The Washington Post

Romney official says CNN out-of-contexted Romney

A Mitt Romney aide just told this blog that CNN, in a segment this morning on Romney’s upcoming foreign policy address, misconstrued a set of remarks on Middle East peace that the candidate made at a secretly recorded May fundraiser. “They took Gov. Romney’s quote completely out-of-context,” says the Romney official.

The gripe stems from the video clip above, in which “Starting Point” host Soledad O’Brien quizzes Romney senior communications adviser Tara Wall on an alleged Romney contradiction. O’Brien notes that in today’s address, Romney will pledge to “recommit” the United States to a “democratic, prosperous Palestinian state.” However, the CNN host also notes that in the May fundraiser famous for Romney’s “47 percent” comments, the candidate professes that the Palestinians have “no interest whatsoever” in peace. Wall struggled to rebut the contradiction alleged by O’Brien.

What O’Brien left out of the discussion is the part of the surreptitiously recorded event in which Romney expresses some hope about the peace process:

So the only answer is show strength, again. American strength, American resolve, and if the Palestinians someday reach a point where they want peace more than we’re trying to force peace on them, then it’s worth having the discussion. But until then it’s just wishful thinking.

The Romney official has not yet responded to an inquiry regarding whether it is taking its gripe to the cable network. CNN, too, hasn’t yet responded to a question on whether it mistakenly omitted this important context.

CNN’s O’Brien responded yesterday afternoon with several points: 1) She felt it was “Wall’s job” to cite any lack of context in the question; 2) She noted that she’d left out the “most damaging” passage in the Romney fundraiser transcript, in which the candidate says, “And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”; and 3) She argued that the totality of Romney’s remarks from the fundraiser — “torn” perspectives and all — leaves the conclusion that he’s “very negative on hopes for Palestinian peace.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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