A Gracious Correction and A Persistent Error [Stephen Spruiell]
Washington Post blogger Dan Froomkin graciously corrects a mistake he made yesterday regarding Tony Snow's first televised press briefing. One point I will concede to Froomkin, which I also pointed out in my write-up of the briefing, is that Snow tripped up by citing polls to support the NSA program one minute, then denigrating the validity of those polls the next.
Regarding the other issue I raised, Froomkin insists, "I wasn't wrong, however, to call attention to Snow's use of the term — "tar baby" — that some consider racist." I guess we'll agree to disagree. Froomkin excerpts from Snow's appearance on the Hugh Hewitt show:
HH: Now I've got a couple of issues of the day for you. First, the Post this afternoon, on their blog, is blasting you for the use of the term tar baby. Is that just a way of smacking Tony Snow around to welcome him into the game?
TS: Well, apparently, what's happened is, apparently some people are unfamiliary with the pathways of American culture, and don't realize the old Uncle Remus story where somebody hugs a tar baby.
TS: And the point is, I wasn't going to get myself involved in an issue that would be very difficult to extract myself from. So I look upon that..if that's the worst that happens, that's not so bad.
TS: I've decided, though, because it's a classic case of, I think, somebody trying to sort of pick a fight. I'll probably take that out of my toolchest of rhetorical devices, rather than having to explain a hundred and fifty years of American culture.
I don't think Snow is admitting that he was wrong. I think he's lamenting the sad fact that one's character can be called into question so easily over something so trivial.
While I appreciate that Froomkin noted my post and corrected the mistake, I am concerned that he continues to ignore the growing controversy surrounding his use of the phrase "scot-free." While it's pretty clear that Froomkin meant "without consequences," he should have realized that the phrase can have other, hurtful connotations in the Scottish community, especially when used in such contexts as, "America would be a better place if it was Scot-free." Will Froomkin follow Snow's example and remove this controversial phrase from his rhetorical toolchest?
UPDATE: Jeff Goldstein has a more thorough, less sarcastic post
about this type of attack.
05/18 03:12 PMShare