Defending President Bush—Or, Rather, Defending Honest Journalism
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Jacob Weisberg has a Bushism of the Day column in Slate, which deals with the President's supposed verbal slips. (Weisberg would not agree with that the President's entire immigration policy is wrong—see his vicious review of Alien Nation)

The problem, as Eugene Volokh has frequently noted, is that Weisberg commits two major sins in trying to find enough Bushisms to fill a daily column, which has been made into a book.

  1. He leaves out the context.
  2. He doesn't link to the original, in spite of the fact that Slate is an online only magazine, and the only way he could get much of his material is by reading it off the internet.
"Finally, the desk, where we'll have our picture taken in front of—is nine other presidents used it. This was given to us by Queen Victoria in the 1870s, I think it was. President Roosevelt put the door in so people would not know he was in a wheelchair. John Kennedy put his head out the door."—Showing German newspaper reporter Kai Diekmann the Oval Office, Washington, D.C., May 5, 2006 [Bushism of the Day. By Jacob Weisberg]

Bush is talking about a door in the front of the desk, and you'd have no way of knowing that from Weisberg's excerpt.

"John Kennedy put his head out the door " may sound strange, but the German journalist interviewing Bush immediately knew what he was talking about, and immediately said "Yes, the very famous picture —"[Interview of the President by Kai Diekmann of BILD The Oval Office May 5, 2006 ]

This is the picture he was talking about. John F. Kennedy Jr.  in the Oval Office

And of course, all the facts that he mentions concerning the desk given by Queen Victoria, (made from the timbers of H.M.S Resolute) are correct, except that it was 1880 that the desk arrived in Washington. Why shouldn't he be right about that? It's not rocket science. It's not immigration policy, either.

What's the point? The point is that this is what we at are trying not to do. When we quote something, we link to it, or tell you where you can look it up.

Weisberg [send him mail] isn't like that, apparently. Peter Brimelow 's theory, based on a couple of experiences with Weisberg's journalism is that

Weisberg is one of those people whose verbal slickness exceeds his intellectual powers. Faced with an argument that disturbs him emotionally, he cannot confine himself to the truth, let alone logic.

You could look it up.

UPDATE: Volokh has a post, and a comment thread on this item. Some of the comments have a weird, not getting it feeling, based presumably on their not clicking on links to the picture, or seeking the original transcript.

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