‘Slow down our economy’?

‘SLOW DOWN OUR ECONOMY’?…. ABC News’ Jake Tapper has caused quite a stir with an item this morning about a speech Bill Clinton delivered yesterday in Denver.

In a long, and interesting speech, he characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: “We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.”

At a time that the nation is worried about a recession is that really the characterization his wife would want him making? “Slow down our economy”?

I don’t really think there’s much debate that, at least initially, a full commitment to reduce greenhouse gases would slow down the economy….So was this a moment of candor?

Actually, no, it’s a moment taken out of context in such a way as to change the meaning of the sentence. Consider what Clinton actually said.

“And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada — the rich counties — would say, ‘OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.’ We could do that.

But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world’s fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.”

Tapper appears to have gotten the story backwards. He wrote that Clinton “characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: ‘We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.'” Clinton actually argued the opposite.

But Tapper’s mistake is spreading quickly.

The Republican National Committee, among others, are making hay of the ABC report. “Senator Clinton’s campaign now says we must ‘slow down the economy’ to stop global warming,” Alex Conant, an RNC spokesperson, said. “Clinton needs to come back to Earth. Her ‘tax-it, spend-it, regulate-it’ attitude would really bring the economy crashing down.”

Please. How misleading was Tapper’s report? Far-right blogs are criticizing it. The Corner’s Iain Murray wrote:

[The ABC] video is actually (and again, I can’t believe I’m saying this) really unfair to Bill Clinton. The biter bit, you may say, but I don’t believe this sort of manipulation by the media is in any way helpful. The clip is out of context…. That’s not good journalism in any sense.

Hot Air added:

I have to say, as much as I loathe Billy Jeff and all, ABC is misrepresenting what he said. Sure, he uttered the line about slowing down the economy, but he followed that with an explanation of why that’s a bad idea…. The bottom line is that, for whatever reason, ABC actually played Clinton’s “slow down the economy” line unfairly.

When conservative bloggers are defending Bill Clinton against bad journalism, you know the journalism has to be really bad.

Nevertheless, I’m afraid with the RNC and Townhall.com pushing the bogus story line, we may be looking at media malpractice along the lines of “inventing the Internet.” How soon until pundits are simply asserting, as fact, the notion that Bill Clinton wants to “slow down our economy”?