Supplemental: The fuller extent of what Rand Paul said!

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2015

Should this have been reported:
Here at THE HOWLER, we won’t be voting for Rand Paul.

That said, we also wouldn’t vote for some of the recent journalism concerning Senator Paul. With that in mind, we’ll show you some of the things he recently said about vaccines.

First, let’s look at what Nicholas Kristof wrote at the start of Sunday’s column. He gave a rather standard account of what Paul had said.

Headline included:
KRISTOF (2/8/15): The Dangers of Vaccine Denial

In a few backward parts of the world, extremists resist universal childhood vaccinations. The Taliban in tribal areas of Pakistan. Boko Haram militants in Northern Nigeria.

Oh, yes, one more: Some politicians in the United States.

Senator Rand Paul—a doctor!—told CNBC that he had delayed his own children’s immunizations and cited “many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”

After an uproar, Paul walked back his remarks and tweeted a photo of himself getting a Hepatitis A vaccination. After that irresponsible scaremongering, I’d say he deserves to get shots daily for a decade. With really long needles.
Nicholas Kristof—a journalist!—gave a fairly standard account of what Paul had said on CNBC. Beyond that, his quotation of Paul was technically accurate. Many other journalists had quoted that same remark.

By the time Kristof’s column appeared, Paul had explained what he meant by those quoted words. His explanation didn’t seem to make much sense to us. But just for the record, he also said everything which follows before he made that one quoted remark.

He spoke with CNBC’s Kelly Evans. This is a fuller record of the things he said:
EVANS (2/2/15): Senator, thank you so much for being here on the program. It is good to see you. And listen, we have a lot to get to here that is important for our investors. But I just have to begin by asking: Did you really just say to Laura Ingraham that you think most vaccines in this country should be, quote, “voluntary?”

PAUL: Well, I guess being for freedom would be really unusual. I guess I don’t understand the point of why that would be controversial.

EVANS: Senator, maybe you are not aware, but there is a huge problem right now with Disney theme parks having to close down because of mumps. Not enough children being vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella because their parents, for whatever reason, have decided that it is voluntary. And I can tell you, plenty of people I work with are really concerned about their kids getting sick at school.

PAUL: Here’s the thing is, I think vaccines are one of the greatest medical breakthroughs that we have. I’m a big fan and a great fan of the history of the development of the smallpox vaccine, for example. But you know, for most of our history, they have been voluntary. So I don’t think I’m arguing for anything out of the ordinary. We are arguing for what most of our history has had.

EVANS: I understand that you are all for the choice. But again, if we are left in a situation where diseases that were once almost wiped out are now coming back because people are deciding not to vaccinate their kids, isn’t that a problem?

PAUL: I think public awareness of how good vaccines are for kids, and how they are good for public health, is a great idea. You know, we have just appointed a surgeon general. These are some of the things that are things that we should promote as good for our health. But I don’t think there is anything extraordinary about resorting to freedom.

I’ll give you a good example. You know, the Hepatitis B vaccine is now given to newborns. We sometimes give five and six vaccines all at one time. I chose to have mine delayed. I don’t want the government telling me that I have to give my newborn Hepatitis B vaccine, which is transmitted—

EVANS: Understood.

PAUL: —which is transmitted by sexually transmitted disease and/or blood transfusions.

Do I think it’s ultimately a good idea? Yeah, and so I had mine staggered over several months...

Personally, we wouldn’t vote for Paul. That said, Paul made all those statements about vaccines before he said the one thing Kristof quoted.

He said vaccines are one of our greatest medical breakthroughs. He said he’s “a big fan,” apparently of vaccines in general. He said he’s a great fan of the history of the development of the smallpox vaccine.

He said public awareness of how good vaccines are for kids and for public health is a great idea. He said the new surgeon general should promote that public awareness.

He said he had delayed his newborn’s Hepatitis B vaccine. But he seemed to say that he had only had the child’s vaccines staggered over several months.

“I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea,” Paul soon said. “I think they are a good thing, but I think the parent should have some input.”

How much input should parents have? Evans never asked. We’re omitting the one statement Kristof quoted.

We don’t mean to single out Kristof. By the time his column appeared, a wide array of journalists had quoted Paul in the same way he did. Kristof only stood out from the crowd in the way he now routinely does—by imagining a painful punishment for Paul, AKA The Other.

This brings us to our basic question: Do you think Kristof’s readers got a full sense of what Paul actually said?

More specifically, do you think Paul really “walked back his remarks” when he got that Hepatitis A booster the next day? When Kristof wrote that Paul “delayed his own children’s immunizations,” do you think his readers understood that Paul had only staggered the shots over several months?

Final questions: Do you think that Paul is involved in something that can be called “vaccine denial?” Do you think he's “resisting universal childhood vaccinations” in the manner of Boko Haram?

We wouldn’t make those statements. How do they grab you and yours?

Personally, we wouldn’t vote for Paul. We also wouldn’t report his remarks in the way Kristof and others did.

That said, this is the highly tribal way our reporting often works at this point. This approach will often make one of our various tribes feel good. But we don’t think this practice is good for the nation, or for progressive interests.

Did Kristof’s readers get a full sense of what Paul actually said? On balance, we don’t think so. Beyond that, we think this way of quoting politicians stands in the way of fuller, smarter discussions.

We wouldn’t vote for Senator Paul. Did you understand the full range of what he actually said?

For the full transcript and tape: For a full transcript of this exchange, you can just click here.

To watch videotape of the interview, just click this.

Instant pop quiz on today’s remarks: Our quiz today includes only one question. Based on your reading, do you think that we at THE HOWLER would vote for Senator Paul?

58 comments:

  1. It looks to me that Paul was throwing the anti-vaxxers a bone by acknowledging he is aware of temporal associations between vaccines and reactions that might cause concern. Pandering might be the word for it but it doesn't support Kristof's insinuations. Paul probably shouldn't have pandered knowing there are agenda-driven people like Kristof scrutinizing his comments for an opportunity to misrepresent them.

    Has Kristof ever written about Robert Kennedy, Jr.'s anti-vax activism?

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    1. Of course, pandering isn't agenda-driven because the little cartoon birds constantly circling your head told you that, right?

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    2. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/robert-kennedy-jrs-belief-in-autism-vaccine-connection-and-its-political-peril/2014/07/16/f21c01ee-f70b-11e3-a606-946fd632f9f1_story.html

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    3. Anti-vax beliefs are evenly split between liberals and conservatives, unless the right decides to make this another anti-science issue. That would be foolish given that children are involved and the negative blowback of kids with measles-related complications is potentially devastating politically.

      Bill Maher does more damage with his health-faddism than Rand Paul but neither side wants to beat up its own. I'm not sure why that's surprising.

      Somerby focuses on reporting. It should be competent. He is not advocating any side beyond fair and accurate reporting. Of course he holds his own views and they are liberal, but the point isn't who beats up who -- it is how the press talks about things to the public.

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    4. Journalists are not supposed to be agenda-driven other than fulfilling the agenda of telling the truth to the public.

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    5. 11:42 says "Somerby focuses on reporting"

      1:24 chirps along; "Journalists are not supposed to be agenda-driven"

      Kristof is not a reporter. He is an opinion columnist.

      That Somerby has two fans who do not understand the difference, or recognize that no opinionated blowhard toots his own agenda harder than Somerby truly undermines a third commenter who recently wrote that Somerby's main purpose is to educate.

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  2. Must have grown tired of beating up Brian Williams already, so let's beat up Kristof some more.

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    1. Bob wakes up tired. After all, the one thing he learned from all those years doing stand-up comedy is to hate the public. That's why he's so concerned about the state of public discourse - or something like that.

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    2. He never stopped beating up Kristof even while pretending to write about Williams.

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  3. How dare Stars & Stripes call out Brian Williams for his 12 years of lying about stolen valor that forced the hand of the reluctant liberal media to finally look closer at Williams' congenital compulsion for telling whoppers. That B.S. is a week late commenting on the story and then attempts to spin the news into B.W. as willing tool of the evil corporations is just bizarre. But now that NBC benched their star player, why not move on?

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    1. Poor cicero. Can't tell the difference between a "Beat Up Kristof Some More" post and a "Beat Up Brian Williams Some More" post.

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    2. From one of Cheech's blogger crushes:

      So, it’s poetic justice that Mueller spent her last months as a hostage of the Islamic terrorists with whom she thought she had some sort of kinship and sisterhood. And that she died in their hands.

      When people ask me what I think of Kayla Mueller, I’ll say, I think she’s incinerated.

      Buh-bye, Kayla. Have fun with your 72 Yasser Arafats.

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  4. They are reportedly examining Williams expense accounts also. There may be other forms of dishonesty involved.

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    1. We wouldn't say that there was. We just don't know.

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    2. Uh oh! We've been warning you since 1999 there is puffery.
      That said, it may be nothing. But many, including some commenters seem to swallow it, And liberals take it still.

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  5. The Howler seems to have no concept of what is called in marketing circles, "take-away." The CNBC take-away for its web coverage was, "Rand Paul thinks vaccination should be voluntary." Kristof seems to get that. All the literal qualifiers fade away into into oblivion. Someone like Rand Paul gets that, too. Kristof holds him to the take-way, The Howler would let Paul have his take-away for his base, but also insist that his carefully nuanced response apply to anyone who would criticize him.

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    1. Paul's views have been misrepresented by the media. Reducing his views to a minimalist sound bite doesn't change that at all.

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    2. Vaccination is voluntary.

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    3. Moron. Failure to provide medical care to children is child abuse.

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    4. Of course, the problem with "voluntary with public education" is that there will always be "truthers" who know the "real" story and won't be convinced otherwise.

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    5. Led into the abyss of ignorance by Robert Kennedy, Jr.

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  6. Is Rand Paul a right-wing nut?
    From what he says it could be yes; it (maybe) could be no.
    Me & the analysts know for sure that he is not a liberal and we ourselves wouldn't vote for him. But he is not a liberal.
    He is a self taught opthamologist and the analysts and I would send our children to see(?) him.
    But ourselves? I can't see(?) that. because he is not a liberal.
    We may not be dumb, but we sure are stupid.

    LG

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    1. R.P. is a Libertarian. His father is a certifiable moonbat.

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    2. He ran as a Republican in Kentucky. He's a Republican senator.

      Ron is more wingnut than moonbat, especially when it comes to race.

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    3. I posted the Democratic Party Senators who voted for Iraq War II and Howlers cried that none of them are liberals. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

      Ron Paul believes 911 was an inside job. That's moonbat all the way. 95% of the 911 Truthers are libs. Rand like his father are Libertarians.

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    4. Does you mommy know you make Howlers cry sissy-row?

      Or does she think all that stroking down in the basement is just you growing up, like back when you were in middle school?

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    5. @1;04

      You sound bitter after completing your transitioning.

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  7. A libertarian is a right-wing nut who likes to smoke Ganja.

    LG

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    1. Just remember you said that when you find out that Libertarians Ron and Rand Paul were against the Iraq War.

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    2. Even nuts are found by blind pigs occasionally.

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  8. Brent Baker & Tim GrahamFebruary 11, 2015 at 10:38 PM

    Re: the blogger's criticism of liberal media in general and specifically,
    "we think this way of quoting politicians stands in the way of fuller, smarter discussions."

    We couldn't have said it any better.

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    1. And that is why Bob the blogger enjoys a stellar career as a widely read, well respected writer. One day you may as well.

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  9. The Fuller Extent of Why Somerby is a Charltan

    An answer to Bob's Question: Why is it important to know how he'' vote on just Ron Paul after a column when you excoriate Kristof for things he left out that Rand Paul said when you leave out all the other politicans Kristof similarly criticizes.

    Let's start with darling Hillary "Gap Fighter" Clinton. Barack Obama, Chris Christie.

    Did you also know Kristof showed he cared about kids by giving an example of one who is threatened by the cavalier attitude and misinformation about vaccination. NO? Somerby obviously doesn't care about such because he didn't mention that part of Kristof's column. He is more concerned that columnists transcribe the full text of what a politican says. At least columnists he wants to calumniate.

    Kristof was "technically accurate." Somerby is totally asinine.

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    1. When have you ever criticized anything here except Somerby?

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    2. When have you ever had the snap to refute anything I say?

      There. I criticized you. Hope you are not Somerby.

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    3. 11:19 - Your criticism of Somerby is, in fact, really just a defense of Kristof and what he said. Rand Paul's recent statements are (to you) just the same as the Taliban and Boko Haram. I disagree.

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    4. Good for you @10:51/12:19. At least you are trying.

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  10. This column illustrates why a conservative cannot defeat liberal media bias. As Bob points out, Paul's one comment, taken out of context, has been widely reported by the liberal media. Being a doctor, Paul discussed vaccines with a degree of sophistication. This allowed the media and the liberals (but I repeat myself) to find a single comment out of context and unfairly demonize him.

    Perhaps Paul (and all Republican candidates) should be smart enough to discuss issues without making a single comment that, taken out of context, could be used to attack them. However, that's a huge burden, impossible to achieve. It's hard enough to avoid occasionally saying something silly (like Obama's "all 53 states"). But, to also avoid saying things that can be misconstrued as silly would force a candidate to reply in pre-tested sound bites and never deviate from them.

    In a better world, media people would pay a price for this sort of distorted reporting.

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    1. In a better world?

      What better world can there be than a world with First Amendment freedom of the press. The world of America.

      I guess being for freedom would be really unusual. I guess I don’t understand the point of why that would be controversial.

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    2. " a degree of sophistication"

      Translation: FREEDOM MEANS I OWN MY KIDS

      jackass

      I HAVE HEARD OF MANY TRAGIC CASES OF WALKING, TALKING NORMAL CHILDREN WHO WOUND UP WITH PROFOUND MENTAL DISORDERS AFTER VACCINES. I'M NOT ARGUING VACCINES ARE A BAD IDEA. I THINK THEY ARE A GOOD THING, BUT I THINK THE PARENT SHOULD HAVE SOME INPUT. THE STATE DOESN'T OWN YOUR CHILDREN. PARENTS OWN THE CHILDREN. AND IT IS AN ISSUE OF FREEDOM AND PUBLIC HEALTH.

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    3. The first amendment only protects you from punishment by the *government*. You can be fired from your job for having an "Obama for President" bumper sticker and the Constitution will not protect you. There is a big difference between calling for a boycott of new media who distort the truth and calling for the government to regulate what we can say.

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    4. Wow. A constitutional expert. I have never had a close encounter with one of you like this, and I vowed to myself to take advantage of such a situation if ever I had it. So here goes:

      Why does the Second Amendment say anything about a well regulate militia?

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    5. mm the key words are "ownership" and "freedom."

      Paul argues that child "owners" should have the freedom to vaccinate or not vaccinate their property voluntarily.

      "But you know, for most of our history, they have been voluntary. So I don’t think I’m arguing for anything out of the ordinary. We are arguing for what most of our history has had.

      For most of our history, white people owned black people as property as well. Some enlightened ones would, no doubt, vaccinate their property in this modern world of ours. Others might not. Some might beat them. Others might not. I don’t think I’m arguing for anything out of the ordinary.

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    6. For most of our history, children with contagious diseases were involuntarily quarantined -- confined to their homes with notices pasted on the door saying that no one was permitted to enter or exit. Public health is a greater interest than individual freedom. Look at what happened during the plague years in Europe, even in places with freedom (like Great Britain).

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    7. @12:57 Maybe I didn't make myself clear. I think Paul is a horse's ass. Parents don't "own" their children. He further suggested rather clearly that there was a causal relationship between children getting "profound mental disorders" and receiving the vaccine. Every sentient being except for Bob understood the implication of what he said rather plainly, which is why Paul had to run to the doctor's office the next day with reporters and photographers.

      DinC states that Paul was answering the reporter's question with " a degree of sophistication"

      DinC is just a partisan jackass.

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    8. The state should not require a parent have a child vaccinated but it should require vaccination for entry to public school, and it is reasonable to quarantine those who contract diseases and also those with close contact with patients with serious and contagious diseases like ebola.

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    9. I prefer voluntary solutions afforded by the 2nd amendment, open carry and stand-your-ground laws.

      Any person without their vaccination papers who resembles somebody from one of those e-bola countries better not make me fear for the life of my little property ones that God blessed me and the missus with or I can shoot 'em. Like we have through most of our history. Who can argue with anything not so unusual as that?

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    10. "The state should not require a parent have a child vaccinated..."

      Maybe, maybe not. That wasn't the point of this post by TDH, which was to berate Kristof for somehow being unfair to Paul, which is just preposterous based on a fair reading of what the man said.

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  11. The Foolish Extent of What Somerby Really Said

    TDH: "Should this have been reported: Here at THE HOWLER, we won’t be voting for Rand Paul."

    No, Bob. You shouldn't have reported that because few care. That said, I believe in freedom, so report any future voting plans you please.

    TDH: "Nicholas Kristof—a journalist!—gave a fairly standard account of what Paul had said on CNBC. Beyond that, his quotation of Paul was technically accurate."

    Not really. The words in quotation came out of Paul's mouth in the exact order Paul uttered them, but Kristof used the word "cited" before
    quoting Paul. Uh oh! Paul "cited" no cases. This is not the first time you have credited Kristof for accuracy in a very misleading manner, Mr. S. And sadly, when you provided the "fuller" responses of Paul, you stopped before getting to the "technically accurate" quote, making it difficult to see how both you and Kristof erred. You admit you omitted it. You never said why. We ask now.

    TDH: “I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea,” Paul soon said. “I think they are a good thing, but I think the parent should have some input.”

    How much input should parents have? Evans never asked. We’re omitting the one statement Kristof quoted."

    We noted you omitted it previously. We think the more important question pertains to that omission. Why did Evans not ask Paul to cite a single example when Paul said:

    "I HAVE HEARD OF MANY TRAGIC CASES OF WALKING, TALKING NORMAL CHILDREN WHO WOUND UP WITH PROFOUND MENTAL DISORDERS AFTER VACCINES."

    I highlight words neither you or Kristof used. Paul is using hearsay to further fears of vaccination. Evans did not ask him to document his claim. Kristof did not call him on this. Neither did you. All three of you are pinheads.

    I might suggest pinheads seem not to care about these damaged children Paul refers to They are generally dumb, lazy, and disliked. Not to mention the cause of lost progressive interests. I will never vote for a pinhead.

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    1. The main pinhead here is you.

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    2. Another stirring refutation from the army following Somerby in the defense of intellectual culture.

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