Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"This misreporting fed into the prevailing anti-Obama theme that he cannot speak without a teleprompter."

THoughts on Obama's press conference are forthcoming, but I had to weigh in on this. You know that story about Obama's supposed gaffe at the St. Patrick's Day event? It's bogus. Pure bullshit even:

In the recording, Cowen begins speaking by ad libbing, saying: "Good evening everybody and welcome to St Patrick's Day at the White House. And I think it's particularly fitting that we gather tonight at the house that was, after all, designed and built by an Irish architect."
Then he goes into Obama's speech, and realises his boob 18 words into it: "We have had a wonderful day that began by meeting with a strong friend of the United States...that's your speech."

After Cowen got his act together - amid uproarious laughter - and completed his speech, Obama returned to the microphone for his little joke, as per the pool report.
Somehow, somewhere this all got mixed up, inadvertently or otherwise. The Associated Press reported it
this way. Accurate enough - though very sparse and including the slightly ambiguous line: "In doing so, President Obama thanked President Obama for inviting everyone over."
This was transformed into Obama making a mistake, as in
this account, in the Times, written in London by an online reporter for their website.

"On this occasion, as a laughing Mr Obama returned to the podium, the script was belatedly switched over to the Taoiseach's text - leaving Mr Obama inadvertently thanking himself for inviting everyone, to further laughter," went the report. "'First, I'd like to say thank you to President Obama!' the President said."

This misreporting fed into the prevailing anti-Obama theme that he cannot speak without a teleprompter.

The right-wing anti-Obama train rolls on nonetheless, unimpeded by facts, or context. It's all quite amazing really, the way Obama's right-wing enemies behave. You almost have to laugh at the stuff they come up with.

ADDED: It is worth pointing out that the White House screwed up with the teleprompter for Cowen's speech, not to mention allowing this to go unanswered for so long, although I suspect the only ones making that big of a deal about this are unpersuadable righties. As to the larger issue of the teleprompter use, I think it's flatly absurd to suggest that he cannot go without it, and he's given plenty of off-the-cuff interviews to prove that. Perhpas his reliance is simply a style he's settled in to, although there are certain potential drawbacks.

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