News report or interpretation?

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on January 15, 2014

From a post by’s editor James Taranto (original post date 1/10/14):
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz gave a speech in his home state of Texas this morning, and here’s how the Associated Press’s Chris Tomlinson reported it:

apCruz told a conservative conference in Austin Friday that President Barack Obama is lawless, dangerous and terrifying, providing the right-wing rhetoric to his base that makes him so popular in his home state.

The conservative Republican laid out his reasoning for why he thinks the president is “dangerous and terrifying,” noting last minute exemptions that the Obama administration made to key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, refocusing enforcement of immigration laws away from certain groups of people in the country illegally, and deciding to allow Colorado and other states to experiment with legalizing marijuana. . . .

Cruz mocked Obama on the final day of the conference organized by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, but offered few new ideas.

But an account by Jonathan Tilove for the Austin American-Statesman suggests that Tomlinson’s version was misleading:

“We are a nation of laws and not men,” said Cruz. “If we had a system where a president can pick and choose what laws to follow at utter whim . . . that is seriously dangerous.”

Cruz said the liberal media refuses to accurately report the threat to liberty of the Obama presidency, and makes excuses for the president’s overreaches.

But, he said, “If you’re a liberal, if you’re a Democrat, if you’re a reporter for the New York Times, maybe you’re saying, ‘he’s my guy. I root for my guy. I don’t like some of the things he’s doing but he’s basically my guy so he’s OK.’ “

But Cruz warned those with that mindset that they ought to contemplate that their “guy ain’t gonna be there forever. If this president has that power so does the next one and the next one and the next one, and my message to all the Democrats and all the liberals is, what do you think about the next president, maybe a Republican, having the power Barack Obama has as a president who is not bound by the law?”

“If you love liberty, that should concern you greatly,” said Cruz.

Note the crucial difference: According to (the AP’s) Tomlinson, Cruz said “that President Barack Obama is lawless, dangerous and terrifying,” whereas according to (the Austin American-Statesman’s) Tilove what he described as “dangerous” was “a system where a president can pick and choose what laws to follow at utter whim.”

It’s possible the two reporters were referring to different parts of the speech, but Cruz’s appeal to liberals to consider the dangers of unchecked executive power, reported only by Tilove, shows at least that the senator was doing something more than, as Tomlinson puts it, providing “right-wing rhetoric to his base.” …



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[The AP recently changed its website: this quote is archived here.]

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