Accuracy in Media

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times had a lengthy conversation with former President Jimmy Carter, and while Carter said a number of things people on both sides of the aisle would find interesting, Dowd chose in her Saturday column datelined Plains, Ga., to focus on something that will never happen.

“Most people would run away screaming at the thought of working for a boss who humiliates subordinates in public, throttles them in private, demands constant flattery, spends all day watching cable TV and behaves in a wildly unpredictable way,” Dowd wrote. “And yet there is someone who is eager to work for President Trump.”

She then goes on for several paragraphs about how Carter would like to work with and for President Trump on North Korea.

“One of the basic premises of the Cater Center is that you should talk to dictators,” Dowd writes.

Carter also fears we “greatly overestimate China’s influence on North Korea,” he said. Young Kim has never been there as far as Carter knows. “They have no relationship,” he says of Kim Jong-un and the Chinese.

Carter asked his good friend National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to bring North Korea up with Trump because Carter is worried the North Koreans have the technology to destroy the peninsula and Japan, as well as our pacific territories and states and even the mainland.

“I told him that I was available if they ever need me,” said Carter, who is 93.

Then, in paragraph 15, Dowd lists a succession of Carter quotes, each of which would seem to be more newsworthy.

When Dowd asked whether Trump is souring our image to the world, Carter said, “Well, he might be escalating it, but I think that precedes Trump. The United States has been the dominant character in the whole world, and now we’re not anymore. And we’re not going to be. Russia’s coming back and India and China are coming forward.”

Carter said he applauded Trump’s outreach to Saudi Arabia and thought having Jared Kushner work on the Middle East situation was wise because he has “seen in the Arab world, including the Palestinian world, the high esteem that they pay to a member of one’s own family.”

President Obama, on the other hand, “made some wonderful statements when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that,” Carter said.

He also complained Obama did not talk to the North Koreans and that he bombed Yemen, which Carter called the most interesting place he’s ever been.

Carter acknowledged he and his wife Rosalynn have differing views on Russian interference in the election.

“They obviously did,” she said.

“I don’t think there’s any evidence that what the Russians did changed enough votes, or any votes,” he said.

“The drip-drip-drip about Hillary,” she said.

On the issue of Confederate statues, Carter appeared to be one of the “good people on both sides” that President Trump talked about.

“That’s a hard one for me,” Carter said. “My great-grandfather was at Gettysburg on the Southern side, and his two brothers were with him in the Sumter artillery. One of them was wounded, but none of them were killed.

“I never have looked on the carvings on Stone Mountain or the statues as being racist in their intent. But I can understand African-Americans’ aversion to them, and I sympathize with them. But I don’t have any objection to them being labeled with explanatory labels or that sort of thing.”

Dowd had any number of lively quotes on which to hang her lead. But since those quotes did not follow the narrative, they were tossed behind a meaningless discussion of something that will never happen.

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