Yep, that headline is misleading. And I’m mighty darn proud of it, now that I’ve finally learned a lesson from Fox News Network, which is that if you put an outrageous statement in the form of a question, you need not take any responsibility for it.
There have also been more than few outrageous statements thrown around lately by Congressman Mike McCaul and his team. So I’ve learned a lesson from McCaul too: when CNN debunks the claims you make in Plan A, move to Plan B. Which, incidentally, conflicts with Plan A.
Let’s back up.
Lately, McCaul has been agressively patting himself on the back, through news releases, broadcast news interviews, music, poetry, and interpretive dance, for “rescuing” two American children from an overseas school. Except that the children themselves say they didn’t need rescuing, and the children’s own father in Atlanta agrees, explaining that McCaul never contacted him to see if anybody needed rescuing.
Sunday night, CNN upped the ante. In a news story debunking virtually all of McCaul’s claims, it was discovered that McCaul’s own U.S. Department of State says there’s nothing wrong with the school these children were attending, and that there was no evidence that anybody was being held against their will. The documentary film maker, whose work McCaul has been propping himself up with, even told CNN that he’s going back to correct the inaccuracies in his own work. Turns out claims made both in the documentary and repeated by McCaul, that Bin Laden spoke at the school, are wrong. They got the wrong school. Following the CNN story, newspapers in the district are revisting the issue as well.
So yesterday McCaul’s crack team (and by that I mean “team on crack”) jumped into action, and sharpened their already-existing message implying that schools such as the one the two American kids were attending are training children to be terrorists.
Then, unbelievably, they said it’s not really about the kids anyway. Let me just paraphrase what they would now have us believe:
“you know those kids I’ve been bragging about for weeks that I rescued? The ones I saved? The ones I want you, the anything-believing public, to believe are so important that I flew halfway around the world to advocate for? Yeah, them. Well, now that those kids, their father, CNN, and the U.S. Department of State all say I’m wrong about them, let me just freshly share my new opinion that it’s not really about them anyway.”
Sheesh. McCaul must have whiplash from that abrupt about-face.
So, just to review: McCaul says American kids are being held against their will. McCaul implies they might be training the kids to be terrorists. McCaul then takes credit for getting the kids back into the United States. Thus the question in the headline, did McCaul re-import possible terrorists into the United States?
Yes, those are ridiculous conclusions, which follow from inaccurate claims. McCaul should stop making them.