Saturday, September 25, 2004

don't believe everything you read on AP

Michelle Malkin is joining the leftist fringe in denouncing a mailing from the Republican National Committee. Like the rest, she seems to be denouncing it sight-unseen based on a very ambiguous report on the AP. If so, she ought to know better.

The AP isn't above stretching the truth or leaving people with the wrong impression if they think it will help Democrats. And I strongly suspect that's what happened here. Consider the opening
Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November.

The literature shows a Bible with the word "BANNED" across it and a photo of a man, on his knees, placing a ring on the hand of another man with the word "ALLOWED." The mailing tells West Virginians to "vote Republican to protect our families" and defeat the "liberal agenda."
Notice that they aren't quoting the letter, they are telling us what it said in their own words. Why is that, do you suppose? And why follow that non-quote with a description of the pictures? After all, the pictures say a lot less than the letter did. If it actually said that.

Or could it be that the letter doesn't say those things at all? Could it be that the article describes the pictures because they just gave us their "interpretation" of what the pictures said? It almost seems implicit in the ordering of the paragraphs that this is what the AP did; they helpfully "interpreted" the images and then described them, leaving the impression that they were relating the text of the message.

If so, then the article is misleading. The pictures only imply that those two things are on the liberal agenda, not that either of them is going to happen in the next four years. And in fact, it is unarguable that gay marriage is on the liberal agenda.

As to Bible banning, I think that picture is reasonable given that the liberals have already managed to ban the Bible from many areas of civic life, that liberal teachers have harassed children for just bringing their own Bible to school, that liberals just recently banned the Ten Commandments from courthouse premises, that there clearly are some liberals who have an ongoing agenda to remove all mention of anything related to Christianity from public view, and that the liberals that don't have this as an agenda mostly keep silent about it.

So please, Michelle, wait until you see the letter before you condemn it.

UPDATE:
Atrios now has a scan of the letter on his site. My conjectures seem to have been entirely correct. The actual text accuses liberals of wanting to force their agenda on Arkansas (true) and it says they have the following agenda: removing "God" from the pledge, allowing teens to get an abortion without parental consent, defending partial-birth abortion, allowing gay marriage. All true. The picture of the banned Bible was symbolic of the first item. I don't see how any reasonable person could object to this.

UPDATE:
Harvey at Bad Example demonstrates his intelligence and good sense by agreeing with me.

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