Reading Comprehension 101

Somewhere along the line of their misadventures over the last seven years, I was forced to conclude that the entire Bush administration – W, Cheney, Gonzo, Rummy, Condi, the whole lot of ‘em – were either lying or incompetent. There were no other logical options. The reasons for going to war in Iraq, Bush’s concern for the residents of New Orleans, the effect of the Bush tax cuts on the economy, the CIA torture tapes – they were either lying through their teeth, or really just couldn’t find their own backsides with both hands and a map. Now, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin seems intent on continuing that proud tradition.

Picking up on the previously mentioned New York Times article on Barack Obama and former radical militant Bill Ayers, Palin offered the following: []


“Well, I was reading my copy of today’s New York Times and I was interested to read about Barack’s friends from Chicago,” Ms. Palin said at the fund-raiser in Englewood, Colo. “Turns out one of Barack’s earliest supporters is a man who, according to The New York Times, and they are hardly ever wrong, was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. Wow.”

Now, it’s possible, even likely, that Palin was simply lying about having read the article, and instead was merely repeating whatever talking point the McCain campaign handed her that day. But I’m a charitable chap, so let’s take her at her word and say she did read the article. In that case, Sarah Palin has the reading comprehension skills of a 3rd grader. Using the Times article as proof Obama is “palling around with terrorists” when the article in question comes to the exact opposite conclusion suggests that she has no idea what she read, that it was all just a bunch of vaguely familiar words strung together in an order that looked almost, but not quite, like conversational English. Coincidentally, listening to Palin speak is a similar experience.

Even more interesting is Palin’s assertion that the New York Times is “hardly ever wrong.” This means that not only did she not understand the gist of the McCain campaign’s chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, when he told reporters, “Whatever the New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization,” but she probably thought this from the Times’ review of her debate performance was a compliment:


“ In the end, the debate did not change the essential truth of Ms. Palin’s candidacy: Mr. McCain made a wildly irresponsible choice that shattered the image he created for himself as the honest, seasoned, experienced man of principle and judgment. It was either an act of incredible cynicism or appallingly bad judgment. “

Sarah, hon, that means they think you’re incompetent. And they’re hardly ever wrong.

– Michael Turner