Saturday, September 13, 2008

The New York Times: All the Euphemisms That Are Fit to Print?

McCain Barbs Stirring Outcry as Distortions reads the headline over a front-page article that details the various and many lies set forth by John McCain, his campaign, and his running mate.

Forgive me--it's early and I probably need to ingest another vat of espresso--but I'm assuming that NYT writers Michael Cooper and Jim Rutenberg speak the same language, though perhaps not quite the same dialect, as I. You know, the one in which they can tell another speaker or reader of said language that, say, the sky is blue and the grass is green, and he or she will immediately understand which bit of nature is which pretty color.

So, Paul Krugman's excellent editorial aside, why do the New York Times writers say barbs and distortions when they mean LIES? Anyone?

Way to work that dog-eared copy of Roget's, gentlemen (emphasis mine):

Harsh advertisements and negative attacks are a staple of presidential campaigns, but Senator John McCain has drawn an avalanche of criticism this week from Democrats, independent groups and even some Republicans for regularly stretching the truth in attacking Senator Barack Obama’s record and positions.

Mr. Obama has also been accused of distortions, but this week Mr. McCain has found himself under particularly heavy fire for a pair of headline-grabbing attacks. First the McCain campaign twisted Mr. Obama’s words to suggest that he had compared Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, to a pig after Mr. Obama said, in questioning Mr. McCain’s claim to be the change agent in the race, “You can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig.” (Mr. McCain once used the same expression to describe Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health plan.)

Then he falsely claimed that Mr. Obama supported “comprehensive sex education” for kindergartners (he supported teaching them to be alert for inappropriate advances from adults).

Those attacks followed weeks in which Mr. McCain repeatedly, and incorrectly, asserted that Mr. Obama would raise taxes on the middle class, even though analysts say he would cut taxes on the middle class more than Mr. McCain would, and misrepresented Mr. Obama’s positions on energy and health care.

And on it goes. The word "lies" doesn't actually appear until you're near the bottom of the article's first page, and even then, it was quoting someone else--in this case, Joy Behar, host of The View, when she addressed Senator McCain directly and he replied with yet another lie followed by a deflection:
“We know that those two ads are untrue,” Ms. Behar said. “They are lies. And yet you, at the end of it, say, ‘I approve these messages.’ Do you really approve them?”

“Actually they are not lies,” Mr. McCain said crisply, “and have you seen some of the ads that are running against me?”

Well, of course they're not lies, Joy, you silly goose: they're barbs or attacks or distortions, or--if you're really feeling ballsy--misrepresentations, just like the nice newspaper folk say. Surely you didn't expect McCain to call a lie a lie? And indeed, why should he, when hardly a soul in the mainstream press dares to utter or type the word.

Via TRex, an obvious choice for the new McCain campaign song* presents itself:

*The copyright of which, as with various McCain-appropriated songs before it, clearly calls out for Republican infringement. Bush Doctrine, etc.

Also at Cogitamus.

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