Sunday, May 19, 2013

Taking Statements Out of Context

Do you remember the brouhaha during the last election cycle, when people knowingly took out of context a Romney statement about the poor?  This is what people fixated on:
I’m not concerned about the very poor.

The entirety was much different:
“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”

“I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation.”
How easy would it be to take this statement, regarding the IRS scandal, out of context?
I can’t speak to the law here. The law is irrelevant.
Here's more context:
“I can’t speak to the law here. The law is irrelevant. The activity was outrageous and inexcusable, and it was stopped and it needs to be fixed so we ensure it never happens again,” Pfeiffer said.

Stephanopoulos asked Pfeiffer if he really thought the law is “irrelevant.”

“What I mean is, whether it’s legal or illegal is not important to the fact that the conduct doesn’t matter. The Department of Justice has said they’re looking into the legality of this. The president is not going to wait for that. We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again, regardless of how that turns out,” Pfeiffer said.
I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine why the press fixated on the former but not the latter.

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