These days, it seems like the media are getting clobbered about doctored photos, erroneous information in news stories, etc. I guess it kind of takes the "Investigative" out of "Investigative Reporting". I regularly read Best of the Web written by James Taranto. His column is featured on OpinionJournal over at The Wall Street Journal.
Anyway, Mr. Taranto detailed another example of the lack of research for a journalism story. This appeared in the Wednesday, August 16 column:
Instead, we shall make fun of the French for their poor knowledge of American presidential trivia. Agence France-Presse reports that Bill Clinton "will be 60 on Saturday":I guess the part that I find amazing is that the birth and death dates and years served as President are readily available all over the Web for any former US President. Very simply, see here. That should be an obvioius site since it is the official White House web site. Too hard huh?
"For most of my working life, I was the youngest person doing what I was doing. Then one day I woke up and I was the oldest person in every room," said Clinton, who was a youthful 44 when he was first elected president, in 1992. . .
Clinton was the youngest US president to leave office, although he was not the youngest to enter the White House. That distinction belongs to his hero, John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963.
It is true that Clinton turns 60 on Saturday. But here's what AFP got wrong:
Clinton is, however, the youngest of all presidents in the sense of being the most recently born. George W. Bush turned 60 July 6.
- Clinton was 46, not 44, when elected in 1992.
- Kennedy was not "the youngest to enter the White House." He was 43 when inaugurated; Theodore Roosevelt was 42. JFK was the youngest man elected president; TR took office on William McKinley's death and was 46 by the time he was re-elected in 1904.
- Clinton was not "the youngest US president to leave office." He was 54, older than Polk (53), Fillmore (53), Pierce (52), Cleveland 22 (51) and TR (50). That puts Clinton in sixth place, not counting the two presidents who died in office in their 40s: Garfield (49) and JFK (46).
The AFP story is a positive piece on an aging Bill Clinton. Of course, it should be noted that the French people seemed to always love Bill Clinton when he was President. I guess it should also be noted that the French love Jerry Lewis too. I'll let you make your own conclusions.
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Technorati: Media Bias, Opinion Journal, Best of the Web, James Taranto, Bill Clinton