The Clark Game Of Telephone

Let's say you'd traveled over the weekend, returning late Sunday night. Turning to political news, you may have heard early crowing from Republican quarters about something offensive Wes Clark had said about John McCain's military service.

Then early Monday, you might have been watched a show like CNN American Morning play a clip of Clark saying, unprompted: "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president."

Then around lunch on Monday, you might have watched Barack Obama's speech on patriotism (or flags, or whatever), where he said:

"For those like John McCain who have endured physical torment in service to our country - no further proof of such sacrifice is necessary. And let me also add that no one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides."

That afternoon, maybe you heard about the formation of John McCain's ironically-named "Truth Squad." You might have heard one of the Truth Squad-ers Truth Squad-ing:

"I find General Clark's comments to be unworthy, unseemly, for someone of his stature. And for a campaign that prides itself on the good judgment of its candidate, I think this reflects extremely bad judgment on the entire organization," said Lt. Commander Carl Smith, who served with McCain in the Navy.

The next day, Tuesday, perhaps you watched reports on the evening news about Clark going after McCain's "war record."

Then this morning (Wednesday!), you might have opened up the New York Times and read Maureen Dowd:

Wes Clark joined the growing ranks of troublesome Obama associates when he meowed that just "riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down" is not a qualification to be president. He made McCain sound like a drone aircraft.

This is not even about Obama. It's the old business of grunts resenting flyboys.

Of course, after almost three days of this garbage, you still might not know anything approaching the truth.

First, they ignore that Clark was repeating Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer's words in response to Schieffer's statement that, unlike McCain, Obama has not "ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down." Second, they ignore that shortly before that part of Clark's exchange with Schieffer, Clark praised McCain's service: "I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands of millions of others in the Armed Forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he has traveled all over the world." Clark continued: "But he hasn't held executive responsibility. That large squadron in Air -- in the Navy that he commanded, it wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, 'I don't know whether we're going to be able to get this point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle it publicly?' He hasn't made those calls, Bob."

Only four more months to go.

Update [2008-7-2 12:57:13 by Josh Orton]: TPM edited a great roundup of the media hyperventilation:

Tags: Barack Obama, John McCain, Wes Clark (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

i know this usually only happens in communist countries, but is there a way we can shut down our media? They are atrocious and need to be stopped.

by Dog Chains 2008-07-02 08:09AM | 0 recs
AMEN!!!

AMEN!!!

by Sean Robertson 2008-07-02 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

Don't shut us down, limit us to things we can do without making the right-wingers whine, like weather, sports and entertainment.

by spirowasright 2008-07-02 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

That would still leave them global warming, pro wrestling, and Hollywood to bitch about.

You should know by now that there's really no winning that argument.  The more reality is bent to the right-winger's desire, the more irrational their demands become.

by hello world 2008-07-02 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

What can be done about the media?  They're the real problem here and most of the country never sees anything but them because they're too goddamned lazy to look anywhere else.

by Sean Robertson 2008-07-02 08:16AM | 0 recs
m. Dowd

she's now starting to do to Obama what she did to Hillary Clinton and Al Gore

by sepulvedaj3 2008-07-02 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

My right-wing Dad has twisted it into a whole new reality: that Obama attacked McCain's war record and will pay for it in November. of course he also said Bush would change his stance on immigration and that the insurgency was in its last throes, so I think we're good.

by Todd Beeton 2008-07-02 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

When McCain's campaign first started pushing this lie, I'm sure that's exactly the result they were hoping for.

by Josh Orton 2008-07-02 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

Let me guess though, he was the same person who bought into the Kerry lines hook, line and sinker? Media spin : Clinton =Draft dodging hippy against the veteran Bob Dole. Bush was off doing other things but at least attempted military service (even if CBS made up a memo stating he wasn't a good guardsman) while Kerry was getting these possibly fake purple hearts and commendations that he himself may have written. So now this year, why are we suprised by this?

by Dog Chains 2008-07-02 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

Clark is right, he should not apologize. I think Obama's weakness is that he is too willing to please and compromise with the opposition. The Right Wing Propaganda Machine is going to attack, attack and attack whether Obama tries to please them or not. He needs to use his oratory gifts and start persuading, persuading and persuading.

by Zzyzzy 2008-07-02 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

Gotta love Pravda; I mean the U.S. MSM.  :(

by ChitownDenny 2008-07-02 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

Nobody seems to credit Clark's basic point: Command experience is different from field experience. It wasn't even really a criticism, just a fact of military life.

by anoregonreader 2008-07-02 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

The media take the time to talk about an actualy issue and dissect something outside the fog of a Democrat (their word) said this and a Republucan claimed he was saying that and it was wrong of him to say that, i didn't think they did that?

by Dog Chains 2008-07-02 09:17AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

I like how FOX invite guests on to shout over them. Real classy network.

by liberalj 2008-07-02 09:51AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

What utter surreal insanity.

This is like Bob Newhart sketch except it isn't funny becuase its real.

by alexmhogan 2008-07-02 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: The Clark Game Of Telephone

That video could be visual representation of the comment threads on any number of blogs, left and right.

It's truly tragic to see and hear the utter lack of ethics, integrity, and reason among those who pontificate on political matters. There is indeed no shame left.

by BobzCat 2008-07-02 01:16PM | 0 recs

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