Small version of the Big Lie: They got the ‘Dean scream’ “unedited”

Small version of the Big Lie: ‘Voters got the ‘Dean scream’ “unedited”‘

The setting:

Sunday-morning television, and the GOP presidential race is the topic on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Host Bob Schieffer asks a GOP panel to assess the impact of a video clip of Rick Perry speaking in New Hampshire.

The clips have gone viral on YouTube, of course.

Rick Perry in New Hampshire


Tabling for now any questions about whether Perry was on something, and if so, what–

GOPer Ed Gillespie utters a blatantly untruthful statement, that the so-called ‘Dean scream’ was seen by voters “unfiltered” and “unedited.”

Mild words given what we typically hear from the GOP campaign trail, but 100 percent untrue. 180-degrees the reverse of accurate. Exactly the opposite of accuracy.

I know people who worked for Gov. Howard Dean in Vermont. The so-called ‘Dean scream’, played repeatedly on continuous feed on CNN–and since apologized for by CNN–was sound-edited.

Dean at rally

Dean was speaking over crowd noise. He was in a room full of cheering supporters. He went around the room, naming states by name. This mini-account comes from eyewitness observers–as he went around the room, calling out the names of each state, Dean pointed to each state name, held up on signs by enthusiastic supporters. IT WAS A CAMPAIGN RALLY.


In the video footage, the crowd noise was toned down, presumably to make Dean’s remarks audible to the television audience. When Dean gave a yell at the conclusion of his campaign-rally shout-out, the crowd noise was edited down. Many of the people in the room at the time, as I have been told, could not even hear the ‘scream’.

Predictably, panelists and other interviewees this morning are defending Gov. Rick Perry with a manufactured talking point: The video clips of Perry speaking have been “heavily edited,” as Ken Blackwell put it. Liz Cheney called it “a mash-up.” Then on comes Ed Gillespie, as mentioned, and contrasts the Perry video to that supposedly raw footage of Howard Dean.

A small media mischaracterization, but one embedded in cement at this point. Dean himself good-naturedly does not bother to mention the crowd noise in the room when he alludes to the ‘scream’. Tiny as it is, however, the missing fact–that crowd noise was downplayed in the CNN footage is key.  And the set-in-concrete mischaracterization illustrates only too well the taint of legitimate news outlets by the GOP/rightwing noise machine.

Accuracy should be the watchword, even for a small event well and safely in the past.


For anyone curious, the full 25-minute Rick Perry speech is also available online. Here it is on YouTube.

Also here.

And here.


The full speech seems thus far to have fallen short of explaining Perry’s performance. Perhaps that’s why the Perry campaign has not posted the full, unexpurgated, unfiltered and unedited video on Rick Perry’s web site.

It might also be noted that Liz Cheney was looking if anything even more unhappy over discussion of Herman Cain than she was over discussion of Rick Perry. Probably a sign of the times.

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