View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Crummy Reporting 

Hugh Hewitt spent the first part of his program today playing excerpts from Dick Cheney's substantive, intelligent, spirited defense of the War on Terror, and the administration's foreign policy. It's a good thing, too, because you'd never get it from Karen Crummy's Denver Post story. As a candidate for the Vice-Presidency, you use forums like this as New Haven to the Reagan Institute's Broadway. As a candidate for the Best of the Web's "It's the Eponymy, Stupid" feature, Ms. Crummy is unsurpassed.

The first 20 paragraphs aren't about Cheney's speech, but about Kerry's "foreign leaders" comment. She states flatly that he never said it, then takes the next 18 paragraphs dcoumenting that he, in fact, may have said it. If you're going to make a flat statement of fact, make sure it's a fact. Her sole indication that he didn't say it is the Boston Globe now claiming that its audio tape actually said "more," not "foreign." But the tape isn't available, and probably couldn't be heard anyway over the beeping sound coming from the paper when it backs up that fast. Kerry never denied that he said it, in fact, every quote since then assumes it was accurate, yet she again insists, without any firsthand knowledge, that he "never said it."

She makes it appear that the most important thing is that the Vice President attacked Kerry for something he didn't say, when in fact, he attacked Senator Kerry for opinions he manifestly does hold.

She does manage one clever line:

"Whatever people he was referring to misses the point," Kerry campaign spokeswoman Laura Capps said. "The truth is, Bush lost a lot of credibility far and wide" with foreign leaders.

Which sounds a lot like saying he meant to say what he was misquoted as saying.

Nice, but it means that we have a substantive disagreement on foreign policy and the War on Terror that deserves better than a spat over a noisy tape recorder and a reporter's hearing aid. Instead of reporting the Vice President's speech, which actually addressed that disagreement, she spends time on an argument that she admits doesn't matter.

The first thing we actually learn about Dick Cheney comes in Paragraph 21, when the paranoid Vice President left Denver, "surrounded by Secret Service agents," no doubt going back to his secret, undisclosed location. The President, and at this point Sen. Kerry, are always surrounded by Secret Service agents. The rest of article then focuses on the Senate seat. And the last two sentences:

The vice president's remarks focused primarily on the threat of terrorism, especially from al-Qaeda.

"Such an enemy cannot be deterred, contained, appeased or negotiated with - it can only be destroyed," he said. "And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the business at hand."

Ms. Crummy spends 31 paragraphs of a report ostensibly devoted to a foreign policy address by the Vice President discussing his opponent and a state Senate race. When she finally gets around to writing about foreign policy, it's pap. She misses a chance to report substantive comments on the most important issue facing this generation of Americans, and instead, spends over two-thirds of her article adding exactly nothing to our understanding of that issue.

The Post ought to be ashamed. Trees are too precious to be wasted this way.

Cross-Posted at Oh, That Liberal Media.

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