Friday, May 26, 2006

New White House policy advisor caught changing his own quotes

Chalk one more up to the lying revisionists.  This gives new meaning to "taking back what you said" - Karl Zinsmeister, the new appointee by Bush to be the next domestic policy chief was caught recently changing quotes that he made in a 2004 article.  And of course, while the party line is that they were "correcting inaccuracies", that doesn't explain the fact that when the article was first published, Zinsmeister wrote a glowing email to the author for the good work on the article, or that the interview for the article was taped.

According to the enigmatic NY Sun (I say this because they vacillate between solid articles and reporting and sensational NY Post-style articles),

A magazine editor named to a top White House policy post, Karl Zinsmeister, altered his own quotes and other text in a published newspaper profile of him posted on the Web site of the magazine he has edited for more than a decade, the American Enterprise.

How ridiculous is this?  Even minor things have to be lied about, altered, changed after the fact and obfuscated.  Of course, his qualifications for this position include a great article from June 2005 entitled The War Is Over, and We Won.  Good thing he isn't in charge of foreign policy.

Before we get into Zinsmeister's latest little mess, let's take a stroll down memory lane and see what other gems he has said:

From 1996:

"But the point of the conservative concern over black underclass life is that the pathologies run so much deeper there...we desperately need to find out what it is in contemporary black culture that makes for these exceptional breakdowns -- and then work like crazy to counteract those factors."

"The brutal reality is that whether in the selection of juries or the choice of neighborhoods to live (or get lost) in, colorblindness has become a real risk today...The penalty for the person who, ignoring race, turns down the wrong street today can literally be death.

Lovely xenophobia we have going here.  He should do perfectly fine the next time a hurricane hits the Gulf Coast and impacts one of "those neighborhoods"....

And this one from 2004 (the same article that he changed his own quotes from 2 years later):

"I learned in Washington that there is an 'overclass' in this country stocked with cheating, shifty human beings that's just as morally repugnant as our 'underclass.' The mom who charters a bus for her kids to go to a rave is as bad as the lady with the crackpipe. We have sickness at the top and bottom of our society but we have a big middle that is full of common sense and decency."

This quote was changed from the original quote, which was:

"People in Washington are morally repugnant, cheating, shifty human beings,"

Not even close, in terms of what was said.  Besides the fact that I don't know how a quote could be so misinterpreted but not even addressed until nearly 2 years later, I am just waiting (and hoping) for something to come up about his personal life that will expose this sanctimonious twit for what he really is.

Other changes include the following:

Original wording

"[Bush] said, 'I'm gonna do something for history.' To say nothing of whether it was executed well or not, but it's brave and admirable. It got depressing to have to be [in the Middle East] every couple years like cicadas."

Changed wording

The version posted by the American Enterprise omits the suggestion that the war was poorly run, drops the insect metaphor, and substitutes nobler language. "[Bush] said, 'I'm gonna do something for history.' It's a brave and admirable attempt to improve the world," the second version said.

Apparently, he either didn't like what he said originally, or he felt that it wouldn't be helpful for his new position, but in either event, he was caught changing his own quotes without even contacting the author of the article.

Needless to say, Justin Park (the author) and his editor weren't too pleased with this:

"These were corrections that were made due to misattributions or misunderstandings by the reporter that were cleaned up when they were reposted," a White House spokeswoman, Jeanie Mamo, said.

Mr. Park and his editor, Molly English, rejected that explanation. "If there's an inaccuracy, he should have called me or he should have called Justin," Ms. English said. She said it was unethical for Mr. Zinsmeister to post an altered version of the story without permission. "It's reprehensible, frankly," Ms. English said. "Once this is published, it's not his property. From that point in time, he can't just pick and choose."

The version of the story posted by the American Enterprise runs under Mr. Park's byline and states that it was published in the Syracuse New Times.

And he is still attributing the changed article to the old byline and the author.  Sounds real ethical to me.  Just the kind of person that I know I wouldn't want in charge of, well, anything....

Of course, Park and the newspaper have no reason to think that, based on Zinsmeister's actions at the time, that there was anything at all of an issue here:

Mr. Park also said he was taken aback by the White House claim of inaccuracies, since Mr. Zinsmeister sent an effusive e-mail soon after the article appeared. "I just read your story on line, and wanted to thank you for an extremely fair and thoughtful treatment," Mr. Zinsmeister wrote in an August 18, 2004, message provided to the Sun by Mr. Park.

Mr. Zinsmeister, an avowed conservative and staunch proponent of the war in Iraq, also expressed surprise at Mr. Park's approach, since the New Times is a left-leaning publication. "I really appreciate your professionalism and kindness. You wrote it straight up, which is the best and hardest kind of journalism.
Let me know when I can next help out your journalism," the editor wrote.

"I'm sure he would have said something if he felt misquoted at the time," Mr. Park said yesterday.

Unbelievable.  These people have to lie about everything, even the small stuff.  Makes the blue dress look even more silly.

1 comment:

Cyberotter said...

Hey Clamm are you going to join phillybits and I for the Torture Awareness Month blogroll?