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Saturday, December 2, 2006
Graham Praises Will's Column, Fails to Note It's Misleading
Topic: NewsBusters

A Dec. 1 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham praised George Will for writing a "brutal column" about Virginia Sen.-elect Jim Webb and "scouring him for being rude to President Bush at a reception" (though was critical of him for waiting until after the election to do so and bashing Will for "scouring Sen. George Allen ... seven days before the election"). But Graham failed to note the misleading nature of Will's column on Webb.

As Media Matters and Greg Sargent point out, in describing an exchange between Webb and President Bush, Will omitted a phrase uttered by Bush that would help to explain to readers why Webb was somewhat testy with the president. Will wrote:

Wednesday's Post reported that at a White House reception for newly elected members of Congress, Webb "tried to avoid President Bush," refusing to pass through the reception line or have his picture taken with the president. When Bush asked Webb, whose son is a Marine in Iraq, "How's your boy?" Webb replied, "I'd like to get them [sic] out of Iraq." When the president again asked "How's your boy?" Webb replied, "That's between me and my boy."

Sargent noted:

Will cut out the line from the President where he said: "That's not what I asked you." In Will's recounting, that instead became a sign of Bush's parental solicitousness: "The president again asked 'How's your boy?' "

Will's change completely alters the tenor of the conversation from one in which Bush was rude first to Webb, which is what the Post's original account suggested, to one in which Webb was inexplicably rude to the President, which is how Will wanted to represent what happened.

Graham also continues his obsession with the George Allen "macaca" incident, bashing not only Will but the Weekly Standard for being critical of Allen before the election, in which he lost to Webb: "As with the Weekly Standard and their George Allen-bashing cover this fall, when you help make the 'Macaca majority,' then you should look in the mirror before despairing over the man you helped usher in."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:31 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, December 2, 2006 10:36 AM EST

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