Unethical Quote Of A Quote Of The Month: CBS News

CBS should have run this photo with Bill's  cleaned up interview. Doesn't she look nice and healthy?

CBS should have run this photo with Bill’s cleaned up interview. Doesn’t she look nice and healthy?

It must be reassuring, I’d think, to know that the news media will do everything in its power to cover for you, slant news to bolster you, ignore gaffes, and whenever possible, use clever edits to clean-up annoying little hints that you might not be all you’re cracked up to be.

Here is what Bill Clinton said in an interview with Charley Rose this week, when Rose asked if there was any chance her problems over the weekend could be a sign of a serious health issue. Clinton, saying that he didn’t believe that, added,

“Well if it is, it’s a mystery to me and all of her doctors because frequently—well not frequently, rarely—but on more than one occasion, over the last many, many years, the same sort of thing happened to her when she got severely dehydrated.”

Interesting slip by Bill, don’t you think? Suggesting that Hillary frequently suffers fainting spells would add to the speculation about her health and the fact that she has not been her usual, honest, transparent self on that issue. Bill catches himself and says, in effect, “Did I say frequently? When I say frequently, I mean almost never.” Could mean nothing, could mean something, but he said it.

Can’t have Bill causing more trouble for his wife, though, so when CBS broadcasts the interview again that  night, it magically comes out like this:

“Well if it is, it’s a mystery to me and all of her doctors. Rarely—but on more than one occasion, over the last many, many years, the same sort of thing happened to her when she got severely dehydrated.”

When it was called on this, CBS’s response was that the quote was just edited for time. This is done all the time, but ethical news sources don’t edit out words that materially change what was said. Mediaite puts it well: “It is interesting that they chose to edit out an error that could have very well been newsworthy by itself.”

Yes, isn’t it? Funny, I took a shot at editing the quote, and  I think it worked out well—it left in Bill’s slip and auto-correction, included all the substance, and still saved “time”:

“Well if it is, it’s a mystery to me and all of her doctors because frequently—well not frequently, rarely— over the last many, many years, the same sort of thing happened to her when she got severely dehydrated.”

Anyway, it must be reassuring.

57 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of A Quote Of The Month: CBS News

  1. No surprise, but upsetting nevertheless. Hillary and her cadre of media sycophants aside, I have always found it insulting to the viewers/readers: there are still some of us out there (or out here) who would appreciate some semblance of the truth. I just don’t believe Hillary, ever, and neither do I believe anything any media outlet says about her. The history is just too long. Love those vast left-wing conspiracies.

  2. An interesting fact: well over 20 broadcast journalists used the words “powered through” when describing the events of that day. No deviation, and it wasn’t them merely repeating the words from a press conference. I’m not buying their pneumonia claim, either. The way they described the course of events isn’t how pneumonia works.

    • It is amazing that news outlets will mindlessly repeat talking points distributed by political operatives.

      But I had no idea TV and radio “edit” video and audio of people talking. That’s creepy.

  3. I don’t understand the story here. I am a healthy person, but have gotten pneumonia — and it got worse because I couldn’t take time off work because I did have to “power through” it to get an important brief out the door. After the brief was done, I went to a doctor who informed me that I had pneumonia. That was news to me — I just thought I had a bad cold/bronchitis. I had to go home for a week. I can’t imagine going on the campaign trail while ill.

    I have another friend who faints every time she gets the flu, but is otherwise a very healthy and fit person. I have low blood sugar and get faint if I don’t have a proper breakfast. These types of reactions are not newsworthy.

    Pneumonia is not indicative of chronic illness. If she were hiding diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc., then I would be pissed.

    • No, it isn’t, but the story shows that the media is willing to cover up concerns about Mrs. Clinton’s health to the point of editing statements so that they are more favorable to her.

      Recently, after her coughing fit, both the Democrats and the media (but, as Jack would say, I repeat myself) maintained there was nothing to see here and that her coughing fit was just in the imaginations of conservatives and other evil people.

      Turns out her coughing fit was indicative of an illness. It’s a big deal because pneumonia is nothing to mess around with, esp. at Mrs. Clinton’s age.

      Now, Bill Clinton appears to have verified that his wife’s fainting spells are rather frequent…then amended to say they were rare. Frequent and rare do not mean the same thing. Mrs. Clinton either dehydrates frequently or rarely. It’s one or the other. The story above is important because it shows that CBS edited Bill’s words so that “rarely” was used instead of “frequently”. An attempt to make people think that, once again, there’s nothing to see here and that people with questions about her overall health are fools.

      As you said, pneumonia, in and of itself, is not a chronic issue. But if they’ll cover up pneumonia, what else will they cover up?

    • For heaven’s sake, Spartan, there is no valid basis on which to assume anything that comes from the campaign, the doctors or Hillary is true. This is the central delusion of Clinton’s corrupted: she can lie about everything, hide the truth, argue that the truth is just being spun by her enemies, be shown to have obfuscated and deceived, and when another one of these situations happens—gee, why always to her? THEY’RE OUT TO GET HER!—you just automatically accept the cover story! Incredible!

      When the reports first surfaced about her incident on 9/11, the campaign said she just got a little over-heated and felt ill, otherwise, nothing to see here, just the right wig media making stuff up. Without the videos and eye-witnesses tweeting, this might have been the FINAL story. There are two types of people now: those who either accept whatever cover-up the Clinton’s devise without thinking, and those who conclude, as I have, that based on character and a well-established pattern, the Clintons cannot and should not be trusted or believed—because they try to deceive and manipulate by reflex.

      Here’s Ann Althouse’s five thoughts on the Hillary diagnosis, as as fair as can be. Note the very last paragraph, which is too mildly stated for me, but good enough:

      1. We heard that statement from Dr. Lisa Bardack, “who examined her at her home in Chappaqua.” Bardack said, “On Friday, during follow up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia.” I can’t tell from that whether Bardack is the one who did the examination on Friday and gave the diagnosis of pneumonia. Perhaps Bardack is cagily relating what some other doctor saw fit to say to Clinton, and Bardack herself does not believe that is the correct diagnosis. I’m assuming Bardack will not lie, which is why I’m noticing the particular words and the distance Bardack has taken from that diagnosis.

      2. Bardack also said, after Clinton’s collapse yesterday at the 9/11 event, that “she became overheated and dehydrated,” and “she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely.” This seems like a separate diagnosis apart from the diagnosed-on-Friday pneumonia, or is that supposed to be a consequence of the pneumonia? Bardack does seem to be attaching her reputation to the assertion that Hillary “became overheated and dehydrated,” but that’s just a statement of the symptoms, not why they happened. It wasn’t a hot day, but Hillary might have become hot because of the bright sun and her heavy clothing. I just can’t tell from Bardack’s statement whether there is some underlying medical problem that would lead to overheating. What’s the diagnosis, the reason for overheating? I don’t think Bardack said anything that even purports to be an answer to that question.

      3. NBC — the news site at the link above — has a health news reporter explaining the concept of “walking pneumonia” — “patients don’t feel great, but they’re not sick enough to stay home in bed or to be hospitalized…. Pneumonia can be caused by viruses or bacteria [or fungi], and it refers to an infection that gets into the lungs. Bacterial pneumonia is common, usually not serious and easily treated with antibiotics.” Since Bardack told us that Hillary Clinton “was put on antibiotics,” it might mean that the diagnosis was bacterial pneumonia, but it might mean that antibiotics were given because they’d work if it’s bacterial, and it might be bacterial, so try antibiotics because they might work. If not, we know it’s viral… or fungal… or bacteria that didn’t respond to that antibiotic… I don’t know.

      4. “Walking pneumonia” is not a technical term, and it seems particularly infelicitous when Hillary quite conspicuously could not walk.

      5. I think it’s fair to say that the Clinton campaign has been withholding information about Hillary’s health and that it intends to continue to withhold as much as it can. The Bardack statement seems only to push us back in a hope that we will not ask for more, and that came only after a very dramatic, impossible-to-ignore video of Hillary collapsing.

      • Yes. A person can collapse when he or she has pneumonia. I know because it has happened to me. It is also possible for highly driven people to ignore their illnesses and try to “power through” because we perceive that we have to or need to — and then, of course, we get even more ill.

        But that illness is temporary and — quite frankly — not newsworthy.

        What would make you happy at this point to be reassured of her health? Since you will meet any statement from her team with doubt, it seems to be a pointless exercise.

        • What is newsworthy is that Clinton hid it and lied about it, and has been coughing a lot longer than a week. If I could count on what we have been told being complete and factual, I’d agree with you. The real question is “why you let confirmation bias eat your judgment?” There is every reason to believe we are not being told the whole truth, and no reason to believe, as you do, that we are/

          • Here’s what would probably make me happier, Sparty: A news conference where a licensed physician who is treating Imelda described exactly what her condition is, what her symptoms are and what they mean, and what the prognosis is and then took questions for as long as reporters wanted to ask them.

            • Here’s a good statement of what would be appropriate and acceptable from the Clinton camp:

              By A.B. Stoddard
              September 15, 2016
              After her near collapse in public Sunday, Hillary Clinton is now seeing the collapse of her once healthy lead against Donald Trump in the polls. She should release a full medical history, leaving no single question on the table — or she should leave the race. It’s time to come clean or quit.

              For an ordinary candidate, riding out the rumors and recovering might be good enough, but not for one as vulnerable as Clinton. She can, and will most likely, stay on this course, providing minimal information about her health. But Clinton risks further deterioration of her standing that has resulted from voter disgust with her deception over her emails, her foundation and now her illness. The focus will remain on her health, no matter what she says or does. She will be risking defeat.

              Yet sharing it all, and putting to rest the deep doubts now circulating among voters and nervous Democratic Party officials, could allow Clinton to begin to reverse the damage her secrecy has done, while also putting Donald Trump on the defensive. He doesn’t want to tell his whole health story either. Clinton should release as much as possible, even if there is something embarrassing involving the female anatomy. The dividends that doing so would pay are worth it.

              It isn’t just Republicans who are asking “Is it only pneumonia?” If that is all that ails Clinton she should prove it. After all, that would explain the coughing and hoarseness and dehydration that caused her to go limp in the arms of staff and Secret Service agents outside a 9/11 memorial event in New York. The dramatic video is frightening, and has led to numerous conspiracy theories about strokes, seizure disorders and even the prospect that the campaign trots out a body double every now and then. Top Clinton staff now concede they activated the fever swamp by refusing to reveal the pneumonia diagnosis until the candidate nearly fell in the street. It was the quintessential self-inflicted secrecy wound — a staple of HillaryLand, and of the candidate herself.

              The truth, for non-conspiracists, is that Clinton has already had serious medical problems. She suffered a concussion from a fall, followed by a blood clot in 2012 — two brain events that temporarily affected her memory. It’s fair to ask if Clinton is at a higher risk for blood clots in the future. Perhaps not, because she takes a blood thinner, but it would be good to know for sure.

              As Clinton returns to the campaign trail after three days at home, she should be balancing bed rest and debate preparation with time on her feet at rallies to prove she is “fine” and strong enough to keep up with Trump. There won’t be a second chance for Clinton in the next 50 or so days. Another cough, a bad belly, even a sniffle, would all be amplified and the impact likely explosive. If voters know she’s all right, however, they will overlook days between now and Nov. 8 when she doesn’t seem at her best.

              Neither candidate, either of whom will become the oldest president we’ve had, are stepping up to tell us just how fit they are to endure the most grueling job, one that ages you like no other. Trump’s summary of his physical passed muster but was only a snapshot of his health right now; it told nothing of his past, whether he has had heart trouble or other problems. The letter from Clinton’s doctor spoke about her health in the last year, of her newly diagnosed pneumonia and an ear infection, but it most definitely did not speak to her past health challenges or risk of new ones.

              If Clinton were to tell all about her health, it will not only make it harder for Trump to keep his medical history private but his tax returns as well. In that case, the transparency-averse Clinton would have handed over both while Trump released neither.

              Clinton doesn’t find this fair, but total disclosure can turn the tide of her campaign’s stumble while treading water could end it all. She can eliminate much of her problem, or she can exacerbate it. If Clinton can’t admit there is something truly worrisome about her health, she must, for the sake of her party, step down and hand the nomination to someone else.

              Democrats should urge Clinton now to cough it up.

              A.B. Stoddard is associate editor of RealClearPolitics and a columnist.

            • An extended period of candor and transparency, absent staff lies and spin. In other words, when hell freezes over. Hillary is incapable of change in this regard. Please note: the immediate response when reports came in that she had been close to collapse was that she was fine, and had become “over-heated,” though it was not especially hot. When that became unsustainable, the story became something else, then something else. How many times does an intelligent person have to witness this sequence—“I did nothing wrong”..”I didn’t send or receive classified material”…”I didn’t receive material that was marked classified”…”I didn’t send or receive material that was marked classified in a way that I recognized…”

              At this point, anyone who believes any stage in such sequences is either corrupt, an idiot, or in clinical denial.

          • To have confirmation bias I would have to be a Clinton supporter. I’m not one. But I’m also not a conspiracy theorist and I have direct experience with letting pneumonia sneak up on you. Running for President with 60 days to go would make most candidates try and ignore their doctors’ orders. Like you, I will be reluctantly casting a vote for her.

      • “For heaven’s sake, Spartan, there is no valid basis on which to assume anything that comes from the campaign, the doctors or Hillary is true.”

        Thank You!

        I don’t understand the loyalty of Clinton’s supporters. There is no reason to assume she’s telling the truth.

            • I’m neither an apologist nor a supporter. I’m just someone who went to work with pneumonia for over a week before getting diagnosed.

              • Ok, but we don’t even know she has pneumonia…. She could have lung cancer for all we know… She’s been coughing for better than 6 months now…. That’s gotta be close to a record.

                Supporter or not, apologist or not…. Why do you believe her?

                  • That’s…. kind of a naive position in an of itself, Hillary lies more than other politicians. She lies like you and I breathe.

                    But more than that, what does that even mean? You believe most politicians? You disbelieve most politicians? You apparently believe she has pneumonia, you were arguing just last week that her cough was meaningless, and do you really think you’d give these kinds of benefits of the doubt to a Republican? To Trump?

                    • For the record, I would be equally annoyed if the media was making a big to-do over Trump having pneumonia. It has zero significance.

                      And yes, I believe ALL politicians lie. Whether they lie all of the time or some of the time, they are inherently untrustworthy. Many times they tell the truth, but since they are proven liars, they don’t get the benefit of the doubt.

                      But none of that has any bearing on whether pneumonia, including the date on which it was contracted, is newsworthy.

                    • “But none of that has any bearing on whether pneumonia, including the date on which it was contracted, is newsworthy.”

                      “I believe ALL politicians lie. Whether they lie all of the time or some of the time, they are inherently untrustworthy.”

                      What if it’s stage four lung cancer?

                    • That would be relevant. I acknowledged elsewhere here that chronic conditions are newsworthy. I still would vote for my chosen candidate with cancer, but that is information that should be disclosed.

    • Beth,
      All that was spoken like a Clinton apologist.

      It doesn’t matter one damn bit how you, your friend, my mother, me, or anyone else react when we get sick; Clinton is running for the President of the United States of America and is very likely going to win the election and how she reacts when she gets sick is VERY relevant to her fitness to hold the office.. For the the Clinton campaign and the media to actively try to hide the facts related to these occurrences, and it appears there have been multiple occurrences, or to imply that none of this makes a difference, is blatant partisan bull shit!

      Then there’s always saying or implying…

      “What difference at this point does it make?”

      • “how she reacts when she gets sick is VERY relevant to her fitness to hold the office”

        I disagree… To be frank, whether it was a cough, or pneumonia, or lung cancer, I can’t bring myself to care overmuch, so long as it wouldn’t effect her ability to do her job.

        The problem is that Clinton can’t do her job anymore. Not because of any illness, but because no one with two neurons to rub together (sorry Beth, but I’m keeping it real here) trusts a damn thing she says. Her default position is: “When in doubt, lie. When caught, lie differently.” I don’t trust her to tell me the truth on unimportant topics, how the hell is anyone supposed to trust her on actually important ones?

        What really fries me is this built in defence mechanism she has, the people who would defend her if she said the sky is green by asserting that it “WAS kind of a greenish blue, in fact.”. This is the product of Clinton Corruption and partyism… People are trying to delude themselves into thinking that Hillary is actually a good choice. I have no idea what their arguments are in favour of that. I hear a lot of “She isn’t Trump.”. And believe me, that’s a compelling argument. But there’s a lot of Trump supporters that say “He isn’t Clinton” which could also be seen as compelling. This would be the election for a third or fourth party run, which is why I’m disappointed in Johnson particularly… Even as I recognise he’s still a better candidate than either Clinton or Trump.

  4. Jack,

    I agree with you about the editing. As far as the mis-speak, however, I’m reminded of a number of 9/11 Truthers who used to endlessly run a speaking gaffe Rumseld made in which he seemed to allude the Flight 93 was downed by a missile. “AHA!” they all chirped in unison.


    • Huh? That wasn’t a mis-speak. That was a truth-speak, which for Bill IS a mis-speak. In any event, it is something the audience has a right to hear and make up its own mind, not have it censored by CBS to protect the Clintons.

      Was Rumsfeld’s gaffe covered up by the media? No. Nor should it have been. So why is that even slightly relevant to the matter at hand?

      (You lose.)

  5. “But none of that has any bearing on whether pneumonia, including the date on which it was contracted, is newsworthy.”

    “I believe ALL politicians lie. Whether they lie all of the time or some of the time, they are inherently untrustworthy.”

    What if it’s stage four lung cancer?

    I want to take a minute to explain myself here. You may or may not have heard of him, but in Canada, there was a politician named Jack Layton. Jack was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, which he had seemed to beat just in time to campaign during the 2011 Canadian General Election. During that election, he took his party (The New Democratic Party) to new heights and stood as the leader of the official opposition.

    Then he took four months off and died of a “new” cancer, although to this day the family hasn’t told us what kind of cancer… Which is… odd. Jack was very much in favour of charities and was well liked enough that identifying the cancer would immediately have translated into donation dollars for charities dealing with that cancer.

    I assume that he never actually beat the prostate cancer, and perhaps was even diagnosed as terminal, but chose to spend his last year on earth campaigning for an office he could never hold with the votes of people he would never represent, far away from his family. I liked him as a politician, even while I disagreed with his policies… But this whole episode hit me as ghoulish. My staunch NDP supporting family wave my theory away, saying “he must have thought he would have beat it.” Which I think is pure naivete, but it’s also not an uncommon opinion. No… Far more likely, I think, is that Jack was working on his legacy. Too bad the man he handed the baton to almost immediately dropped it.

    Regardless. Canadian flavour. \o/

    Hillary won’t admit anything’s wrong, and he handlers will cart her around weekend at Bernie’s style if they have to.

    What if she’s dying?

    • Then Democrats would cheer, because we much prefer Kaine.

      (Sorry — I’ve been fighting a migraine all day and it apparently makes me cranky and cynical.)

      • Doesn’t anyone who’s gone anywhere near MSU automatically get rejected in Anne Arbor? Isn’t there a computer program that tosses those applications. I wasn’t sure even anyone who’d been to Flint could get into the Harvard of the Midwest (or at least of southeastern Michigan).

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