Dispatches From The Newspeak Dictionary

Ronald Bailey of Reason tries to make sense of “Ezra Klein’s Confusion Over ‘Rationing'”; elsewhere, Stacy McCain spots CNN’s Elliott McLaughlin not knowing what the word “refute” means:


This paragraph by CNN’s Elliott McLaughlin has a glaringly bad word choice:

In his national address, Kennedy said he was driving Kopechne to a ferry landing because she was tired. He denied “widely circulated suspicions of immoral conduct” and also refuted reports that he was “driving under the influence of liquor.”

Kennedy “refuted” nothing. I understand McLaughlin’s reluctance to use “denied” twice in the same sentence, but “refuted” means to disprove.

Multiple witnesses confirmed that Ted Kennedy had been drinking heavily all day that Saturday. Supplies for the regatta party — attended by six married men and six single women, incidentally — included three half-gallons of vodka, four fifths of scotch, two bottles of rum and two cases of beer. And then there is the rather telling circumstantial evidence that Ted drove off the freaking bridge.

On that night, Kennedy was drunk as a skunk, high as a kite, three sheets to the wind. He was hammered, wasted, soused, tanked, blotto, sloshed. He was, in a word, intoxicated.

I’d go so far as to say he was driving while intoxicated, except that rolling an Oldsmobile off a bridge is not really what most folks down home would call “driving.”

Nothing he said in his subsequent speech “refuted” the fact that Teddy was drunk, nor will it ever.


Or as Scott Johnson of Power Line dubs it, “Ted Kennedy’s Checkers Speech.”


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