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Speaking Truth to Power, or is that the Powerful Trying to Shut Out the Truth

James Taranto 28 October 2009 3 Comments

David Zurawik, TV critic for the Baltimore Sun, notes a revealing exchange between CNN’s Campbell Brown and White House consigliera Valerie Jarrett. (Note that neither Brown nor Jarrett is as fat as she appears in the video; CNN, for some reason, insists on presenting its online videos with the wrong aspect ratio.) Here’s the transcript:

Brown: So do you think FOX News is biased?

Jarrett: Well, of course they’re biased. Of course they are.

Brown: OK. Then do you also think that MSNBC is biased?

Jarrett: Well, you know what? This is the thing. I don’t want to–actually, I don’t want to just generalize all FOX is biased or that another station is biased. I think what we want to do is look at it on a case-by-case basis. And when we see a pattern of distortion, we’re going to be honest about that pattern of distortion.

Brown: But you only see that at FOX News? That’s all that–you have spoken out about FOX News.

Jarrett: That’s actually not true. I think that what the administration has said very clearly is that we’re going to speak truth to power.

Good for Campbell Brown for sticking up for a competitor (albeit at the expense of a lesser competitor). And it’s pretty funny how Jarrett, after smugly asserting, “Of course they’re biased,” did not make a pretense of standing by her position when Brown asked a question she would have been prepared for if she had spent any time thinking this through.

Even more risible, though, is the claim that the administration “is going to speak truth to power.” Hello, Valerie? Your boss is the president of the United States! No one is more powerful. As we suggested Friday, it really seems as if Obama and his men do not understand what it means to be president. Because their power is constrained–thank you, Founding Fathers!–they labor under the delusion that they are powerless.

Read more at the WSJ


  • r4 dsi said:

    Nice conversation… gave us all something to think about.. keep posting. Will be visiting back soon.

  • Bill Baar said:

    What a strange moment for an advisor to the President of the United States to be unclear who has the power. No wonder Obama can’t make up his mind on McCyrstal’s troop request. Obama’s afraid to use the power for fear someone to his left will speak back to him. History will certainly speak to his failure to act, and it’s going to be harsh. Powerful people listen, they don’t need to speak to themselves.

  • Dan Kelley said:

    Hey, cut Valerie some slack! She’s probably depressed and confused on account of the decline in the real estate market. She sent her top salesman to Copenhagen to close a deal to move some substandard slum properties on the South side and he could not close the deal for her.
    No wonder she is down in the dumps about Fox News.

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