Not everybody of course. This morning, for instance, Kyle Smith pins a big chunk of blame on Jon Stewart (How Jon Stewart turned lies into comedy and brainwashed a generation).
But somebody I hugely respect thought Fournier was a good peg on which to hang a new—and otherwise informative—analysis of the Bush Lied meme.
Laurence H. Silberman, Wall Street Journal: The Dangerous Lie That ‘Bush Lied’—
In recent weeks, I have heard former Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier on Fox News twice asserting, quite offhandedly, that President George W. Bush “lied us into war in Iraq.”
It might be useful to point out where the quotation marks are placed.
The reason this is useful is because I have never known Ron Fournier to say that Bush himself lied about Iraq.
When Wall Street Journal Deputy Editorial Page Editor Bret Stephens tweeted the link to Silberman’s column, I challenged him on this point:
Here’s the tweet I linked to:
This is where things get tricky. Fournier believes the Bush administration misled the American people (lied, a judgement I don’t agree with).
But as far as I know, he never blamed Bush himself for misleading us into war.
I once made this mistake myself (here).
At least I didn’t dowdlerize him. I simply misremembered.
Look at the lede:
…President George W. Bush “lied us into war in Iraq.”
Part of it quoted, part of it a heavily interpreted paraphrase.
Good question. Nowhere in Silberman’s piece is there a direct quote from Fournier claiming that Bush lied us into war.
I strongly suspect that’s because there isn’t a tape or transcript of Fournier anywhere making that assertion.
Meanwhile we’re out here trying to prove a negative.
Here’s my take from the other night, for whatever it’s worth:
Here’s another person’s:
I know several people right now are trying to run down videos and/or transcripts of Fournier specifically saying Bush (as opposed to his administration) lied. I’ll update if they find anything.
By the way…
If you’re wondering why a conservative like me would come to the defense of Fournier:
It is one thing to disagree with someone. It’s another to mischaracterize their statements via paraphrase.
That’s what happened to Fournier and I can’t just shrug my shoulders and walk away from it.
Besides, he’s not the first person I disagree with I’ve come to the aid of: