PI to Nethercutt: Bite Me….

Poor George Nethercutt. Looks like he’s got that context problem that seems to crop up whenever not very smart people try to speak off the cuff.

It started with this:

Rep. George Nethercutt said yesterday that Iraq’s reconstruction is going better than is portrayed by the news media, citing his recent four-day trip to the country.

“The story of what we’ve done in the postwar period is remarkable,” Nethercutt, R-Wash., told an audience of 65 at a noon meeting at the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs.

“It is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day.”

He added that he did not want any more soldiers to be killed.

But, you see, that little part about “more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day” is hurting his faltering Senatorial campaign:

U.S. Senate candidate George Nethercutt has bought newspaper advertisements to lambaste the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for a news story he called “the equivalent of a negative political commercial against me.”

In ads appearing today in the P-I and The Seattle Times, the Republican congressman from Spokane accused the P-I of publishing a story that “deliberately distorted” remarks he made about Iraq in a speech at the University of Washington Oct. 13.

The P-I reported Oct. 14 that Nethercutt said Iraq’s reconstruction was going better than news media portrayed it and that he added, “The story of what we’ve done in the postwar period is remarkable. … It is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day.”

The story, paraphrasing Nethercutt’s next words, said the congressman “added that he did not want any more soldiers to be killed.”

Nethercutt criticized the P-I for not quoting his remarks fully. He said his full remarks that the paper partly quoted and partly paraphrased were these: “So the story is better than we might be led to believe in the news. I’m just indicting the news people, but it’s, it’s a bigger and better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day which, which heaven forbid is awful.”

The PI responded today:

Consider Rep. George Nethercutt’s media condemnation over six words. He wants to be quoted in full, instead of a reporter’s paraphrase that said: “He added that he did not want any more soldiers to be killed.”

Let’s concede that Nethercutt believes the death of U.S. soldiers is, heaven forbid, awful.

But that does not change the notion that Nethercutt wants the news media to concentrate on painting Iraq in wonderful pastels. We’re making progress, don’t you know? (Please ignore today’s headlines.)

Sorry, George. You want it both ways. You want citizens to know that you care about their sons and daughters who are overseas in harm’s way — but the story you want told is not about the dangers and chaos troops face. No. You want the news to report the steady progress in Iraq as reported by the Bush administration.

Consider, again, the quote in question — fleshed out a bit more.

“The story of what we have done in the postwar period … is remarkable,” Nethercutt said, because the coalition has been rebuilding power plants, police stations, schools and other infrastructure, as well as taking early steps toward self-governance. “So the story is better than we might be led to believe in the news. I’m indicting the news people. It’s a bigger and better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day, which, which, heaven forbid, is awful.”

A bigger and better story? Thank you, George, for clarifying your callow, shallow position.

I guess an endorsement from the PI is out of the question, now, isn’t it?

(Added): Boy. They don’t like Nethercutt at all.

TBogg

TBogg

Yeah. Like I would tell you....