Obama doesn’t know history, PBS doesn’t know ethics

In his another-stimulus-will-fix-everything-this-time-I-swear speech on Thursday, President Obama said that Abraham Lincoln founded the Republican party. (This was part of a cheap shot at Republicans.)  Not so: Lincoln was the first Republican elected president, but he wasn’t even the first Republican presidential candidate, much less the party’s founder.

It’s easy to see how someone could make such an error, as Lincoln was the first Republican of any importance. But we must be frank; a similar error by a Republican would nevertheless be trumpeted as proof that he or she is a lightweight. We need not speculate: The exact same error by Mike Huckabee in 2008 was taken as proof that Huckabee was “loose with the facts”. (Via Just One Minute.)

ASIDE: Note that Time didn’t even give Huckabee the courtesy of assuming he made an honest mistake. The author of that piece? Jay Carney, now chief media flack for President Obama. I’m looking forward to seeing Carney try to square that circle.

Now PBS has gotten themselves in trouble for leaving Obama’s error out of their transcript. It turns out that they didn’t airbrush it out (not that it’s crazy to think they might have, as such things have happened). Rather, they simply posted the White House’s prepared version (which did not have the ad-libbed error) and called it a transcript. Later they put up a real transcript.

That’s dishonest. A transcript is text taken down (transcribed, one might say!) from language spoken aloud. A prepared text is not a transcript. PBS was trying to pretend to publish a rush transcript without doing the hard work of preparing a rush transcript.

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