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February 17, 2005

Much Ado Over Nothing: Defense Of Brit Hume

Confederate Yankee has a good post about the Brit Hume brouhaha.

Some of you may know that the half-vast editorial staff regards Mr. Hume with what we like to call 'respect and admiration'. Therefore we were deeply disturbed to learn that industry giants like Al Franken, the Daily Kos, and Media Matters are calling for Mr. Hume to resign in disgrace. No doubt Mr. Hume has assumed the duck-and-cover position and is fondly bidding his tuckus a final adieu.

Meanwhile, on the Air America Show Al Franken Blog (try saying that three times quickly - I dare you) the Bespectacled One is literally chittering with rage:

As Media Matters noticed: here’s Brit Hume, the Fox News Channel’s top news anchor, on February 3:
In a written statement to Congress in 1935, Roosevelt said that any Social Security plans should include, quote, “Voluntary contributory annuities, by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age,” adding that government funding, quote, “ought to ultimately be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.
Hume’s claim is that FDR wanted to replace Social Security with private accounts. Hume is lying.

Well Mr. Franken, the first thing we noticed about your piece (and that of Media Matters, who also claimed Hume "falsely claimed that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt advocated replacing Social Security with private accounts" is that you never linked to the transcript of Mr. Hume's actual remarks. Had you done so, your readers would clearly have seen that Mr. Hume never made any such claim.

What he actually said was this:

Senate Democrats gathered at the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial today to invoke the image of FDR in calling on President Bush to remove private accounts from his Social Security proposal. But it turns out that FDR himself planned to include private investment accounts in the Social Security program when he proposed it.

Since I realize that English may not be your first language, let me clarify the difference between the words "include" and "replace":

include: to take in or comprise as a part of a whole

replace: to take the place of especially as a substitute or successor

Referring to the relevant paragraph of FDR's speech, it does appear that FDR contemplated the eventual inclusion of private investment accounts in Social Security: