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Gibson/ABC Misrepresents Palin Quote in ‘Holy War’ Question [UPDATED]

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Millions of TV viewers who watched ABC News’ interview with Sarah Palin Thursday night never saw her take issue with a key question in which she was asked if she believes that the U.S. military effort in Iraq is “a task that is from God.”

The exchange between Palin and ABC’s Charlie Gibson, in which she questioned the accuracy of the quote attributed to her, was edited out of the television broadcast but included in official, unedited transcripts posted on ABC’s Web site, as well as in video posted on the Internet.

But in the version shown on television, a video clip of her original statement was inserted in place of her objection, giving a different impression of how Palin views the Iraq war.

In the interview, Gibson asked Palin: “You said recently in your old church, ‘Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.’ Are we fighting a Holy War?”

Palin’s response, which appears in the transcript but was edited out of the televised version, was:

“You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.”

It’s exact words,” Gibson said.

.

But Gibson’s quote left out what Palin said before that:

“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

The edited televised version included a partial clip of that quote, but not the whole thing.

Gibson cut the quote — where she was clearly asking for the church TO PRAY THAT IT IS a task from God, not asserting that it is a task from God.

In the rest of the segment that aired, Palin told Gibson that she was referencing Abraham’s Lincoln’s words on how one should never presume to know God’s will. She said she does not presume to know God’s will and that she was only asking the audience to “pray that we are on God’s side.”

A promo posted on Yahoo! News Friday continued to misrepresent the exchange. It displays Palin’s image next to the words, “Iraq war a ‘holy war?’” implying that Palin — not Gibson — had called the War on Terror a holy war.

ABC’s mis characterization of Palin’s words was not the only one in the media. The Washington Post also did some last-minute clean-up in one of its articles on Palin — a front-page story Friday with the headline “Palin Links Iraq to Sept. 11 in Talk to Troops in Alaska.”

As pointed out by The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, the original version posted online used harsher language than the one that hit Beltway newsstands early Friday morning.

The original passage, written by staff writer Anne E. Kornblut, read:

“Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would ‘defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.’

“The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein helped Al Qaeda plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself. On any other day, Palin’s statement would almost certainly have drawn a sharp rebuke from Democrats, but both parties had declared a halt to partisan activities to mark Thursday’s anniversary.”

But in the print version, and the version now appearing on the newspaper’s Web site, the article softened its claim a bit by swapping in the last line with this:

“But it is widely agreed that militants allied with Al Qaeda have taken root in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion.”

These are the sort of things one is used to in Blogs at The Atlantic, something written by Marc Ambinder or Andrew Sullivan, journalism being passed of in a personal blog, being so blatant and all.

Below, you will see the questions Charlie Gibson asked Sarah Palin in red and the questions Gibson asked Barack Obama in blue. The questions appear in the order in which they were asked:

  • “Governor, let me start by asking you a question that I asked John McCain about you, and it is really the central question. Can you look the country in the eye and say “I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just vice president, but perhaps president of the United States of America?”
  • “Today, in our ‘Who Is?’ series, a Democrat relatively new to national politics; Senator Barack Obama. Your mom comes from the Pacific Northwest, migrates to Hawaii, goes to college there, right away, meets a dashing young Kenyan, gets pregnant and the result [is] you.” (Voiceover) His father got a fellowship to study on the mainland and never came back. “Obama’s mother would remarry and take her son to Indonesia for five years. Only once again did he ever see his father, that, when Obama was 10, he didn’t care enough to stay. How did you internalize that?”
  • “And you didn’t say to yourself, “Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I — will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?” … Didn’t that take some hubris?”
  • “For five years out of college, he worked to pay off student loans and was a community organizer in Chicago, which led him back to school, Harvard Law School, and on a summer job, met this young woman. Did you know right away?”
  • “But this is not just reforming a government. This is also running a government on the huge international stage in a very dangerous world. When I asked John McCain about your national security credentials, he cited the fact that you have commanded the Alaskan National Guard and that Alaska is close to Russia. Are those sufficient credentials?”
  • “They have two daughters, Malia and Sasha. At first, Obama was intimidated by the Harvard law students, but he found he could more than hold his own, finishing first in his class and being editor of the ‘Harvard Law Review.’ He’s candid: it was at Harvard he first thought of running for President. So did you think to yourself, ‘Barack, what kind of hubris is this that I am thinking about being President?’”
  • “Did you ever travel outside the country prior to your trip to Kuwait and Germany last year?”
  • “You have written, ‘I learned to slip back and forth between my black and my white worlds.’ The simple question I guess is in which world do you really belong?”

This is where Gibson ended his initial interview with Barack Obama. Sarah Palin, meanwhile, continues to get hammered …

  • “Have you ever met a foreign head of state?”
  • “The administration has said we’ve got to maintain the territorial integrity of Georgia. Do you believe the United States should try to restore Georgian sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia?”
  • “What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?”
  • “Would you favor putting Georgia and Ukraine in NATO?”
  • “And under the NATO treaty, wouldn’t we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?”
  • “And you think it would be worth it to the United States, Georgia is worth it to the United States to go to war if Russia were to invade?”
  • “Let me turn to Iran. Do you consider a nuclear Iran to be an existential threat to Israel?”
  • “So what should we do about a nuclear Iran?”
  • “What if Israel decided it felt threatened and needed to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?”
  • “So, if it felt necessary, if it felt the need to defend itself by taking out Iranian nuclear facilities, that would be all right?”
  • “We talk on the anniversary of 9/11. Why do you think those hijackers attacked? Why did they want to hurt us?”
  • “The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?”
  • “Do we have the right to be making cross-border attacks into Pakistan from Afghanistan, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government?”
  • “You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?”
  • “Then are you sending your son on a task form God?”
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