For example, on or around August 1st, John Kerry said the following:
"If the diplomacy that I believe can be put in place can work, I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops not just there but elsewhere in the world, in the Korean peninsula, perhaps, in Europe, perhaps."
On August 18th, the Bush administration Press Secretary, in response to Kerry's critique of the Bush redeployment, Scott McClellan recited that quote thusly:
"And I would point out that on August 1st, Senator Kerry said, and I quote, `I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops, not just there' -- he was referring to Iraq - `not just there, but elsewhere in the world. In the Korean Peninsula, perhaps, and Europe, perhaps, there are great possibilities open to us, but this administration has had very little imagination.' And then he went on. That was on `This Week' on August 1st.
The phrase he left out was a major qualifier, don't you think?
"If the diplomacy that I believe can be put in place can work, ..."
This is the kind of editing that conservatives accuse Michael Moore of doing when they call him a fraudulent propagandist along the lines of Leni Riefenstahl.
Then the conservative rags jump in on the action, as did Bill Kristol from the Weekly Standard:
"I will have significant, enormous reduction in the level of troops. . . . I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops, not just there but elsewhere in the world. In the Korean peninsula perhaps, in Europe perhaps. There are great possibilities open to us. But this administration has very little imagination."
Distorting through elipses. I've seen worse. Earlier this year Drudge used three little dots to excise over 20 paragraphs from John Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony. I'm sure they weren't important.
This "overlooked" phrase is at least consistent with Kerry's position that Bush has failed on the diplomatic front and that he would do better. One can disagree with his position, but it has consistently been his position. It would have taken up precious little space to include it, but it would have been harder to stick to the "flip-flop" meme that Republican orthodoxy demands.
Then the mainstream media follows suit like a well-behaved puppy.
The talking heads start flashing up the abbreviated quote and Kerry's surrogates just don't know what to do. Which is where Kerry's best chance is to stop the flip-flop in its infancy. He didn't create it, but by God, a good communications staff can blow it out of the water. Mischaracterized and out of context quotes need to be taken on right away before they take on a life of their own. Press releases, emails etc. need to immediately go out with clarifications of what was a said along with a tweak for those in the Bush administration for their distortions and dirty tricks. Counter meme with meme. If no one currently on staff is up to the task, I'm available and get by on very little sleep.