Let’s file this one <$NoAd$>under ‘saving private nethercutt’ …
A couple weeks ago Congressman George Nethercutt (now running for Senate) stuck his foot in his mouth about up to his ankle when he said that the good news in the reconstruction of Iraq was “a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day.”
Here’s how the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, reported it …
Rep. George Nethercutt said yesterday that Iraq’s reconstruction is going better than is portrayed by the news media, citing his recent four-day trip to the country.
“The story of what we’ve done in the postwar period is remarkable,” Nethercutt, R-Wash., told an audience of 65 at a noon meeting at the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.
“It is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day.”
He added that he did not want any more soldiers to be killed.
(TPM had this comment at the time.)
Now, rather than saying he’d mischosen his words, Nethercutt’s campaign spinmeisters seem to have told him that the best approach was to go on the offensive. So Nethercutt first demanded an apology and then ran a bunch of ads accusing the paper of having “massacred” his words, engaging in “deliberate distortion” and “slander[ing]” him.
And what was the full quotation, according to Nethercutt?
So the story is better than we might be led to believe in the news. Iâm just indicting the news people, but itâs, itâs a bigger and better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day which, which heaven forbid is awful.
Frankly, it sounds to me like the Post-Intelligencer is mainly guilty of not being Nethercutt’s flack, of not bending over backwards to save Nethercutt from his own clumsy and over-zealous repetition of the White House party line (viz, that the press is hiding the good news.)
It’s awfully hard to get around his statement that the Iraqi schools reopening and other similar stuff is a “bigger and better and more important story than losing a couple soldiers every day” even if he did tag on a throwaway line about American fatalities being a terrible thing.
Today, Andrew Sullivan uses the whole imbroglio to attack Paul Krugman. Go figure …