, I am not going to disassociate myself from one of my best friends and someone who I greatly respect and worked with for 25 years.

And, yes, I will admit, I co-teach a class at the Harvard University and Georgetown University with Mr. Beers. That, I don't think, makes me a member of the Kerry campaign.

The White House has said that my book is an audition for a high-level position in the Kerry campaign. So let me say here as I am under oath, that I will not accept any position in the Kerry administration, should there be one — on the record, under oath.

Now, as to your accusation that there is a difference between what I said to this commission in 15 hours of testimony and what I am saying in my book and what media outlets are asking me to comment on, I think there's a very good reason for that.

In the 15 hours of testimony, no one asked me what I thought about the president's invasion of Iraq. And the reason I am strident in my criticism of the president of the United States is because by invading Iraq — something I was not asked about by the commission, it's something I chose write about a lot in the book — by invading Iraq the president of the United States has greatly undermined the war on terrorism.

You can see why the Bush attack dogs want to destroy this man.

So where does the "morality" quotation come from? It appears several pages later when Clarke is answering a completely different question asked by a different commissioner — Thompson, not Lehman.

THOMPSON: But you will admit that what you said in August of 2002 is inconsistent with what you say in your book?
 
CLARKE: No, I don't think it's inconsistent at all. I think, as I said in your last round of questioning, Governor, that it's really a matter here of emphasis and tone. I mean, what you're suggesting, perhaps, is that as special assistant to the president of the United States when asked to give a press backgrounder I should spend my time in that press backgrounder criticizing him. I think that's somewhat of an unrealistic thing to expect.
 
THOMPSON: Well, what it suggests to me is that there is one standard of candor and morality for White House special assistants and another standard of candor and morality for the rest of America.
 
CLARKE: I don't get that.

I don't think it's a question of morality at all. I think it's a question of politics.

 
THOMPSON: Well, I...

I'm not a Washington insider. I've never been a special assistant in the White House. I'm from the Midwest. So I think I'll leave it there.

Now look again at how Fox conveniently summarizes the testimony for us:

"You've got a real credibility problem," John Lehman, former Navy secretary under President Reagan, told Clarke, calling the witness "an active partisan selling a book."

Clarke responded: "I don't think it's a question of morality at all, I think it's a question of politics."

Unbelievable. The Fox News article is a complete misrepresentation.

The Washington Post has the entire transcript if you want to look at it yourself. Lehman's challenge appears about 70% of the way down; you can find it by searching for things he says, such as "long-term admiration". Clarke's comment about morality appears about 80% of the way down; you can find it be searching for "question of morality".

Plainly despicable. There's fair and there's balanced. And then there's none of the above: Fox News.

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