WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2021
As performed on Morning Joe: Yesterday morning, we made a point of watching Morning Joe. Woodward and Costa were going to be there to discuss their under-sourced new book.
Seven minutes into the segment, Woodward mentioned former Vice President Pence. Was he perhaps a bit too kind in what he said about Pence?
WOODWARD (9/21/21): [As January 6 approaches], Pence is really working hard to see if he can do something to stay on the good side of Trump. At the same time, as Bob [Costa] pointed out, amidst Dan Quayle, who calls him and reads him the Constitution and the law and says, You are not an actor is this. You simply mechanically count the votes. And Pence is under lots of pressure from Trump, and his lawyers and confidantes are just saying, You cannot do this, and in the end Pence stood up and did the constitutional right thing. At the same time, when he's there and they're voting to certify, if he'd just said, "Oh, I'm confused" and walked off, we would have had worse than a constitutional crisis, because it would have undermined the legitimacy of the presidency.
In Woodward's account, Quayle called Pence and told him that he had to do the right thing. On January 6, Woodward says that Pence did exactly that, despite lots of pressure from Trump.
This may not have been negative enough concerning Pence. Also, did Quayle call Pence or did Pence call Quayle? Continuing directly, Willie got the overall story back on track, while performing an unannounced correction:
GEIST (continuing directly): But Bob Costa, as you report in the book, Bob, it's, you know—he was fishing around, Vice President Pence, for a reason to get this done for President Trump, calling Vice President Quayle, who shut him down pretty quickly...
That was more like it! Willie stressed the way Pence was fishing around for a way to get the election undone.
Also, in Willie's account, it was Pence who called Quayle, not the way Woodward had it. Heroically, Quayle shut him down!
How about it? Did Pence call Quayle, or did Quayle call Pence? Assuming that any of this occurred, it wouldn't exactly matter.
That said, when Maddow read from the book last Tuesday night, it was Pence who telephoned Quayle, and that is what it says in the book. ("In late December, Pence phoned former vice president Dan Quayle.")
Yesterday morning, Woodward had that fact turned around. Willie simply plowed ahead, blowing past Woodward's apparent misstatement and getting the overall story back on track.
Did Pence call Quayle, or did Quayle call Pence? More importantly, what happened when the two men spoke, assuming they actually did? And on what basis can Woodward and Costa report what the two fellows said?
On what basis should we assume that their account of this alleged call is actually accurate? Who or what is the source of their account, in which they literally quote substantial parts of this conversation?
As widely presented on liberal cable, this new book launched a pleasingly unflattering story about Pence. But on what basis should anyone think that Woodward and Costa's account of this matter is accurate? (It certainly may be, of course.)
These are the obvious questions to ask. But given the clownish way our upper-end corporate discourse works, none of the millionaires of "cable news" are ever going to ask them. Our discourse is Storyline all the way down, and the big players all know this.
You'd almost think that our logicians (or our "epistemologists") might speak up at some point. As it turns out, they have better things to do:
Revisionists versus Unitarians, they're debating the (unreadable) Theaetetus!