I read the Boston Globe analysis of the killing of Iranian Quds leader Soleimani and didn’t write about it as I found it fairly unobjectionable. But I did note the very strong quote at the end of the piece, attributed to former ambassador Nicholas Burns. The name rang a bell, but I figured he must be a former Obama official because the quote was very strong and offensive against President Trump. Calling the sitting president “a liar” is not something you see former ambassadors doing very often–at least not good ones.
So I looked up Burns and saw that he was originally appointed by one of the Bush presidents. That is a pretty good pedigree and if he also worked for Obama, I decided that his Bush connection would give him a pass on such an offensive attack on the president. These are strange times for political leaders and there are a number of “Never Trump” Republicans who seem to hate Trump so much that they would rather elect the next Democrat in 2020. Fine, it’s a free country.
Then yesterday’s paper ran a bit of a correction. The correction informed eagle-eyed readers that the final quote attributed to Burns was actually made by “former UN ambassador Samantha Power.” Wow, that is some retraction. Whoops!
That is a pretty big mistake, especially when putting such an offensive quote in the paper, but I totally believe someone like Power said it. She was an Obama loyalist, yet the correction doesn’t mention this affiliation.
I don’t know much about former Ambassador Burns. Maybe he likes Trump or maybe he doesn’t. But before you quote someone calling the President a liar, make sure you get that right, and make sure you identify any known qualifiers, like their political affiliation.
Allen Nitschelm is publisher of PublicEditorMA.com. He critiques the Boston Globe, mostly focusing on the bias in their news reporting. News articles are graded for bias, and the website has a listing of the average bias ratings for all reporters reviewed. See our website for more information and the four categories of articles we publish.
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