Tuesday, July 26, 2016

NTSH: Michelle Obama flip-flops on greatness?

PolitiFact sometimes rates statements on a "Flip-O-Meter," indicating when a public figure has reversed positions on something.

With the "Flip-O-Meter" in mind, we offer Michelle Obama's Democratic National Convention speech as a potential flip, fit to note for our Nothing To See Here feature. As a number of media outlets have noted, the First Lady said back in 2008 that she was proud of her country for the first time. Now, in 2016 she says "This right now is the greatest country on earth."

Did something change other than Michelle Obama's mind? Did the Obama presidency propel the United States to new heights of greatness?

We're certainly not the first to notice the discrepancy. We first saw it mentioned at Power Line blog.

Tangentially related: A Zebra Fact Check of Will McAvoy's rant on American greatness from the television series "The Newsroom."

7 comments:

  1. Maybe the English language works differently in the US than the UK, but there is no contradiction in Michelle Obama's two statements, nor is there a change in attitude between them. She was proud of her country in 2008 and now thinks it is the greatest country on earth.

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    1. Well, Pete K, maybe you're just parsing like a UK member of the Democratic Party.

      If Michelle Obmama had said she'd never been prouder than when Barack Obama was running a competitive election campagin, then you'd be right. But that isn't what she said. Your version, that she was "proud of her country in 2008" hides the change of attitude that her first statement by itself indicates. She said she was never proud of the United States until 2008 (except when she was a child, which hints at a naive view).

      That, Pete K, is a change in attitude. But if the United States was the greatest nation before Mr. Obama ran for election, then why couldn't Michelle Obama feel any pride at all in it? That's a discrepancy, if not a contradiction.

      If her earlier statement implies the United States was not the greatest until Obama ran for president, then what changed since that election season that made the United States the greatest? If the only thing that changed was the Obama election campaign (and later election and presidency), it's a an amazingly self-centered way of looking at national greatness.

      Flip-flops, by the way, require no contradiction on this side of the pond. People may change their views without contradiction. But changing one's views is a flip-flop regardless. Maybe PolitiFact and "flip-flops" are different over there.

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    2. Perfectly said brian, yes she flip flopped. It stuns me how someone at 42 yrs old could say that they were never proud of their country until now. Guess if and when she did the pledge it meant nothing at all.

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    3. To be fair, if you feel pride toward a country simply because an elder told you to do so, that'd be indoctrination, and that's no bueno. Pride should come from the thing's own merits as filtered by your particular bias.

      America's powerful, sure, but it's also full of disappointments. You can easily acknowledge that it's a powerhouse while still having negligible pride in it.

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    4. Bradley Crouch wrote:

      **To be fair, if you feel pride toward a country simply because an elder told you to do so, that'd be indoctrination, and that's no bueno.**

      I think we covered that by discounting the national pride Michelle felt when she was a little girl.

      **America's powerful, sure, but it's also full of disappointments. You can easily acknowledge that it's a powerhouse while still having negligible pride in it.**

      Do you think when the First Lady said not to let anyone tell you that America isn't great that she was talking about it being a powerhouse? Seriously?

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  2. I found both Obama and Trump's statement "mostly true". They are punchlines, not a legal peperwork. Hope everyone here can discuss logically rather than being politically depending. Unbias wins over Bias.

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    1. J8CH wrote:

      **I found both Obama and Trump's statement "mostly true".**

      We think that PolitiFact's rating system is so hopelessly subjective that there's not much point in second-guessing the ratings. That's why we stick to pointing out inconsistencies in the ways PolitiFact assigns the ratings.

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