Invented fact watch: From New York Times lips to Mark Shields' ears!

MONDAY, MAY 9, 2016

Donald J. Trump opposed the war in Iraq:
Invented facts are stubborn things.

One week ago, the New York Times recited an invented fact three different times within eight days.

It recited the "fact" at the top of page one. It recited the "fact" on the front page of the Sunday Review and in a Sunday magazine cover story.

The invented fact received extremely big play in the Times. Last Friday night, the invented fact made its way to the prestigious PBS NewsHour, where the nation's brightest voters gather their information.

Judy Woodruff asked Mark Shields to explain how Donald J. Trump won the GOP nomination. Reciting a certain invented fact, the liberal pundit explained:
WOODRUFF (5/6/16): What would you add, Mark? How did he do this?

SHIELDS: Judy, I think we missed the story, I think, in the sense that we never examined the premises that the Republican Party had been organized around, which was an aggressive foreign policy, a muscular defense policy, interventionist, a commitment to smaller government, and open—not open immigration but certainly considerably welcoming immigration policy, and tax cuts.

And Donald Trump just went right by this argument. I mean he basically did. I mean he repealed the Republican interventionist defense foreign policy and, you know, emphasized his own opposition to the war in Iraq, and echoed some of the sentiments that the president himself has. I mean, that our allies have to do more, that they have to contribute more to their own defense and the responsibilities.
Donald J. Trump opposed the war in Iraq! If you're the kind of brainiac who subscribes to the Times and watches the NewsHour, you've heard that invented fact four times just in the past two weeks.

This is the way invented facts become well-known to all. This is the way everyone came to know that Al Gore said he invented the Internet, among the three million invented facts which sent George Bush to the White House.

Donald J. Trump opposed the war in Iraq! That claim has been rejected by major fact-checkers a million times by now.

That said, the major stars of the upper-end press don't waste their time with no stinking fact-checks! Judy Woodruff sat and stared as Shields recited the bogus claim.

To watch Shields recite the fact, click here. His statement occurs around 2:40. His analysis goes downhill from there.

Mark Shields way back when: Just for the record, when Judy speaks to Brooks and Shields, viewers are led to believe that Shields is the more liberal pundit.

We say that because we recall an astounding moment from Shields way back when. It involved the execution of Gary Graham, a Texas inmate, back in June 2000.

The scheduled execution had created an awkward moment for Candidate Bush, who was still Governor Bush.

In June 2000, the mother of all bad capital cases had crossed Bush's desk. It concerned the pending execution of Graham, a convicted murderer.

Uh-oh! The court case in which Graham had been convicted had been a Texas classic. There was essentially no evidence convicting Graham of the crime. Meanwhile, he had been “defended” by one of the worst of the sleeping, drunken, “public defenders" for which the Texas system had long been famous.

None of that was Bush's fault, but now this case had crossed his desk, and the politics of the matter was clear. Result? Shortly before Graham’s execution, Bush held a press avail, at which he said he was sure that Graham was guilty. The press corps didn’t ask Bush how he could possibly know that.

How did The NewsHour treat this case—a case which had received world-wide attention? One day after Graham’s execution, Jim Lehrer asked Mark Shields to state his view of the matter.

Shields praised Bush for the way he had acted. Believe it or not, this is what the liberal columnist actually said:
LEHRER (6/23/00): Okay. Now on to other matters. Governor Bush, the [Graham] capital punishment issue—is that going to dog him from now on?

SHIELDS: Well, Jim, this is a perfect example. It’s an important issue, don't get me wrong. But a perfect example and sort of the quiet time of a campaign, when folks who have a cause—and the cause obviously being the abolition of capital punishment, a growing cause in the country—grab an opportunity to make this into a media event, which was done in Texas, put it on the spotlight, put him on the spotlight. That was intended. But I think the cause is to get this as a full-fledged debate. I think they did.

I thought, as somebody who has mentioned on this broadcast that George W. Bush—the doubts voters have about him is that he fills the chair, whether he’s big enough, whether he really has the heft to be president. I thought this was probably the finest moment of his campaign as he explained his position. He did it as, outside of a press conference in a suit and tie, with appropriately serious words and manner. And I thought ironically that it worked for him politically without being overly analytical.
According to Shields, Bush’s post-execution press event “was probably the finest moment of his campaign.”

Bush had been on the trail for a year. What had made his performance so impressive?

He had worn a suit and tie, Shields said. Also, he had displayed appropriately serious words and manner!

Bush had also failed to say how he knew Graham was guilty. (In part, he failed to say because the “press corps” never asked him, neither then nor later.) But so what? Wearing a suit was enough for Shields. Also, Candidate Bush had told no jokes.

That was a remarkable moment. Needless to say, Paul Gigot agreed:
LEHRER (continuing directly): Paul?

GIGOT: As long as he had a sober demeanor, as long as he made sure the procedures were properly followed, as long as he could tell everybody that “I’m making sure that all of the legal loops are followed,” the bigger risk was not doing it—because then it would have looked as if he were backing down under a campaign of pressure. And there was an awful lot of media attention on this. But by basically saying—it sounded like Mark said, like a grown-up. Following through, he looks more like a leader.
For more detail, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/6/02.

That was a remarkable moment during a history-changing campaign. Sixteen years later, Shields let NewsHour viewers know that Donald J. Trump opposed the war in Iraq. "Judy, I think we missed the story," he non-ironically said.

Judy Woodruff sat and stared as Shields performed his recitation. This is the way the game is played on the highest levels. Much like Woodruff, we the liberals rend to sit and stare.

27 comments:

  1. Speaking of made-up stories, a new book says that Ty Cobb was not a racist. This was a story made up by biographer Al Stump. http://onlyagame.wbur.org/2015/05/16/ty-cobb-book-charles-leerhsen

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    Replies
    1. The only thing new about that info is that someone has written another book.

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    2. David, that is fairly ho-hum relative to all your made up stories, like the one about Social Security going bankrupt, etc.

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  2. Bush was coming across like such an idiot that the press was relieved when he could behave even remotely presidential. That's essentially what they are praising here.

    Trump is the same. He has been such a moron during his campaign so far that they will set a very low bar and pounce on any better behavior as evidence that he too can be presidential.

    In both cases, behaving in a presidential manner is far less important than having sound policies and demonstrating the thinking and skills necessary to be president. Bush didn't have those and neither does Trump.

    The silence of the press seems to be designed to prevent the public from seeing how deficient Trump is (and Bush before him, and people like Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin, Perry, Ben Carson, and other idiots regardless of their ideology).

    I don't think Trump is particularly smart but he is definitely lazy. He will find someone like Dick Cheney to do the job for him while he swaggers and wears the flight jacket and pushes people around. There is no reason for the press to be helping Trump get elected if there were not someone behind the scenes dictating to them. Who benefits from an absentee, caretaker presidency? Who benefitted when Bush was in office? Plutocrats are pretending to be scared of Trump, as if they cannot control him. I think that is nonsense, part of the con.

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  3. “NAFTA was signed by Bill Clinton. NAFTA has been a catastrophe, an absolute catastrophe for our country.” LIE

    —Donald Trump, interview with Bret Baier of Fox News, May 6, 2016

    “NAFTA was given to us by Clinton. We can’t take any more of the Clintons.” LIE

    —Trump, during a rally in Charleston, W.V., May 6

    “NAFTA, signed by Bill Clinton, has been a total disaster for the United States.”LIE

    —Trump, in an interview on CNN, May 2

    Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has long attacked free-trade pacts, in particular the North American Free Trade Agreement. For a politician who is remarkably inconsistent in his policy stances, opposition to NAFTA and trade deals has been a lodestar. BuzzFeed even located an October 1993 speech in which Trump attacked NAFTA as a bad deal.

    “It’s a no-brainer,” Trump said, according to a news report. “The Mexicans want it, and that doesn’t sound good to me.”

    But there are a lot of things that Trump gets wrong about NAFTA, including its basic history. He repeatedly associates it with President Bill Clinton, but that’s only half right.

    The Facts

    Bill Clinton was certainly a supporter of NAFTA who pushed approval through Congress. But it was negotiated and signed by President George H.W. Bush. (Here’s a photo.) Moreover, more Republicans than Democrats voted for the deal, as the trade pact was vehemently opposed by labor unions. One key ally for Clinton was then-House Minority Whip (and later House speaker) Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who is said to be on Trump’s list of possible running mates.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/05/09/history-lesson-more-republicans-than-democrats-supported-nafta/
    ******************

    Trump repeatedly makes that claim in interviews on cable, yet I never have seen a single multimillionaire cable news journalist ever correct him.

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    Replies
    1. Clinton sided with Republicans against labor. Prior he campaigned against it. Not good IMO.

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    2. Way to miss the point. And it is not a trivial point. Trump is constantly lying about the true history of NAFTA and is never challenged. Bill Clinton is not running for President.


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      There’s never been a presidential candidate like Donald Trump — someone so cavalier about the facts and so unwilling to ever admit error, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. At last count, 67 percent (26 of 39) of our rulings of his statements turned out to be Four Pinocchios, our worst rating. By contrast, most politicians tend to earn Four Pinocchios 10 to 20 percent of the time. (Moreover, most of the remaining ratings for Trump are Three Pinocchios.)

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/03/22/all-of-donald-trumps-four-pinocchio-ratings-in-one-place/

      **************************************

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  4. Bob, how do you find transcripts for the News Hour? I can't do videos due to bandwidth shortage, but they sure do hide the transcripts. I picked up on Shield's boner and wanted to check the transcript before pointing it out to them. Sadly, that show still runs under Lehrer rules.

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  5. Bob, how do you find transcripts for the News Hour? I can't do videos due to bandwidth shortage, but they sure do hide the transcripts. I picked up on Shield's boner and wanted to check the transcript before pointing it out to them. Sadly, that show still runs under Lehrer rules.

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    Replies
    1. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/shields-and-brooks-on-trumps-nomination-triumph-and-why-the-democratic-race-isnt-over/

      Video is at the top, transcript below.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Thanks, I finally found it by clicking on Segments.

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    ReplyDelete
  7. Mark Shields is a sweet old cornball, I saw him once eating at a greasy spoon on Fairfax in LA (Norms) and he seemed to be just like he is on TV. He's was the only dope silly enough to keep bringing up The Marc Rich Pardon, the media's silly pre 9-11 obsession that rolled into the Sandra Levy case that ran into disaster.
    Still, Bob usually goes easy on him and he talked all kinds of smack on Hillary in 2008. So Bob may be correct on this, repeated carelessly enough times it will pass into fake truth that Trump was against the invasion. See "democrats voted for the war" or "the surge worked."

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    1. If Somerby posted about everyone who talked smack about Hillary in 2008, he would be writing dozens of posts each day. You don't seem to grasp the concept of this blog. It isn't to defend liberalism or liberals or to attack conservatives. It is to muse about the antics of the media, especially the liberal media. You keep complaining because Somerby goes easy on Fox and O'Reilly and Scarborough and now Shields. I think the problem is that you are missing the point of his posts, even though he has been sufficiently repetitious that everyone should have gotten the point by now.

      There is a reason why some lies are being promoted while others are not. Think about narrative. Think about why it might matter more when Shields is promoting this particular lie than when he drops the ball on other topics.

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    2. And you fail to see the problem with this blog.

      When it got to the point where Somerby was defending corrupt politicians against the vile, evil Rachel Maddow, he clearly lost his moral compass.

      Delete
    3. The enemy of my enemy can never be wrong!

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    4. Anon at 12:06, Shields's 2008 comments, without opening an ancient can of worms, were particularly egregious dirty pool, and Newshour was a vendor TDH often went after, so I was surprised he missed them. As to the rest, hogwash. Bob never said he was here to "especially go after the liberal media." It was once quite the contrary. That is an outgrowth of Bob's prejudice. He did, once, go after misinformation that was being distributed by the Media. It is only in more recent years he latched upon the notion that the right wing press, for whatever reason, are not part of the equation.
      Of course they are a big part of said, so the Daily Howler has become rather irrelevant and silly. Still, for the useful work it once did, some of us diehards hang in there.

      Delete
  8. I really liked the way you highlighted some really important and significant points. In this post you say good things come in small packages. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Did Trump, in his primary campaign speeches, "emphasize his own opposition to the war in Iraq"?

    I believe once again Mr. Somerby is trying to "invent a lie" out of something that is in fact true.

    The degree and timing of Mr. Trump's opposition to the war is certainly debatable as is the veracity of his claims about it. But did he emphasize it? Clearly he did.

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    1. Nope.

      No, Trump did not "emphasize his own opposition to the war in Iraq"?

      Trump LIED repeatedly and stridently, FALSELY claiming he opposed the war in Iraq and boasting about countless news articles written PRIOR to the Iraq invasion supporting that FALSE claim. Not a single news article supports Trumps LIE.

      It is not a trivial matter as Trump is obviously LYING to enhance his reputation for having better judgment when in actual fact he's a fucking ignorant baboon.

      Mr. Somerby has now been documenting numerous and repeated instances of major national journalists accepting as fact Donald Trump's false narrative.

      And I applaud Mr. Somerby for doing so.

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    2. Your comment says Trump "repeatedly and stridently" claimed he "opposed the war in Iraq." That does in fact mean that he "emphasized his own opposition to the war."

      Sorry mm, but Shields is accurately depicting what Trumpo did in his campaign. And he is not vouching for the accuracy of it any more than someone who says Hillary Clinton emphasized the dangers she faced as First Lady by describing how she come under sniperfire in Bosnia vouches for the accuracy of Clinton's statement.

      It amazes me you can launch a vigorous defense of Somerby while proving his lie at the same time.

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    3. You are having a problem with basic logic.

      One cannot "emphasize" something that did not actually happen.

      When Shields uses the phrase "his own opposition to the war", he uses no qualifiers. There is no indication to his audience that as a matter of historical fact Trump did not oppose the Iraq war. It is journalistic malpractice.

      I would be willing to wager the Shields doesn't know that numerous fact checkers have shown Trump to be a LIAR on this issue.

      And your ridiculous attempt to draw an equivalence with something Hillary Clinton said 8 years ago is laughable for a number of reasons.

      Primarily, the political press went ape shit over her sniper fire comment. When Hillary Clinton says anything, a large data center on K street manned by teams of young fascists hums into action checking for any slight inconsistency which is then immediately relayed to their partners at the cable news stations and within seconds we will see Wolf Blitzer hyperventilating across the nation about Hillary's horrific new lie.

      ****************
      Bluntly, Clinton's trip to Tuzla was a hell of a lot riskier, not to mention more successful than George W. Bush's May 2003 "mission accomplished" landing on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. Ten days before the Clinton party arrived in Tuzla, I had flown there on an Air National Guard C-130 with photographer Ed Kashi. The assignment was to write a story about Task Force Eagle, which, under Major General Bill Nash, was pacifying the Tuzla Valley and most especially de-fanging the Bosnian Serb army.

      These beasts had, until weeks earlier, done their worst to finish turning the Tuzla Valley into a corpse-littered wasteland. Onboard the flight from Frankfurt, Germany, we were given flak jackets to don once we had entered Bosnian airspace. There was a lively debate over whether it was better to wear the proffered helmets on our heads, or place them under our seat. Given the Bosnia Serb propensity to take potshots at planes landing and taking off from the Tuzla air base, it was agreed that the latter was a more life-enhancing strategy.

      Eagle Base was a "hot" landing zone. When our plane touched down, the C-130's rear cargo door opened, and we were encouraged to sprint to the base's sandbag-reinforced terminal. The plane was unloaded and reloaded in war-zone fashion - with engines running.

      http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Bosnia-a-war-zone-when-Hillary-visited-in-1996-3220549.php
      ******************

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    4. Gee mm. You are a brave person. I had no idea you served as a war correspondent.

      Delete
    5. "I had no idea ... [of my own] FULL STOP.

      Delete
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