What Rep. Allen West & Obama Have In Common
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
And now it's time for BackTalk. That's where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Editor Ammad Omar is with us once again. What do you have for us today, Ammad?
AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: All right, Michel. We're going to start with an interview you did last week with outgoing Congressman Allen West. You looked back at his tenure in office and what's next for him, but at the very end of your interview, he compared himself to another famous politician. Let's play the tape of you saying goodbye to the congressman.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
MARTIN: Congressman Allen West is completing his term in Congress. He was kind enough to join us from the House recording studio on Capitol Hill here in Washington, D.C.
REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN WEST: And always remember, Abraham Lincoln only served one term in Congress too.
MARTIN: Duly noted. Congressman West, thank you so much for speaking with us.
WEST: Take care now.
OMAR: All right, Michel. So that little comment went viral, as they say in the biz. It got picked up by bloggers and news outlets all over. The Washington Post wrote about it in a column they call The Fact Checker: The Truth Behind the Rhetoric, and reporter Josh Hicks tells me the big difference between Allen West and Abraham Lincoln's terms in Congress was that Abraham Lincoln promised to only serve one term but Allen West lost his reelection campaign.
I caught up with him on the phone and Josh tells me the Post rates things on a scale of one to four Pinocchios.
JOSH HICKS: We only gave this one Pinocchio because it didn't really seem like West was trying to deceive anyone for political gain. Claims that get one or two Pinocchio either just omit certain facts or they don't provide proper context, and so it's not the worst sin but it's still worth, you know, bringing up to people.
OMAR: One more point, Michel. There's another president who Allen West has something in common with now too. The fact checkers gave President Obama one Pinocchio when he compared his record to Abraham Lincoln's during the campaign this year, so there you have it.
MARTIN: Well, duly noted to you, Ammad. Well, speaking of fact checking, our listeners were fact checking us last week when one of our guests made a comment about the website Reddit. Our guest said it's a website which is, quote, "known for child pornography and for racist and sexist and misogynistic content."
Well, we just wanted to make it clear that Reddit is known for more than that. It's a site with user-generated content and links and there are discussions about all sorts of things, politics and even NPR. And President Obama even went on the site to field questions during his campaign earlier this year, so we thought it was appropriate to clarify that.
OMAR: Thanks, Michel. One more quick clarification. Rosie Castro was on the show this week talking about her favorite songs and she said Joan Baez's rendition of "Gracias a la Vida" was one of her favorites because it was a song written by the Latin singer Mercedes Sosa. Well, some of our listeners point out that Mercedes Sosa's rendition was actually a cover of the original by another great Latin singer, Violeta Parra from Chile. Here's some of that version.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GRACIAS A LA VIDA")
MARTIN: Well, thanks, Ammad.
OMAR: Thank you.
MARTIN: And of course, remember, at TELL ME MORE the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can visit us online at NPR.org/TellMeMore. Please remember to leave us your name. We're on Twitter. Just look for TELL ME MORE NPR.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GRACIAS A LA VIDA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.