Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm sorry, I Just Couldn't Help It

I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t help it. Last evening at a Super Bowl party, one of the persons in attendance, a very nice person, made the comment in an entirely different politically-unrelated context, that she didn’t like science fiction of any kind. I asked her, “You watch Fox news right?” When she nodded affirmatively, I continued, “So then you do watch science fiction.” Several other guests murmured quietly to themselves and I felt the lash of general disapproval at the dinner table. After that I had a sleepless night. My actions and statement bothered me. Had I unfairly attacked this individual simply because I was put out by Fox News and Chris Wallace’s handling of Sarah Palin’s speech to the Teabaggers Saturday evening? In that speech, Palin, who is known to stretch the truth and is employed by Fox, took cheap shots and made several wildly exaggerated claims about Obama. While she stood there and read from a prepared speech, she mocked Obama’s use of a teleprompter. What is a teleprompter other than a prepared speech? In substance, Palin's tea party speech was full of false and misleading national security claims including suggesting that the Obama administration doesn't use the word "war," that interrogators didn't ask alleged Christmas Day bomber UmarFarouk Abdulmutallab about his training and future al Qaeda plots, and that Abdulmutallab has not provided information since he "lawyered up and invoked our U.S. constitutional right to remain silent." What really irritated me about this is that Chris Wallace interviewed Palin on his Sunday morning talk show and, if Fox is truly fair and balanced [as it claims about a hundred times an hour on air] , a fledgling interviewer should have pointed out to Palin the obvious exaggerations and called her to account for them. Nothing of the sort took place. All Wallace did was to continue lobbing softball questions to Palin which resulted in her intimation that she may be available for a run for the presidency in 2012. More grievously Palin ragged Obama for calling the ongoing wars in Iran and Afghanistan “Overseas Contingency Operations” rather than “War.” This is an absolute falsehood. Obama has repeatedly used the word "war." He used the word "war" at least seven times during his January 27 State of the Union speech. Moreover, following Obama's January 7 remarks on the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight -- remarks during which Obama stated, "We are at war. We are at war with al Qaeda" -- numerous conservative media figures started falsely suggesting that Obama had not characterized the fight against terrorists as a war. In fact, in his inaugural address, Obama stated that "[o]ur nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred," and he has repeatedly discussed terrorism as the rationale for U.S. military action abroad

Bottom Line: I apologize openly and publicly to my friend for saying what I said last night, not that it wasn’t true, but in the context of a genial discussion about other subjects. This morning I will also call her and apologize personally for my exuberance.

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