The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Monday, May 31, 2004

CURIOUS

Matt Drudge's big headline at the moment links to this recap of Bush's speech at Arlington National Cemetery, has a picutre of Bush and Rummy at the podium, and says "STANDING OVATION FOR RUMSFELD IN D.C.". (see)

The linked article, titled "Bush Honors U.S. Military Dead from War on Terror" (itself a suspect headline, as it very casually suggests that Iraq had something directly to do with terrorism, but that's another matter) was written by Reuters' David Morgan. The entire Rumsfeld section of the article goes like this:
Appearing on stage with embattled Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Bush lauded the character of U.S. military personnel who he said have made America safer by ending "two terror regimes" and freeing more than "50 million souls."

"Since the hour this nation was attacked, we have seen the character of the men and women who wear our country's uniform," said the president, who has backed Rumsfeld despite calls for the Pentagon chief's resignation over his handling of Iraq.

"We have seen their decency and their brave spirit," he added.
But no mention of a standing ovation for Rummy. A Google News search to that effect did not reveal any results pertinent to today's events. Neither the Reuters recap nor Pete Yost's AP recap mentions a standing ovation, or any other audience reaction whatsoever, to Rumsfeld.

But here's the other thing. Drudge's headline says "STANDING OVATION FOR RUMSFELD IN D.C.". Bush and Rumsfeld appeared at Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington, you may recall, is in Virginia. Were people watching with really good binoculars from across the Potomac? Were Wolfowitz and Feith watching on closed circuit TV?

Of course, this could just be standard sleight of hand from Drudge. While technically accurate that at some point since 2001 Rummy received an ovation in DC, it appears that pertaining to today's news, Drudge's claim is unsubstantiated on two counts. I really wouldn't mind some independent verification of this from an actual news source.

Until then, all we have is a pathological liar in a fedora claiming an embattled Secretary of Defense was given a standing ovation that nobody else is reporting, in a place he wasn't even at, presumably at an event that would be a bit solemn for audience overenthusiasm.

One place where we know Rummy received an ovation was at the West Point grad ceremony on Sunday, where apparently he told the graduating officers to rely on their "moral clarity". That's not the guy from whom I'd like to hear that message.

UPDATE: As of 6:47 Pacific, there is no longer any mention of an ovation for Rummy on Drudge's site. Usually his main headline spends some time in the main bulk of his links, but not this time. Hmm...

2ND UPDATE: The NY Times recap has Rummy receiving "a rousing round of applause". In Virginia, of course. No word on a standing ovation at a military cemetery for a civilian who ordered several hundred Americans to their death.

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