Congressional Record Error Botches King “Quote” Just Like The New York Times
Video of King’s floor remarks shows how easily a transcription error can create “Fake News”
Washington, D.C.- Congressman Steve King releases the following information which shows how easily an error in transcription could have led to the botched and disputed “quote” attributed to him by the liberal New York Times. King notes that the exact same error was made by the Congressional Record in the transcription of floor remarks he gave on January 15. King has consistently contested the accuracy of the “quote” attributed to him in the Times. The Times’ “quote” cannot be validated as no tape exists that would back the Times’ spurious claim, and the paper refuses to release the notes of the 56 minute long interview.
Publicly available video does exist, however, for floor remarks King delivered on January 15 during debate on the Clyburn Resolution. In his statement, King explained his remarks and went into detail about how he believes they were presented to the Times. The Congressional Record is charged with accurately portraying the debate that occurs on the floor, however a comparison with the video of King’s remarks shows that the Congressional Record’s account did not accurately portray King’s statement. In fact, in transcribing King’s floor remarks without noting his explicit break in the answer, the Congressional Record made the exact same error that the New York Times did.
- The Disputed New York Times Quote:
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western Civilization---how did that language become offensive?” Mr King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
- King’s January 15 floor statement on the Clyburn Resolution (Video):
To view the video, click the above link or click here.
Note: In these remarks, King explicitly places a break between the words “White Nationalist, White Supremacist” and “Western Civilization.” King has never attempted to equate the two odious beliefs that preface the remarks with Western Civilization.
- The Congressional Record Makes A Familiar Transcription Error:
Here is how the Congressional Record (Page H575, January 15 2019) originally presented the remarks King gave on the floor:
Compare this quote to the video linked above. In this quote, the Congressional Record makes no reference to the long pause that King inserted between “supremacist” and “Western”. Instead, they mistakenly reproduce the disputed quote in the exact same way that the New York Times did, even though they had the benefit of hearing King explain why that quote was inaccurate.
Clearly, the video shows that King did not deliver his floor remarks in the way they appear in the Congressional Record. King made an explicit point on the House floor of breaking the sentence up, by allowing silence to serve as a hyphen might. Despite this effort, the Congressional Record’s account of the statement makes no suggestion that any such break or pause in the dialogue occurred.
King has taken corrective action to ensure that the Congressional Record accurately reflects the statement he delivered on the floor. The following is the text of a letter King sent to Speaker Pelosi asking for a correction.
February 6, 2019
On January 15th, 2019, the House of Representatives considered H.Res. 41, a resolution rejecting white nationalism and white supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States. I voted for the resolution because it cited accurately the misquote of my words by The New York Times and because I wholeheartedly agree with the rejection of white nationalism and white supremacy.
I write today to emphatically correct the quote once again to align with what I actually stated to The New York Times reporter and on the floor of the House of Representatives. As I stated on the House floor, what I actually said was “‘White nationalist, white supremacist— (there is a dash here as a pause) Western civilization, how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and civilization’—that is the end of the quote—just to watch ‘Western civilization’ become a derogatory term in political discourse today?”
According to my actual words, the question “how did that language become offensive?” clearly referred only to the term “Western Civilization”. I was not asking how the terms white nationalist and white supremacist have become offensive. If there is any doubt as to the accuracy of this accounting, I would direct you to the CSPAN video of my floor remarks from that day, January 15th, 2019.
As the descendant of abolitionists and Union soldiers who fought and died to purge this land of the crime of human slavery, I well know why certain terms—such as white nationalist and white supremacist—are offensive. And I always have and always will reject them completely.
I stipulate that the record reflect precisely my words, which are those of a man who loves his country and all its people and will continue to work for the betterment of our society for all Americans, who are all endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights and are equal under the law.
- King has consistently argued that an accurate representation of his disputed remarks to the Times would appear as follows:
“White nationalist, white supremacist---Western Civilization, how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
It is important to note: The simple act of moving a hyphen (from behind the phrase “Western civilization” to just preceding the phrase) changes the construction and meaning of the “quote”entirely. It is also important to note, that the video of his floor statement reveals that this is the quote that King states he attempted to give to the Times. In fact, the balance of the quote shows clearly that King was only attempting to express exasperation with the notion that modern political dialogue was attempting to suggest that the phrase “Western Civilization” was becoming a pejorative too.
- King’s focus on Western Civilization is a known fact. According to a Lexis-Nexis News database search over the years 2000-2018, these are the following results in which King was quoted using the phrase “Western Civilization”. Prior to the January 10, 2019 misquote, King was never quoted using either of the two other phrases attributed to him by the Times:
“Western Civilization”: 276 references
“White Nationalist”: Zero references
“White Supremacist”: Zero references
Again, this is further evidence that the only concept King was interested in discussing was how “Western Civilization” has been twisted into a pejorative. It is a concept he discusses frequently.
No one believes that the Congressional Record is a malicious entity. The same cannot be said about the New York Times, a newspaper that is hostile to Conservatives and one of the chief architects of a “Fake News” agenda that seeks to undermine President Trump and his Congressional allies.
The fact that the non-partisan Congressional Record could make an identical transcription error that reproduced the Times’ “quote” suggests that the Times’ “quote” was at best a similar transcription error in which King’s actual words (as contained in the video) were betrayed by the inaccurate placement of punctuation that did not reflect the thoughts he expressed.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy should be asked a simple question: “Should committee assignments be stripped over a transcription error so simple to make that even the Congressional Record makes it?” Conservatives should hope he answers “No” before the liberal New York Times turns its sights on someone else.