Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Michael Moore/Bill O'Reilly clash

This is far from my usual purview, but I think everyone should read it, so I am putting the link up here. It is the Drudge Report's transcription of a clash between Michael Moore and Bill O'Reilly. Maybe I'm biased, but I think Moore came out way, way ahead.

Drudge Report

I realize it's easier to think of these things offline, but here's what I would have said to Bill: A lie is the opposite of a truth; what Bush said turned out to not be a truth; in retrospect, this means it was a lie, regardless of his beliefs at the time. Therefore Bush lied, albeit unwittingly.

And, even better, what I would have asked him: Did we go to war in Iraq by mistake? (I'd love to hear an answer to that.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really resent you for making me ostensibly defend George Bush and Bill O'Reilly, but I must point out a slight mistake in your logic. For all intents and purposes a lie is not the opposite of a truth. A falsehood is the opposite of a truth. Yes, a lie happens to be untrue, but there is more to it than that. A lie is a falsehood coupled with the critical element of intent, mens rea. Furthermore, a falsehood is not a lie told unwittingly.

This is not to say that George Bush lacks the intent to deceive, however the conclusion is not as black and white as you would have us believe. People say things that are not true all the time and it does not prove that they are lying. It proves only that they are wrong. Whether they are wrong because they are stupid, ignorant, mistaken, being lied to, or lying does not follow from the simple fact that what they say is incorrect.

3:28 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Yeah, I suppose the use of the word lie does connote intent to deceive. My apologies. I guess there isn't a way to make what Moore was saying effective. So the fault with that whole exchange was Moore accusing Bush of intentionally deceiving us (which I expect few people think he did), and O'Reilly not coming up with a sufficient defense (I was not swayed by his continued repetitions).

And while I'm at it I should take back the other half. A good Republican could answer it quite easily with 'no' and supply the other reasons why going to war made sense to them. The truth in that exchange, though, is that the Republicans picked the most dangerous and severe sounding reason to attack and it turned out to be false - but maybe it's impossible to encode this in a buzzword-friendly Michael Moore question (which is what I was trying to do with the whole "Did we go to war by mistake?" thing).

9:27 AM  

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