Liberal child apes Saint John McCain!


Salon explains What Rice Said: The endless attacks on Susan Rice have turned into a graduate course in the (non) science of paraphrase.

What did Susan Rice actually say when she went on those Sunday programs? At Salon, Alex Seitz-Wald has now offered this account.

We’d say this account is not strong:
SEITZ-WALD (11/28/12): Today, for the second straight day, President Obama’s UN ambassador, Susan Rice, whom he may nominate to be secretary of state, met with recalcitrant Republican senators on Capitol Hill to try to assuage them. And today, for the second straight day, the Republican senators immediately found reporters and informed the world that they were not satisfied. Today it was Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Bob Corker. Yesterday it was Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Lindsey Graham, along with the ringleader of the opposition, Sen. John McCain. The senators say that Rice misled the American people when she went on Sunday morning political talk shows after the September 11 Benghazi attack and, citing talking points provided to her by the intelligence community that later proved to be false, said the attack grew out of a protest against an anti-Islam film.
Did Ambassador Rice say the attack grew out of a protest against that film? We’d have to say this:

Not really.

When Rice appeared on those Sunday shows, she outlined a two-part chronology. Here’s what she said occurred:

“Initially,” Rice said, a spontaneous protest occurred at the consulate in reaction to the video.

“Then,” Rice said, a second event occurred. “Extremists” armed with “heavy weapons” arrived at the consulate and “hijacked” events. In Rice’s telling, this is when the deadly attack occurred.

That’s the way Rice told the story. In that account, does the deadly attack “grow out of the protest?”

We would have to say no, not really—unless you’re determined to tell this story the way Saint John McCain does. As told by McCain, Rice’s story is essentially silly. A group of protestors are holding a demonstration and all of a sudden, out of the blue, a crazy attack with heavy weapons inexplicably breaks out.

That’s the way McCain tells the story—but that isn’t the way Rice told it. In Rice’s telling, a group of extremists arrived on the scene and “hijacked” ongoing events. She explained why the demonstrators were there; they were protesting the film. But she never explained what motivated the killers—the extremists who arrived on the scene with those heavy weapons.

McCain has told this tale a certain way to make Rice’s story sound silly. Today, an increasingly hapless liberal rag told the story exactly the way Saint McCain wants them to tell it.

And yes, it does make a difference. That's why McCain tells it that way!

Can someone take the children aside and help them straighten their heads? In Rice’s telling, “extremists” armed with “heavy weapons” arrived on the scene and “hijacked” ongoing events. She didn’t say why these extremists did that. She didn’t say who they were or who they weren’t. But they didn’t seem to be the same people who were staging the demonstration.

(When she was asked by Bob Schieffer, she said these extremists might have been “al Qaeda itself.”)

Note to Alex Seitz-Wald: Just because Andrea Mitchell tells it that way, that doesn’t mean you have to.

Further note to our hapless children:

You don’t have to tell this the way McCain does. You can read the transcripts for yourselves and explain What Rice Actually Said.

Yes, we know—that would be hard work! But it actually does make a difference:

McCain is telling the story that way because it makes Susan Rice look dumb. How the freak do you think you look when you ape the pathetic Saint Johnny?


  1. Quaker in a BasementNovember 28, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    And unless I missed an important news story, we still don't have reliable information on the actual motives of the attackers.

    Were they sending a message on the anniversary of 9/11? Perhaps. Were they reacting to the "Innocence of Muslims"? Could be. Did they have other motives we haven't even guessed? It's possible.

  2. It's absolutely frustrating to watch and read the coverage of this completely manufactured controversy. Nobody, except Bob, bothers to go back to read what she actually said. The argument begins with everyone accepting the republican dishonest summary accounts of what she said.

    I just watched Chris Matthews interviewing Rep Susan Collins. She stated that what bothered her the most was the "absolute certainty" with which Rice maintained that the attack was in reaction to the video. Natually, the totally useless and lazy jackass windbag Matthews just stared blinking and mute when she said this. If he had bothered to spend even a small amount of time reading Rioe's actual words he might have been able to challenge Collins' characterization.

    1. That's assuming he had any desire to challenge her story. The pack mentality surrounding the mandatory corporate media "narrative" seems to be set in stone.

  3. I am hereby resolved. Next semester I am assigning paraphrases (of poems, passages, and of critical readings), and we'll examine one another's paraphrases together in class. This is a most basic skill that, Bob S has persuaded me, is not properly cultivated in education today.

    1. But you have to get Bob to teach the course--he's the only one who has mastered the essence of paraphrase.

      Here TDH objects to the phrase "the attack grew out of a protest against an anti-Islam film" when Bob prefers to say the protest was "hijacked." Or extremists joined in and it spun into something more violent. But that's pretty close to "the attack grew out of a protest"... only TDH can see the difference.

      Since Rice now admits the protest didn't happen, McCain's lampooning of her original narrative is, sadly, accurate and deserved, no?

    2. If you can't see the difference, you need a vocabulary refresher. Whether she was saying that extremists "hijacked" the demonstrations believed to have occurred or expressly acknmowleging that al Qaeda could have directed the attack, Rice distinguished clearly between the attackers and the supposed protesters.

      No, it's not accurate and deserved. There was nothing to lampoon. What is it about numerous repetitions that it was only preliminary information which by its nature was likely to be changed don't McCain and you get?

    3. Speaking of paraphrase.... Nobody said it was easy, and inevitably it will always be inadequate to one degree or another. But, here's the thing: it must always start from some essential spirit of generosity, by which I do not mean an inclination to agree, but with a willingness to listen even when you expect you will disagree or suspect a person's motives. Without this fundamental generosity, all civic (cf. civil) discourse becomes pointless.

      You cannot evaluate what you haven't even heard, when you haven't heard because you haven't even tried to listen since you have another agenda altogether anyway.

  4. Rice narrative on September 16:

    "our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy– –sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that– in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent."


    The spontaneous protest (which did not exist) in Benghazi
    was a response (since the spontaneous protest did not exist, it was obviously not a response) to the Cairo protest which was sparked by a hateful video (according to us, how's our track record so far?).

    1. Quaker in a BasementNovember 28, 2012 at 7:42 PM

      The part you rephrase, anon, has doodly shoot to do with the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens.

      At the time Ms. Rice made the quoted statement, nearly everyone on the planet believed there had been some form of protest outside the Benghazi consulate.

      But soon after that, an entirely different group of people showed up--people with big, ugly weapons. Ms. Rice did not say who they were--other than to say they were "extremists"--or what their motives might have been.

      Keep pretending otherwise as long as you like. The record doesn't back you up.

    2. But Susan Rice had access to much better information than most people on the planet. She already had access to FBI interviews with survivors evacuated from the CIA annex. They had video from drones. Presumably she could have gotten info from CIA head Petraeus ... She would have known why Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi and how the security of the consulate was breached...

      Was Rice trying to clarify with her talk show presentations or was she happy to leave the fog of war nice and thick? TDH never, never describes the motivations Rice would have had to skew her version of events. Funny, because TDH is quite bold in ascribing motives to journalists that don't paraphrase to TDH standards.

    3. Jeez, what freakin' idiots you are. You want your main foreign affairs officers to violate their legal obligation not to reveal confidential information? She's supposed to report Petraeus's hunch even though the agency specifically does not want her to do this? I have never seen anything as preternaturally stupid as this. McCain is being a outright jerk, and so are you, and he knows it perfectly well as so do you. The problem with admitting that is that you and Senator McCain do not give a shit what the truth is.

    4. Sorry urban legend, but it appears you've embraced a straw man argument TDH trooped out a few days ago.

      The defenders of Rice claim she didn't know any better than the talking points she was given. But that's not true. I'm not claiming that she had to reveal any confidential information--only that she had that info and she and her apologists can not plead that she was uninformed.

      So where did the incorrect, but politically convenient for Rice and Obama, info about demonstrations in Benghazi come from? Is there a review underway to see how the CIA, FBI, and State Dept could have gotten it so wrong for long? Rice only acknowledged that there had been no protests in Benghazi yesterday.

    5. Quaker & urban:

      Why do you feed the trolls? It's like debating journalism ethics with Sean Hannity.

  5. It isn't just Salon and the other domestic reporters, the Guardian had a story yesterday that had Rice saying the attack was a spontaneous demonstration. What she said on each of those shows has been deep-sixed.
    This is distraction and as Charlie Pierce says today, Rice may have other issues (her stock portfolio) that could make one question her biases if she were to become Sec of State.

  6. Senator John McCain is a doddering old fool, who sold his soul to the devil the day he hugged candidate George W. Bush after Bush's campaign smeared McCain's name in the South Carolina primary in which it was intimated that Mccain was a coward in Vietnam, because he survived his imprisonment and that he was the father of a black child, (without mentioning that the child was adopted.) Candidate Bush told McCain that the words used against McCain in South Carolina was just politics. Apparently, McCain forgave Bush with that explanation. McCain's hug was such an obsequious act, it, literally, turned my stomach.

    Whenever the phrase, "nothing personal, it's just business/politics" is used it is said by the perpetrator, not the victim.

  7. Ambassasor Rice did nothing wrong. She reported the events with the information that was available at the time. Immediately following the attack no one knew everything that transpired in the minutes that followed. Amb. Rice also did nothing stupid. In fact, the only truly stupid actions going on are the media giving credence to what everyone should know is nothing more than BS intended to discredit the Obama administration. The republicans would turn spitting on the sidewalk into an a felony equal to serial murder and torture if they can gain some political points.

    The hearings appear to be exactly as they are, a group of old fools trying to make it appear that the Obama administration masterminded a misleading statement, because it would... who knows. The mendacious republicans will think up something and the media will go along with whatever it is.

  8. Let's be fair, now.

    "the Obama administration masterminded a misleading statement, because it would... who knows"

    Now, it's very tempting to do this, but let's not make the bullshit arguments worse than they really are!

    It's not "who knows."

    The liars do have an explanation for motive: Romney was going to win the election! Anyone paying attention to the unskewed polling knew that!

    Team Obama therefore had to make a strong "there is now no more terrorism" play as a hail Mary to grab the election from Romney.

    That -- not "who knows" -- is the unvarnished according-to-GOP truth about why this all happened.

    Because as anyone can see, saying, as Rice did, that a protest was hijacked by heavily armed extremists who may have been allied with Al-Qaeda is functionally equivalent to bragging "we killed all the terrorists, there aren't any more, thanks to us!!"

    What? That makes the liars seem *even* *more* idiotic?

    Yes, I suppose it does.

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