Favorite

Plumb out of context 

On Tuesday, a lawyer for Mike Beebe’s campaign sent a letter to television stations asking that they stop airing a commercial because it tells falsehoods about Beebe, and, by mere incidental sideswipe, this columnist.

They tell me that politics isn’t beanbag. Both sides spin and overstate, especially here at the end.

I’ve written so much truth about Arkansas politics for so long that both sides could easily lift a passage here and there, and, in the immortal words of the late, great Frank White, “blow it plumb out of context.”

So, I hesitate to pick out one side — the Republican side — and call it a liar.

But events behoove me to do something. I think I’ll just lay out the facts and let you decide.

A supposedly “independent” group that in reality is a Republican hit squad has been airing a television commercial trying to morph the uncorrupt Mike Beebe into the corrupt Nick Wilson. It has to do with that children’s legal defense scandal that Wilson spearheaded and for which he eventually got himself thrown in jail.

The commercial says a newspaper said Beebe was “embedded in disdainful behavior.” That quote is flashed on the screen with the logo of the Little Rock daily, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Viewers might have reason to assume that the quote was by the paper institutionally, either in straight news reporting or a formal editorial representing the official opinion of the newspaper.

Actually, though, the quote comes from one of the paper’s former personal opinion columnists.

The quote is from a column I wrote back in 1997 when I worked for that paper.

Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll take a little space and quote the first four paragraphs of that particular column. I’ll take just a moment simply to explain that, at the time, Beebe was pondering a challenge to Mike Huckabee that he decided not to make.

Here goes, quoting myself from nearly a decade ago:

“State Sen. Mike Beebe of Searcy golfed Thursday with Bill Clinton out at Chenal. Perhaps the president advised him between mulligans on how to overcome overwhelming political odds and withstand the innuendo of scandal based on peripheral associations.

“The latest legislative outrage — the most recently exposed insiders’ raid on your money — has worrisome implications for Arkansas Democrats who were beginning to sidle up to Beebe as their challenger to Gov. Mike Huckabee’s election next year.

“Beebe has formed a gubernatorial exploratory committee, raised a lot of money swiftly in $100 increments and won a thoroughly favorable front-page biographical article in the statewide press. But now comes ‘Lawyergate,’ advancing the personable litigator to an upper-level course in the perils of electoral politics.

“That Beebe is probably specifically innocent is nearly beside the point. It may not be fair that now he’ll have to run with Nick Wilson and Jim Guy Tucker around his neck. But we’re talking about politics after all, and fairness doesn’t apply. Beebe is embedded in the periphery of disdainful behavior, and the perception is ripe for exploitation.”

That’s it.

I ask you one thing: Did a newspaper say Beebe was embedded in disdainful behavior, or did one of its former personal opinion columnists say that despite Beebe’s likely innocence, he found himself embedded not in disdainful behavior, but the periphery thereof, and vulnerable not to fair and factual attack, but to innuendo and exploitation; and is it not a fact that this current commercial misquotes the column in question by conspicuously extracting three of the personal opinion columnists’ key words, those being “the” and “periphery” and “of?”

Thank you for your fair and objective consideration of the lie these sorry rascals have told on me.

At least it was grown-ups doing the talking.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Brummett

  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • Can we talk? Can we get anywhere?

    Dialogue is good. It would be even better if someone would venture off script every once in a while.
    • Sep 21, 2011
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

Most Shared

  • Home again

    The plan, formulated months ago, was this: Ellen and I were going to go to Washington for inauguration festivities, then fly out the morning after the balls for Panama City and a long planned cruise to begin with a Panama Canal passage.
  • Who needs courts?

    Not since the John Birch Society's "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards littered Southern roadsides after the Supreme Court's school-integration decision in 1954 has the American judicial system been under such siege, but who would have thought the trifling Arkansas legislature would lead the charge?
  • Bungling

    If the late, great Donald Westlake had written spy thrillers instead of crime capers, they'd read a lot like the opening weeks of the Trump administration.
  • UPDATE: Campus carry bill amended by Senate to require training

    The Senate this morning added an amendment to Rep. Charlie Collins campus carry bill that incorporates the effort denied in committee yesterday to require a 16-hour additional training period before university staff members with concealed carry permits may take the weapons on campus.
  • Director to resign from state court administrative office

    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Dan Kemp announced today the resignation of J.D. Gingerich, long-time director of the administrative office of the courts.

Latest in John Brummett

  • Gone to the DoG

    We're now longer carrying John Brummett's column in this space.
    • Oct 12, 2011
  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Future is female

    • Good article. I think you are right about running a new type of candidate, with…

    • on February 17, 2017
  • Re: Bungling

    • When did liberals and so called progressives start hating on old Russia? In the the…

    • on February 17, 2017
  • Re: Bungling

    • Press conference? Is that what that was? I thought I'd had the misfortune of stumbling…

    • on February 17, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation