Language, Politics

Back in September Calpundit used the phrase technical lie” to refer to Bush administration statements which are carefully constructed to leave an incorrect impression — but that turns out to be technically true if you parse it closely enough.” Examples he gave then were in reference to stem cells, the famous 16 words,” and dividend tax-cuts. Today he adds a new item to the list: botulism.

He quotes Matthew Yglesias:

Long story short: There’s no threat here. This raises the question of why, exactly, Kay’s team and the gang at the White House are trying to convince people that there is. Politically speaking, obfuscation is an effective strategy on this subject, since it’s easy to get confused between the botulinum B bacteria (not dangerous, found in Iraq) and the botulinum A neurotoxin (dangerous, not found in Iraq). I myself made this mistake, but I’m not a biologist and I’m certainly not a biowarfare expert. This tactic — saying things that are true in such a way as to get people to believe things that are false — has become a prominent feature of the administration’s public relations strategy on a number of fronts and, frankly, it stinks.