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November 04, 2003



Allow me to Marshall a rebuttal.


Like many Marshall posts of late, it's devoid of much in the way of substance. Marshall merely presents the facts, then says "what's the big deal?" when clearly there was a difference there. Somehow taking people in full context is "being their flack."


I have to go with the Hammer on this one. But even if you think that Mr. Marshall has a point and the Seattle PI is somehow OK in their reporting, how does that explain P. Krugman, who failed to include even the lame qualifier that "He added that he did not want any more soldiers to be killed"?



Assume the following hypothetical statement:
"So the story is better than we might be led to believe in the news. I'm just indicting the news people, but it's, it's a bigger and better and more important story than losing a few thousand people in New York and D.C. which, which heaven forbid is awful."

Consider the reaction on this blog and elsewhere to such a statement. Then consider the reaction if it were a liberal who were to have said it.


Paul Zrimsek

Even if the Dowdified quote were accurate, and Nethercutt guilty of callously downplaying other people's deaths, Paul "Enron is a bigger story than 9/11" Krugman wouldn't be very well-placed to attack him for it.

Jon Henke

Lol....good point on the "enron" remark.
Somebody should blog that immediately. (hey, I have a blog....uh, off to work)

The part that struck me hardest about Krugmans column was this line:

"We'll engage in "Iraqification," creating local forces that take the place of American troops! Let's hope that works - but hope is not a plan."

Uh, no, professor...hope is not a plan. Fortunately, "creating local forces that take the place of American troops" IS a plan.

I mean, jeez, Krugman, you JUST WROTE IT.


Mithras - You're actually suggesting there's any comparison at all?


Sure, HH, there's a comparison. Clearly, Nethercutt's statement goes nowhere near as far my hypothetical, but I am using an extreme example to make a point about the actual case.
The language of the full quote hardly mitigates what Nethercutt said - that casualties were trivial compared to the gains we had made. I thought most right-wingers are claiming that there is a potential for good things to happen in Iraq, but that we face a "long, hard slog" - not that we had already achieved something worth the number of dead and injured.

My other point was that the reaction to this whole little flap seems to be aligning itself pretty much along partisan lines.


The outright massacre of thousands is a much bigger news story than a few soldiers dying in a war zone. You can't make a comparison.


Crap. I just made the comparison. Nethercutt's saying the casualties are trivial compared to the gains made. Is he right or wrong? I don't know. Was it insensitive? Damn straight.

Richard Vagge

When we died they said,’ Our casualties were low.'

Randal Jarrell

I don't think Mr. Nethercutt's statement should be so bitterly criticized. Mr. Jarrell obviously was complaining about the view of life that war created. But he was also speaking of a war that is almost universally recognized as just (WWII). It's just the crude but necessary calculus that war brings.

Jon Henke

"Nethercutt's saying the casualties are trivial compared to the gains made."

- - -No, he didn't. He said the story of success is a more important story than the incidents of fatalities. He did not, in any way, trivialize the fatalities.

By way of comparison, which would you say is more important....the allied victory in WW2, or the lives lost at Normandy?

Surely, the lives lost at Normandy were important, but they cannot compare to the importance of winning WW2.

If you heard him say "trivial", then you inferred it. He didn't imply it.
I suspect that is exactly what Krugman did, too.

Patrick R. Sullivan

The Seattle PI's attempts at damage control pretty much give the game away. Managing editor David McCumber justified the presentation with: "Obviously, we wouldn't quote his entire speech. We paraphrased part of it ...." (note my usage of an ellipsis, while the PI erroneously used a period for Nethercutt).

Now that suggests the PI was saving space by dropping these six words: "which, which heaven forbid is awful". Only five words if you eliminate the redundant, "which".

But then they paraphrase those words with:
"He added that he did not want any more soldiers to be killed." 13 words.

I report, you decide; just inefficient editing? Or was the PI trying to derail Patty Murray's likely competition in 2004?

Joe C.

Since we're suddenly so vigilant about quoting others, would any of you dare to share with us the words that came out of Bill Clinton's mouth when he was asked if he had ever used marijuana?

While we're at it, why don't you find some proof that Al Gore said, "I invented the internet." You have to change a few words around, don't you?

Conservatives think that just because they started it that gives them a patent on doctoring and distorting quotes. No way, baby. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.


Actually, I am quite familiar with Al Gore's non-invention of the internet. I still love the incident as a revealing example of how the press hated Al, and how he was utterly ineffectual in rallying a response.

But as to Bill not inhaling, you've got me. And as to why this is relevant, again, I am stumped.

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