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The birth of a lie
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, February 18, 2006

Apparently, if this video of the press conference is any indication, this is not accurate:
Former US president Bill Clinton on Friday condemned the publication of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) caricatures by European newspapers and urged countries concerned to convict the publishers.
But that is what is being reported in The Daily Times of Pakistan. In fact, if you listen to the press conference, at the point where Clinton discusses his disagreement with publishing the cartoons, the only time the word "convictions" is used is when he talks about not having a problem with people peacefully protesting based on their convictions. The BBC reports the quotes which are heard on the press conference video:
"I strongly disagree with the creation and publication of cartoons that are considered blasphemous by the Muslims around the world," the AFP news agency quotes him as saying.

"I thought it was a mistake."

But he lamented the escalation of differences over the issue.

"I had no objections to Muslims who were demonstrating in a peaceful way their convictions.

"I thought [the cartoons issue] was also a great opportunity which I fear has been squandered to build bridges," AFP reports.
Now the whole press conference isn't available, so the remote possibility exists that he did indeed make this statement. But I doubt it. I'm no Clinton fan, but I find it very difficult to believe he'd say what the Daily Times claims he said.

But there it is, laying there, and sure to be picked up by other organs of the worldwide press, particularly those in Muslim countries.

And we all know, even if a correction is issued, the damage is already done. Story on page 1, correction on page 14 — and few, if any, read corrections. But Muslims in Pakistan, and probably elsewhere will now be convinced that at least a percentage of the US believes that it is right and proper to prosecute and convict the publishers of cartoons they find offensive.

This comes on the heels of a statement made by Donald Rumsfeld which, at the minimum, is ironic with it's timing. He certainly wasn't talking about the Daily Times in particular, but the war of ideas in general and how we need to do a better job combatting the pernicious lies which terrorist create and spread and which take on a life of their own:
"We are fighting a battle where the survival of our free way of life is at stake and the center of gravity of that struggle is not simply on the battlefield overseas; it's a test of wills, and it will be won or lost with our publics, and with the publics of other nations," Rumsfeld said. "We'll need to do all we can to attract supporters to our efforts and to correct the lies that are being told, which so damage our country, and which are repeated and repeated and repeated. "
Does anyone doubt that the particular meme started by the Daily Times won't, in fact, survive any correction and flourish within the "publics" of certain "other nations?"

As an experiment, keep your eyes open over the next few weeks and see if you pick up on it elsewhere. If you do, drop us a note here and let us chronicle its growth.

UPDATE: Well here's one carrying the story:

World Net Daily
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Already made front page on WND and Newmax (like I ma shocked)
Written By: brent
URL: http://
Newsmax isn’t carrying it as "Clinton said publishers should be convicted." WND is. Newsmax only says Clinton stated the publishing of the cartoons was a mistake ... and that’s accurate.
Written By: McQ
Speaking of cartoons.

Is anyone else finding the headlines like -
"3 die in Cartoon violence in Pakistan" or
"10 hurt in Cartoon riot"
just a little, um.....

Well, let’s just say I keep having Roger Rabbit flashbacks.

Written By: looker
URL: http://
What’s this "cartoon violence" of which you speak? All I’ve heard about the last week was Cheney...
Written By: shark
URL: http://
It seems that former president Clinton is trying to emulate former President Carter in making stupid, and childish comments.
Written By: kyle N
Cheney? Did he do something?
Didn’t I hear he went hunting and his secret service detail had to put down
an aquatic killer rabbit?
Or....was that some other president?

Written By: looker
URL: http://
Actually McQ, I have no idea whether he actually did say it, but if you check the many other reports of his remarks in both Pakistani and Indian papers, he was supposed to have made the remarks during a conversation with reporters. I did some searching (because I wasn’t willing to trust just the two sources you cited) and interestingly enough turned up several reports that varied in the language used (but the substance of the remarks was exactly the same) and one which was remarkable in that the reporter’s English was not terribly good, yet he also reported that Clinton said substantively the same thing. Now if he was just picking the story up from a wire service, he’d have used the language from that story, wouldn’t he?

I don’t know that I find this all that different from the remark he made a few weeks ago that compared rising anti-Islamic feeling in Europe to European anti-Semitism. I’m sorry, but in my mind there is no comparison.

FWIW, when I wrote about this, I titled my post, "What did Clinton really say?". I’m not sure we ought to assume the Arab papers are lying, though.

Written By: Cassandra
Whatever you think about him, Clinton would never say anything so ridiculous. Mike Savage was screaming to his audience of six million about this four hours ago as if he’d witnessed the comment personally. But Savage is completely deranged. What’s your excuse Cassandra?
Written By: sVEN
URL: http://

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