Exclusive falsehood

Drudge has a breathless “exclusive” today on the transcript of Wesley Clark’s HASC testimony that Digby found three days ago and I commented on yesterday.

A reader wants to know what Drudge thinks is “exclusive.” I think the answer is pretty obvious: what’s exclusive is Drudge’s complete misinterpretation of what Clark said.

Drudge says that Clark “made the case for war.” That is the opposite of the truth.

Clark, in his testimony, made it clear that we ought to be ready to go to war, if Iraq failed to disarm and submit to inspections, but that war ought to be a last resort, and that in the absence of any imminent threat continued pressure short of an invasion was the better course.

I think it’s not time yet to use force against Iraq but it is certainly time to put that card on the table, to turn it face up and to wave it and the president is doing that and I think that the United States Congress has to indicate after due consideration and consulting our people and building our resolve that yes, this is a significant security problem for the United States of America and all options are on the table including the use of force as necessary to solve this problem because I think that’s what’s required to leverage any hope of solving this problem short of war.

Is that clear enough? Or is there some part of “I think it’s not time yet to use force against Iraq” or “solving this problem short of war” that Mr. Drudge needs to have explained to him more slowly?

In the course of arguing against going to war, or authorizing the President to go to war, right then, Clark brushed away a number of bad reasons against going to war before getting to the good ones. That’s called “intellectual honesty”: a virtue with which Drudge, like many of Clark’s critics, seems unfamiliar. Among grown-ups, saying “Argument X is a bad argument against Proposition Y” is not the same a saying “I think Proposition Y is true.”

Be sure to add Drudge to your bookmarks if you want exclusive misinformation delivered directly to your screen.

Update: Robert Tagorda, no Clark supporter, agrees. So does Tom Maguire, who says of Clark: “His full remarks are sensible and consistent with what I understand him to have been saying on Iraq.”

Kudos to both Tagorda and Maguire for crossing partisan lines to defend the truth, and to Glenn Reynolds for linking to Maguire. Intellectual honesty is a rare enough virtue in political discourse to be worth treasuring.

Second update: “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth has its boots laced.” Lou Dobbs repeats Drudge’s lie, according to this account at MWO. (I encourage readers to use the MWO click-through to send emails to Dobbs and his boss.)

Ed Gillespie, chair of the RNC, is also repeating the lie, according to this Knight-Ridder story. The reporters, Dana Hunt and Drew Brown, do their job properly, reporting the false accusation and simultaneously documenting its falsehood.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

One thought on “Exclusive falsehood”

  1. Who wants a grant? Me!! ME!!

    The Columbia Journalism Review has set up a new blog, CampaignDesk.org, to cover the press covering the 2004 campaign. Here's something from the the introductory post: In 2004, the Web makes it possible to analyze and criticize press coverage in…

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