Kinsolving's evolving Castro endorsement falsehood

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

In a WorldNetDaily.com "exclusive commentary," Les Kinsolving defended his false assertion that Fidel Castro "endorse[d]" a potential presidential ticket consisting of Democratic candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama by pointing out that "endorse" can also mean "[t]o give approval to; support; [and] sanction." In fact, while Castro described a potential Clinton-Obama presidential ticket as "seemingly invincible," he also attributed to Clinton and Obama a pro-democratic view that he called an "error" and wrote of them: "They are not making politics: they are playing a game of cards on a Sunday afternoon."

In a September 5 "exclusive commentary," conservative radio host and WorldNetDaily.com White House correspondent Les Kinsolving defended his false assertion during an August 30 White House briefing that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro "endorse[d]" a potential presidential ticket consisting of Democratic candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. Kinsolving claimed that both MSNBC host Keith Olbermann and Media Matters for America made a "semantic mistake" in saying that Castro did not endorse Clinton and Obama because, according to Webster's New World Dictionary, "endorse" can also mean "[t]o give approval to; support; [and] sanction," in addition to meaning "to endorse a candidate." Kinsolving then asserted that Castro "surely did fulfill more than one of those dictionary definitions of the word 'endorse' since he undeniably 'gave approval to' and 'support' as well as 'sanction' " [emphasis in original].

As Media Matters has documented, Castro described a potential Clinton-Obama presidential ticket as "seemingly invincible" in an August 28 column in the Cuban newspaper Granma. But rather than "giv[ing] approval to," "support[ing]," or "sanction[ing]" Clinton and Obama, Castro attributed to Clinton and Obama a pro-democratic view that he called an "error," and he said of Clinton and Obama, "They are not making politics: they are playing a game of cards on a Sunday afternoon."

From the August 30 press briefing transcript:

Q: Okay. Reuters reports from Harvard that Fidel Castro has just described Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as "an apparently unbeatable ticket." But the Reuters report did not mention either of these two U.S. Senators repudiating this endorsement. And my question: Does the leader of the Republican Party believe that Clinton and Obama should repudiate this dictator's endorsement or not?

MR. SNOW: I think it is safe to say that Fidel Castro is not an expert on the workings of an active democracy.

In his "exclusive commentary," Kinsolving noted that on the September 4 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, Olbermann awarded him the "bronze" in his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment. During the segment, Olbermann said of Castro's column: "It was about as much of an endorsement, Les, as if you wrote that Castro would still be the Cuban dictator tomorrow. Only Castro apparently has readers." Kinsolving asserted that Olbermann had turned his statement "into a semantic argument" and claimed that he used "endorse" to connote "sanction" and "support," not to mean that he had endorsed Clinton or Obama as candidates. From the article:

In other words (of Olbermann on MSNBC), Castro's written statement that Senators Clinton and Obama are "an apparently unbeatable ticket" is no endorsement at all, no endorsement whatsoever, no endorsement in any way.

This, therefore, has been turned by Olbermann into a semantic argument.

How does "Webster's New World Dictionary" define the word "endorse"?

Several ways -- beginning with what is done on the back of a check -- then:

2. To write a note, title etc. on (a document);

3. To give approval to; support; sanction; to endorse a candidate.

In other words, there are six different definitions of the word "endorse" before the dictionary mentions any endorsement of a political candidate.

Fidel Castro -- as neither a Democrat, nor a Republican -- and surely not a U.S. citizen but a Cuban communist -- surely did fulfill more than one of those dictionary definitions of the word "endorse" since he undeniably "gave approval to" and "support" as well as "sanction."

I will surely not denounce Olbermann as being one of the World's Worst People for this spectacular blunder. I would merely suggest that his comedy writers need, seriously, to recruit either a semanticist -- or at least someone who is more familiar with the dictionary than Mr. Olbermann is.

Network/Outlet
WorldNetDaily
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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