We all know what “cherry picking” is. Sifting through available evidence to pluck out the bits and pieces that support one particular narrative while ignoring everything that reinforces the contrary. Also known as selective amnesia. Or advertising.
It is used in movie reviews all the time. “An execrable breakthrough in atrocious direction and a new cinematic low in non-achievement,” becomes “A Breakthrough Cinematic Achievement!”
It happens in real life as well. Like when dad keeps talking about how he was first to change the baby’s diapers. Even though mom was hospitalized at the time and he didn’t touch another in the two years since. The letter, but not the spirit.
You can claim pretty much anything, because chances are, nobody’s going to look up the original, and that holds especially true when the original is classified. “Look what I got right here. No, you can’t see it. But trust me, it’s as awful as skunk-flavored popsicles.”
And that is exactly what the White House has done by releasing the controversial Republican Intelligence Committee Nunes Memo but withholding the Democratic response, which fills in some of the controversial gaps. This sneaky behavior has become so prevalent amongst our major political parties that it’s acquired a special name: practitioners call it... politics.
To prove that two can play that game, let’s counter with some opposition cherry-picking. Here’s what happens when the words from Donald Trump’s highly regarded State of the Union Address are isolated and rearranged:
“Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, my fellow North Koreans, criminals and terrorists and pregnant homeless women: Less than one year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this evil chamber of pain and sorrow, and since then our nation has been witness to the most dangerous menace that threatens our world: my administration.
I will be asking Congress to assist American car companies to continue building and expanding plants in Cuba and Venezuela and also to increase the height of my package. Only in times of tragedy will this nation turn to rogue regimes like the United States Senate. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position. I will make other shameful and depraved mistakes.
No regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship that is Texas. One of my greatest priorities is to ensure floods and fires and storms, devastating hurricanes and a hail of gunfire. And wage stagnation until they experience the pains and scourge of hardship.
So tonight I extend an open hand to work with members of especially cruel gangs of illegal immigrants so that America’s forgotten middle class can be eliminated through opioid and drug addiction.
The final pillar is that our wonderful families will be sentenced to years of hard labor by the savage gangs of our Afghan partners along with China, Mexico and New Mexico. I have foolishly caused the loss of many innocent lives, am a reckless disgrace and must get treatment. Complacency is the surest path to evil. Thank you, and God bless Russia.”
Hey, those are his words. Sure, some stuff got left out and the order was changed around a bit. Just like the Republican memo.
Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin.