Man Without Qualities

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Another Flaming Atrioid Comes Screaming Across The Blogosphere

Every so often - well, not very often - I look at Atrios for his delusion de jour. It’s almost never necessary to go past the very first post to find a howler. Here's today's flaming Atrioid:

"The inspectors didn't find anything and I doubt that we will."

-Donald Rumsfeld, today.

People are saying I'm quoting out of context. I'm just quoting what I saw a few minutes ago on Wolf Blitzer's show. I'll track down the transcript later and provide 'context' if there should be some.

But what actually transpired was this:

"I don't think we'll discover anything, myself," Rumsfeld said at a town hall-style meeting with Pentagon employees. "I think what will happen is we'll discover people who will tell us where to go find it. It is not like a treasure hunt where you just run around looking everywhere, hoping you find something."

If "people" are saying that Atrios is "quoting out of context," then those must be "people" who don't recognize "lying by omission," which is what Atrios is doing here - as much as someone who repeats what you said to your boss, but leaves out all the "nos" and "nots" and then says he'll have to "check the transcript" to see if any "context" is required.

UPDATE: O, my - Atrios apparently did "check the transcript" and decided that some context was required after all. He even discovered the second Rumsfeld sentence - the one that appears in bold type above that clearly says that he expects knowledgable Iraqis to show us where the hidden weapons of mass destruction are. But Atrios is never one to let a mere fact that says that some aspect of the world is exactly the opposite of what he wants stand in his way! So Atrios comments on his new-found "context": Frankly, I'm not sure this is much better.

Yes, indeed. One statement of the Secretary of Defense presented by Atrios as indicating that Mr. Rumsfeld does not expect WMD will be found and another statement that he does expect WMD will be found with the help of Iraqis.

Those two statements are pretty much the same to Atrios! One's not much better than the other!

And the fun never ends at Eschaton! A new Atrios post discloses: I have no doubt that if the US troops manage to locate a bleach bottle sitting next to an ammonia bottle, the media will declare it an example of Saddam's WMD. How zany the media have been, reporting chemicals that turn out to be pesticides as suspected nerve gas - that sort of thing. Of course, the chemical structure of many pesticides differs from that of nerve gas just slightly. In fact, one can think of many pesticides as "nerve gas for insects." And many pesticide factories can easily be converted to nerve gas production. But Atrios doesn't think its "news" that chemicals that turn out to be pesticides are suspected by the American military of possibly being nerve gas and requiring tests. Apparently he thinks the media should just ignore such trifles. And he apparently doesn't think that follow-up stories explaining what the tests reveal is enough - because there have been plenty of those stories, but Atrios still vents on the zany media approach to this kind of "story."

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