Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hume, FDR, blahblahblah

The background: Brit Hume made very unethical use of ellipses to make it sound like FDR's plan was just like Bush's. The best thing I've read yet comes from LizardBreath on the comment section on Jane Galt's site:

The quote, as Hume reported it, states that FDR planned to phase out government-funded Social Security. This is not just false, it's surprising. I might say, very very surprising. We've been talking about Social Security for years in this country, and I've never before heard anyone cite FDR to say that it was originally intended to be a temporary program.

If you misquote Reagan to say "Socialism is a better, more humane way to run a society than capitalism", "Whoops, I misunderstood" is not a believable excuse, because Reagan's position on socialism is well known. Likewise here: finding a quote that on a careless misreading seems to say that FDR supported something that is the reverse of what you have always known him to have supported does not excuse a selective quotation to support the misreading. It is simply unbelievable that Hume saw a quote as surprising as the truncated version and didn't do the double-take and check to see what FDR had really said.

He lied.