Washington Post takes me out of context...but it's close enough

On Saturday, I was privileged to be quoted in a front page story in the Washington Post. However, they (not surprisingly) took my quote out of context, very much changing the intent of my words. You can see for yourself... The Post's article is HERE with my quote at the beginning of the second page of the article. (Click on the "2" or "Next" near the end of the first page.) The blog post to which they were referring is HERE. And my letter to the editors of the Washington Post:
While I appreciate the Post's quoting of my blog entry at FreedomWorks' web page, the context of those words, which were not reported in your article, was important. You wrote that I "compared Obama's Tuesday address to U.S. schoolchildren to the tactics" of various murderous dictators. That is untrue. What I wrote, and the words remain for all to see, was that "the original lesson plan gave a clear glimpse" into the political motivation of the speech, namely to further Barack Obama's cult of personality much as Mao and others had. And while the speech itself was predictably unobjectionable, President Obama's repeated references to himself were just the latest reminder of his narcissism -- a trait which also fits well with people whom I wish our president could not so easily be compared with in political style.
  • Madpinto
    Comment from: Madpinto
    09/14/09 @ 09:11:53 am

    I think you are being kind to the Post. They used Hitler in one sentence and referred to you in the next! The Post shamelessly sensationalized your comparison between Obama's speech to school children and actual historical events by narcissistic dictators. Anyone reading their article without reading your blog would presume you labeled Obama a murderous dictator and that was far from the truth.

  • SDaedalus
    Comment from: SDaedalus
    09/14/09 @ 12:32:18 pm

    The WaPo article and your response hightlight another downside of agitprop: it is very difficult for the agitprop author to backpedal into a reasonable explanation of why a mundane point (a politician's narcissism) had to be packaged by type of inflammatory comparisons and innuendo that plays on the emotion rather than intellect of readers. If your original post was drafted to persuade readers that Obama is a narcissist and therefore it was inappropriate of him to use a school address to build his alleged 'cult of personality' it would have included some substantive argument that he in fact is a narcissist and how specific portions of the address suggest he is somehow recruiting followers rather than just a generic inspirational/motivational message. But instead of any substantive argument, your summary conclusion is wrapped in various references to the whos-who of totalitarian bad guys, followed by the direct comparison quoted by the WaPo: "Totalitarians of all stripes put great emphasis on brainwashing the young, and Obama is no exception." Your sole fixation upon totalitarians as the type of individuals who exhibit narcissitic traits and seek public adulation, to the exclusion of the many more sports figures, celebrities, and otherwise successful politicians of all stripes who also fit this same profile, suggests that WaPo got the context right: namely that the post was making a comparsion of Obama to totalitarians, rather than a more complex argument that Obama's narcissistic tendencies and harmful acts might justify the concerns of parents of school children.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    09/14/09 @ 07:28:45 pm

    As usual, you misinterpret my words to suit your needs. I am not backpedaling anything. I complained about the lesson plan and how it showed Obama's political motivations. I simply explained how the Washington Post made my comment something it wasn't. That said, I do not back away from my basic belief that Obama is an anti-capitalist, anti-American Chicago thug who is little better than a Manchurian Candidate, and whose narcissism fits perfectly with many horrendous dictators of the past even though I don't think Obama wants to kill anyone. My initial statement was reasonable to begin with. The Post tried to make me sound unreasonable and I endeavored to correct the record for those who saw the Post article but not my blog piece. My main point is NOT about Obama's narcissism but that he is fully enamored of a cult of personality just as Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Hitler were, and I don't back away from ANY of that. My "sole fixation" is not and was not about his narcissism. I just thought that was an interesting characteristic which came through in the speech...which he gave after I wrote my piece. What you are doing is no different than what the Post did, but I will have none of it.