Saturday, September 22, 2007

God Bless 'Em, Marge, They're Not That Bright

al-Reuters and a pack of 'staff writers' at News Ltd expose a 'bizarre' George Bush gaffe, claiming he suddenly said at a White House press conference that Nelson Mandela was dead.

What they say he said:

"I heard somebody say, 'Where's Mandela?'," he said. "Well, Mandela's dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas."
What he actually said:

Part of the reason why there is not this instant democracy in Iraq is because people are still recovering from Saddam Hussein’s brutal rule. I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, where’s Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas. He was a brutal tyrant that divided people up and split families, and people are recovering from this.
So Bush was saying there are no inspirational leaders of the type of Nelson Mandela rising up to lead the Iraqi people because Saddam killed all the 'Mandelas'.

And the media - and quite a few subtlety-challenged Lefties - are thinking he either literally meant 'Nelson Mandela's dead' or they're deliberately going: 'Look, look... isn't George Bush stoopid!!'

Either way, it looks bad for the media - they're either stupid or mean or both. Probably the latter.

And News Ltd's sub-editors further expose their own lack of mental faculty and the juvenile manner with which they routinely conduct business with this sub-head:

Saddam killed all the Mandelas, says Bush
Um, what? asks pretty much everyone else
Perhaps it should read:

Saddam killed all the Mandelas, says Bush
I glued my head to my shoulder, says journalist
Apologies to Ralph Wiggum.

-- Nick

(via Tim Blair)

The London Daily Mail's David Gardner realises he's been caught and tries to save face by criticising Bush's analogy. However the only thing 'tortuous' about the report is Gardner's squirming.

The Nine Network's Robert Penfold ended the day on the 6pm News spinning the story for all he was worth with a report the awkward editing of which recalled perfectly Judge And Jury, an episode Frontline, the ABC's savage 1990s satire on TV current affairs shows.

In that episode, fictional journalist Brooke Vandenberg realises a priest accused of rape sounds too convincing when he protests his innocence during an interview and she has the video editor insert a pause and cutaway shot that suggests hesitation and a guilty conscience. (The priest's reputation is ruined though it transpires he is innocent and his accuser is mentally unbalanced.)

On National Nine News, real journalist Robert Penfold's report similarly appears to distort the timeline at the White House conference by interrupting Bush's comment after 'I heard somebody say, where’s Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead...' to insert a cutaway shot of two men in the audience looking incredulous, accompanied by Penfold's voiceover suggesting 'even the President's aides couldn't believe their ears'.

Penfold then continued (and I paraphrase) that Bush was later forced to backtrack to clarify himself and the video dropped back in on Bush speaking with the 'Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas' portion of what, in reality, was two short sentences spoken one immediately after the other but which had been dismantled and reconstructed to look like the 'gaffe' the media wanted it to be and an awkward attempt by Bush to explain himself.

It would be interesting to see the raw footage containing Penfold's 'incredulous aides' cutaway. Odds are the men's reaction is not even to that portion of the conference.

Postscript: Interesting to see that episodes of Frontline are studied for the NSW HSC.

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