Man Without Qualities

Friday, October 03, 2003

Davis Descending LIX: Just Another Transcript With Different Wording

The New York Times provides in a bit of context but covers up with some nasty doublespeak in its article on the Arnold-as-Nazi claims made by ABC News.

First, some context about those ABC News smearquotes. The Times reports:

In a part of the interview not used in the film, Mr. Schwarzenegger was asked to name his heroes: "who do you admire most."

"It depends for what," Mr. Schwarzenegger said, according to the transcript in the book proposal. "I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education up to power. And I admire him for being such a good public speaker."

But early this morning, Mr. Butler called back, saying he had driven back to his New Hampshire home and found another transcript of the interview, with different wording: "I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for his way of getting to the people and so on. But I didn't admire him for what he did with it. It's very hard to say who I admire, who are my heroes."

Mr. Butler [said] that his transcribers had had difficulty rendering Mr.Schwarzenegger's remarks because of his accent and said the only way to resolve the discrepancy was to listen to the tapes, which are in Mr. Schwarznegger's possession.

Another transcript with different wording? What kind of reliability is that? Is this a joke? And how can the omission of entire sentences be explained by difficulties with an accent?

Why are ABC News and the New York Times publishing a transcript expressly said by its maker to be wrong and requiring tapes to construe - tapes that neither ABC nor the Times can obtain?

Then there is this amazing doublespeak from the Times:

A copy of the proposal for the book, which would have been entitled "The Master Plan," was provided to The New York Times on Tuesday by someone who has no obvious affiliation with any of the California campaigns. The person provided the copy on the condition that his identity be kept secret and would not explain the motivation for releasing it. But the person was aware that the disclosure, coming within days of the California recall election, could damage Mr.Schwarzenegger's campaign.

By someone who has no obvious affiliation with any of the California campaigns? That seems to include partisan Democratic activists from, say, New York, who haven't signed up with a California campaign. The Times doesn't even say what an obvious affiliation with any of the California campaigns would be or that the reporters asked any questions about the political affiliations of the proposal provider. Do Messrs. Nagourney and Kirkpatrick mean that the person providing the proposal was not wearing a campaign lapel pin? Aren't Times readers entitled to know if that person was a political activist - regardless of whether he or she had an obvious affiliation with any of the California campaigns?

The article also vaguely describes Mr. Schwarzenegger goose stepping, clicking heels and the like - which he says he does not recall doing. Whether he did or not, it's just weird that the Times is now reduced to running such a thing. That's the kind of thing one might have found only in the Enquirer just a few years ago.

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