Update. If you came from over here, you need to note two things: first, that Patrick's only talking about the title of this post, which is odd, because in the body of the post the sarcasm of the title becomes absolutely clear. So clear, in fact, that my later clarification is really only for people who only read the title of this post. Second, Patrick completely ignores the argument of both this post and my clarification. Make what you will of his silence as regards anything other than the sarcastic title of this post.
It seems Mr. Ed Morrissey caught President Obama fibbing again. See, Michelle Obama said this:
I will never forget the time eight years ago when Sasha was four months that she would not stop crying. And she was not a crier, so we knew something was wrong. So we fortunately were able to take her to our pediatrician that next morning. He examined her and same something’s wrong. We didn’t know what. But he told us that she could have meningitis. So we were terrified. He said, get to the emergency room right away.
Which the New York Times reported thus:
In her speech, Mrs. Obama also told the story of how her daughter Sasha would not stop crying when she was 4 months old. A doctor’s visit revealed she might have meningitis; she ultimately did not, but the illness produced a scare.
So far, so consistent: something was wrong with Sasha Obama; she was brought to a pediatrician; the pediatrician told her parents she could have meningitis and advised them to take her to the hospital. But Morrissey is suspicious because
[i]n a speech to nurses just eight days earlier, Barack Obama told the story quite a bit differently (emphasis mine):
When our youngest daughter, Sasha, was diagnosed with meningitis when she was just three months old, it was one of the scariest moments of my life. And we had to have a spinal tap administered and she ended up being in the hospital for three or four days. And it was touch and go, we didn’t know whether she’d be permanently affected by it. It was the nurses who walked us through what was happening and made sure that Sasha was okay.
Well, she wasn’t diagnosed with meningitis. How hard is it to get the facts straight so that both Obamas tell the same story?
I know what you’re thinking: this is the kind of close-reading I advocate doing in posts like this. Let it be known, however, that I do not believe paying close attention to language is enough: the conclusions drawn from that analysis abide by the basic rules of logic and the English language. So let me help Mr. Morrissey out:
Michelle Obama said: So we fortunately were able to take her to our pediatrician that next morning. He examined her and same something’s wrong. We didn’t know what. But he told us that she could have meningitis.
President Obama said: When our youngest daughter, Sasha, was diagnosed with meningitis when she was just three months old[.]
In his fever to catch the President in a lie, Mr. Morrissey neglects to notice that Michelle Obama said that the pediatrician diagnosed Sasha as possibly having meningitis, at which point Sasha was taken to the hospital to have a spinal tap administered in order to confirm the diagnosis. Mr. Morrissey, it seems, is just another Edmund Premington:
Like Premington, Mr. Morrissey’s problems with comprehension are based on a gross deformity—only in this case intellectual instead of bodily. He cannot understand that when the First Lady says the pediatrician “told us that [Sasha] could have meningitis,” that constituted a diagnosis. On the basis of that diagnosis, the pediatrician told them “get to the emergency room right away” where, according to the President, Sasha had “a spinal tap administered and she ended up being in the hospital for three or four days.” Far from there being a lie, there isn’t even a discrepancy there: you are diagnosed with Malady X, sent to the hospital for confirmation, then treated for whatever is wrong with you, even if it differs from the initial diagnosis. In short, the validity of the pediatrician’s diagnosis is immaterial—the fact that it was made is all that matters..
For example, in the summer of 2004 a doctor diagnosed with me and treated for a mild case of depression. A few months later, my throat swelled up and a different doctor diagnosed me with thyroid cancer. In both cases, I was diagnosed. If I say that I was diagnosed with mild depression in the summer of 2004, nothing that happened subsequently would make me a liar for stating it because that is the way logic and the English language work.
Either Mr. Morrissey and his commenters don’t know from logic or the English language, or they are being deliberately dense to score the cheapest of political points. The idea, as I understand it, is to toss meat into the thin gruel of Joe Wilson’s cooking because every little bit adds some body to the soup. However, Mr. Morrissey and his ilk care little how any individual ingredient contributes to the flavor, because no matter what anyone tosses in there, the last step of the recipe calls for adding two parts ungranulated racism for every one part of liquid:
Fact checkers are racists conservatives and can’t be allowed to be part of the future of this country, they don’t fit with Obamas fantasies and lies so they must be marginalized or completely eliminated.
It would have been worse, but as Mr. Morrissey’s commenters complain:
Even Mr. Morrissey knows that letting the racism of his compatriots trot out in response to every and anything he writes might give others the correct impression about what the actual issue is here. There’s a reason, after all, he had to write this:
We welcome debate and humor, but if you use racial, ethnic, and/or animal terms to describe politicians and their families (I’m certain I don’t need to explain further), your comments will get deleted and your account closed.
Odd that he shuffles the most significant thing he says into a parenthetical, don’t you think? But these people are not, I repeat, not racists. As proof, I present to you this video from the Values Voters Summit in which Tony Perkins, a supporter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a group which once posted this [not for the faint of heart or stomach] on their official page, introduced Congressman Roy Blunt, who then went on to tell a joke about “eliminating the monkey problem” that was not, I repeat, not in any way a dog-whistle:
It was just a complaint about the President involving an analogy about good, decent Anglo-Saxon imperialists whose dream of having a golf course in India was being ruined by a group of unruly monkeys . . .