I'm gonna get crucified for this here,
February 21, 2002 12:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm gonna get crucified for this here, but Bush remembered to take lens caps off. Yeah i know, you can find millions of idiotic gaffes performed President Bush, but he was all business when staring into the dmz.
posted by rabbit (87 comments total)
Is it me, or is Rush looking really good nowadays? I'm no fan of his by any stretch but he's looking quite dapper...
posted by John Shaft at 1:17 AM on February 21, 2002

He went on a diet a couple of years back and lost most of weight.
posted by rabbit at 1:20 AM on February 21, 2002

Forgot to say -- that's pretty funny, especially Clinton pretending not to notice.
posted by John Shaft at 1:21 AM on February 21, 2002

Pretty funny, Clinton is always hilarious. I don't think Rush really gets Clinton's sense of humor.

The funny thing is that beating Clinton in being able to function normally for 4 minutes is apparently a victory for George in Rush's eyes.
posted by chaz at 1:30 AM on February 21, 2002

Pretty funny, Clinton is always hilarious. I don't think Rush really gets Clinton's sense of humor.

The funny thing is that beating Clinton in being able to function normally for 4 minutes is apparently a victory for George in Rush's eyes.
posted by chaz at 1:31 AM on February 21, 2002

Are you sure the lens cap isn't off? It initially looks like it might be on, but when I look closer I swear I see actual edges, especially around the right (to the viewer) lens, that suggest the ridge of the binocular around the lens. Not to mention what looks like a reflection on the "lens cap"; the picture in question is too grainy, certainly compared to the oddly much crisper image of Bush.
1) Can anyone find alternate sources for this story? It seems unlikely to have happened; while the urban tale of Clinton as the do-anything-for-a-photo-op-poseur is common, I can't think why he wouldn't just take the lens caps off.

2) Is Limbaugh a reliable source? The picture could be doctored, or just misleading. Like I mentioned, the picture of Clinton is grainy and blurry; it's hard to tell for sure, it looks like the lens caps could be on, but it also very much looks like they may be off. Limbaugh has a whole career invested in ripping on Clinton; a $250M contract can make a man do strange things, like post an intentionally misleading photo. Perhaps a Limbaugh staffer saw this photo, knew perfectly well (or was mistaken) that Clinton didn't leave the lens cap on, but figured- hell, the average person won't ask questions about that photo, and it's an easy and cheap dig against Clinton when he's been out of office for over a year.

3) Is any of Limbaugh's story accurate? Maybe, maybe Clinton did put a pair of binoculars up to his eyes with the lens cap on- then immediately realized what he'd done, chuckled, and removed them. The [blurry, grainy] picture we're seeing might just be the first part of that action. So one has to ask if we have any reason to believe Limbaugh's extended story that "dumb and conniving Clinton" left the binoculars up there for an extended period of time because he didn't want to muck up a photo op by being seen removing the lens cap. Yet we're supposed to believe someone who "lives and dies by the photo op" would just stand there being photographed with the lens cap on? That makes sense.

4) When did the Wechsler test get replaced by a single "binocular" test? Clinton is considerably smarter and certainly vastly more educated than Bush by any measure; while this is irrelevant of the question of who is/was the better president (not dipping my toe in THAT water right now), I'd say it's pretty open and shut that Clinton is considerably smarter than Bush. Heck, I'll wager I'm smarter than Bush, and I know I've put binoculars up to my face with the lens cap on. It happens, people.

5) Wouldn't both Bush and Clinton have been handed binoculars by nearby soldiers? Perhaps the soldier near Clinton happened to hand him one with the lens cap on, while the soldier near Bush happened to hand him one with the lens cap already removed- which, regardless of Clinton lens cap/no lens cap scene means Bush gets no points. Nothing in that second [crisper, clearer] snapshot tells me that Bush took the lens cap off himself. Besides, see also 2) and 3), regarding whether that single snapshot reflects what happened.
So in short, I'm not convinced this photo isn't either doctored or so grainy as to be misleading and misrepresenting, I don't believe that if the lens cap was on that Clinton stood there for any length of time, and I certainly don't believe it means much of anything. How does lens cap=well-conceived foreign policy?
posted by hincandenza at 1:33 AM on February 21, 2002

Oh no... someone said something bad about Clinton!
posted by aaronshaf at 1:34 AM on February 21, 2002

No this is a true story. I remember it being on the rush tv show several years ago. Nobody believes it means all that much hincandenza, only that its humorous.
posted by rabbit at 1:36 AM on February 21, 2002

Did someone hand W the binoculars with the lense covers already off? And how long did Clinton look through his before he asked someone why it wasn't working?

Two fraction-of-a-second moments in time compared side by side can be deceiving when spun by someone like Rush.
posted by stevis at 1:36 AM on February 21, 2002

Well, as any good right-winger should, no doubt Bush got a lot of training in the use of high tech military equipment during his extensive military training. Or maybe Dick Cheney taught him some of them there military binocular secrets, what with Dick's extensive military service record and all.

~chuckle~ Yeah, it sure is humorous...
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:38 AM on February 21, 2002

stevis: clinton looked through them for about a half-hour with the lens caps on
posted by rabbit at 1:40 AM on February 21, 2002

Stevis: Clinton looked through those fucking binocs for the last 4 years of his presidency! There were naked dancing girls inside. It was sweet!

A little known fact is the 1/45th of South Korea's economy (the 10th largest in the world) is devoted to novelty items such as those binoculars. Anyone smell conspiracy?
posted by chaz at 1:48 AM on February 21, 2002

rabbit: No this is a true story. I remember it being on the rush tv show several years ago

How does that convince anyone unconvinced that the story is any more valid? Maybe this is a hoary old lie they've decided to recycle on the occasion of Bush's visit. Your source for the "looked through the lens cap for about a half-hour" is likewise Rush Limbaugh again. This source is completely unreliable, especially on matters Clinton.

Lens cap my ass!
You know, the more I look, the more it seems clear that Clinton didn't have the lens cap on in those photos at all, and Rush (or whoever put that up there and wrote the copy) was either quite mistaken because of the graininess of the photo, or grotesquely deceptive. For all we know, the disparity between the blurriness of the Clinton photo and the clarity of the Bush one is intentional, so that the detail can't be seen and the "lens cap" story looks more plausible.

I just saved the image and zoomed in on it- which I'd recommend anyone interested should do- and I'm convinced that the edge of the binoculars is visible, along with a reflection on the glassy lens. It's possible the lens caps are indented and greenish in color so that it is fooling me into thinking that there are no lens caps, but if that's the case why did Limbaugh put up such a muddled version? Are they the only ones that have this picture? Where did it come from? Is their a clearer version? Questions abound...

Not to mention this google search fails to turn up any reference to this event other than an "unofficial Limbaugh archive".
posted by hincandenza at 1:53 AM on February 21, 2002

hincandenza, i saw the video footage with my own eyes, not just the photo. give me a break
posted by rabbit at 2:04 AM on February 21, 2002

Here is another link i just found which references it, but it isn't what you'd call a credible source
posted by rabbit at 2:13 AM on February 21, 2002

When did you see this video footage? In 1993? Was it as grainy as this photo- maybe you only think you saw the lens cap because the grainy footage was prefaced by the notion that there was a lens cap. See, now we have two sources: Limbaugh saying it happened based on that photo (why didn't rush find a better picture, really?), as well as you, the person who read it on Limbaugh's site and posted it here. Can you understand why I'm not convinced, especially looking at that photo myself and being rather convinced there are no lens caps?

Look, I'm not saying it couldn't happen, just that sounds pretty fishy- doubly so when coming from Limbaugh. Until I see something more convincing from a reasonably reliable source, I'm going to lump this in with "Al Gore claimed he invented the Internet" in the "Lies and Deceptions of the the Right Wing"scrapbook I'm keeping. :)
posted by hincandenza at 2:14 AM on February 21, 2002

sorry here it is
posted by rabbit at 2:14 AM on February 21, 2002

I cannot believe that people are actually arguing over lens caps. It's a funny, people, not a commentary on great matters of life and state. Geeberus.
posted by Dreama at 2:17 AM on February 21, 2002

No, i don't understand why your not convinced. It's one thing to deny its significance and point Bush's endless bouts with idiocy, but you are in denial of this event, but would not be had this particular situation been reversed.
posted by rabbit at 2:18 AM on February 21, 2002

dreama- sometimes we just just like to chat about things gingerly
posted by rabbit at 2:18 AM on February 21, 2002

I'm not convinced because I'm "in denial"; I'm not convinced because I can't see a lens cap in the one and only grainy photo that has been provided.

Yes, that link you posted was the other "source" I found, but I didn't mention it- I can't believe you did. Obviously that's a piece of fiction from a series of Survivalist novels, in which he referenced the lens cap- perhaps because that's something the character would have done. That's as reliable as reading a comment about "Al Gore Inventing the Internet" at freerepublic.com- it only shows that someone else read or believed the original mistake/deception, it's not an original source. Maybe the original and higher quality photo isn't available online at the AP or some other site, but this photo ain't cutting it.

It is insignificant in any case, to be sure- but it's only through diligence we can snuff these little myths in the bud, because the truth of public impressions is that if you tell enough complete lies about someone, eventually the sheer number starts to convince people their must be fire with all that smoke. I had to suffer through a campaign season in which the media propagated verbatim Right-wing RNC fax blasts as "truth" when they were untrue and wholly unfounded. This is a similar situation; Rush digging back into the ol' Clinton bank account, and the reliability of it is pretty much nil.

I'm not seeing lenses when I look, that's what it boils down to. When I first looked, I thought I did- but then I looked closer and didn't see them. If you haven't already, save the file and zoom in on it in whatever image editing program you favor; perhaps you'll see what i see, which is enough detail to suggest a lens, not a lens cap.
posted by hincandenza at 2:27 AM on February 21, 2002

Dreama, people are not arguing over lens caps. Come on. You're a smart woman, you know that.

People are arguing about a fishy little photo that purports to be Bill Clinton doing something stupid, and we have no way of knowing whether this is Rush Limbaugh being deceptive, or anything else - and rabbit, my dear, your link was cotton candy.
posted by acridrabbit at 2:36 AM on February 21, 2002

Well, you can keep looking through those rose petal glasses of yours, but as i said before i remeber this from years ago in which i saw it with my own eyes, so it's not some photoshop creation as you suggest. This was in 1993 and a small occurence in pre-internet times.
posted by rabbit at 2:39 AM on February 21, 2002

acidrabbit- My point is that he's only arguing this because it's about Clinton. If it were about a Republican he would be on the opposite side of the argument. I on the other hand am being reasonable in that I would not be saying "that's not true they probably doctored the photo"
if it were in referance to a conservative.
posted by rabbit at 2:44 AM on February 21, 2002

I'd just note that the denouement of Rush's little story is : "[Bush]'s said to be a frat boy idiot who doesn't even know where he is when he's at the DMZ. But he has the lens caps off. "

Right. So, no argument about the fact that he's a frat boy idiot, but at least he knows enough to take off a lens cap? And is thus fit to be Leader of The Mortgaged World? This would seem slightly askew in terms of priorities, but maybe that's just me.

Not that I care to defend Clinton, particularly. Just sayin'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:49 AM on February 21, 2002

...and I know. It is funny, in a sad way.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:50 AM on February 21, 2002

He may have had the lens cap on, but the economy was good and he was actually elected. Twice!

posted by owillis at 2:52 AM on February 21, 2002

So... if I understand American politics well, the next presidential election debate should feature a look_in_the_binoculars test. It really is funny. Or, what stavros said.
posted by qbert72 at 3:18 AM on February 21, 2002

ACRID, dammit! There's an R there!

People! What do I have to do? Change my name to BITTERabbit? SMOKEYandUNPLEASANTrabbit?

"rabbit" said Well, you can keep looking through those rose petal glasses of yours"

And maybe "rabbit" meant rose-tinted - I'm not sure. But whatever.
posted by acridrabbit at 3:21 AM on February 21, 2002

Another funny thing is that though even Bush was able to look into the binocs without the lens caps, I'm pretty sure Clinton knew the name of Korea's leader before he met with him.
posted by rabbit at 3:23 AM on February 21, 2002

Who's the smarty who removed the lens caps for George?

If funny is for funniness's sake, why isn't Rush recounting the myriad verbal gaffes on Bush II's part? Those are much more funny and telling of the idiot threshold both presidents are judged against.

In fact, Bush's hilarities just may destroy the world along with their utterances. That's even more hilarious.

Rush Limbaugh is verily a fucking manipulative stooge.
posted by crasspastor at 3:24 AM on February 21, 2002

Sorry aCridrabbit my mistake.
posted by rabbit at 3:24 AM on February 21, 2002

oh and acridrabbit that last comment wasn't meant to be rude :) (don't want to have a repeat of our other thread we've come this far)
posted by rabbit at 3:28 AM on February 21, 2002

The missing story: I had served at the de-militarized zone when we first set it up, back in 1951. Why allthewse years later do we still have some 35 thousand American troops serving in S. Korea? And who pays for it? And in Japan, in Germany, Spain (yes, Spain), England, Cuba, and so many opther countries...no wonder we are being likened to the Roman Empire.
posted by Postroad at 4:03 AM on February 21, 2002

Rabbit, until you produce a valid link to the other reference of Clinton's mistake you mentioned, you will hereby be considered a troll in my book.
posted by Mach3avelli at 4:09 AM on February 21, 2002

He may have the lens caps off, but I can't help but imagine W. thinking, "What is it I'm lookin' at again?"
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 4:24 AM on February 21, 2002

Binoculargate...next on CNN!
posted by byort at 4:38 AM on February 21, 2002

I find it odd that the binoculars are black, but the supposed covers are green, and the sane color as the Clinton's jacket. Why would the covers not be black (if they were covers)? On the other hand, if I wanted to photoshop covers, I'd probably make them the jacket color: black would look too obviously doctored (I think).
posted by ParisParamus at 5:02 AM on February 21, 2002

posted by ParisParamus at 5:03 AM on February 21, 2002

Bush may not be as intelligent as Clinton, but I think Bush is wiser. Which is, more important.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:35 AM on February 21, 2002

Postroad, you don't think it's any coincidence that even though the North Koreans were saying that they would sit down at the table, weeks ago, this poor excuse for a president is (or rather his handlers and scriptwriters are) still rattling sabers and pretending that no such thing was said?

Of course not - if peace were to break out on the peninsula, if the 'sunshine policy' that Kim Dae Jung has pursued for the past 4 years, successfully enough to win him the Nobel Peace prize in 2000, even if the war were to be formally ended (a treaty was never signed) without any moves towards reunification, what would be done with those 37,000 troops? That's a question that must keep those boys in the Pentagon awake nights...

But of course, Pyongyang also realizes that the worst thing that could possibly happen would be for them to become a 'humanitarian problem', rather than a military one. The moment that happens, they lose what little they have left in the way of bargaining chips, and the current wackjob regime is on it's way out.

Pretzelboy, in doing the bidding of the US military, is playing right into the hands of Kim Jong Il, and it's funny as hell, if infuriating, to watch. The only losers in this game are the actual people, which is usually the goddamn case, isn't it?

As always when matters Korean come up here, I'm gonna self-link, because I rant at some length about these topics there. Please avert your eyes, MeFi constabulary....

Here and here are decent places to start, if you're interested.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:36 AM on February 21, 2002

That was unclear - I think we're saying the same thing, Postroad...and to answer your question, South Korea pays a fair chunk of the costs involved.

And by the way, I'm not arguing at all that the troops shouldn't have been been here all this time - I think everyone agrees that if they weren't, bad shit would have gone down, again.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:41 AM on February 21, 2002

Too bad Rush didn't include a later picture that clearly showed a nearby soldier performing a Heimlich maneuver on Bush because he was choking on the lens cap.
posted by groundhog at 5:59 AM on February 21, 2002

I just want to see the "after" picture of Bush with black rings around his eyes.
posted by Outlawyr at 6:05 AM on February 21, 2002

*leads angry mob chasing owillis with pitchforks and torches*
posted by adampsyche at 6:09 AM on February 21, 2002

To obfuscate further (and to hell with politics and who's smarter than whom):

It's been a while since I've seen them, but don't some models of field glasses have a nonreflective filter and/or a lens-protecting "honeycomb" grille such that if you're not looking directly down the path of the binocs' vision, you're apt to see only the grille/filter and not the objective lens?

I never handled such glasses up-close-and-personal, only seen them and figured that's why the front end looked like it did -- and they looked kinda like what WJC is holding, and we're seeing them somewhat off-axis, and GHB is apprently using some other type of binocs which may not have that grille/filter arrangement.
posted by alumshubby at 6:13 AM on February 21, 2002

to hell with politics and who's smarter than whom

I'd drink to that, but all I've got is this citrus tea.

*Drinks to it, anyway.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:15 AM on February 21, 2002

hincandenza. I know that when you belive something, you're more apt to find evidence to support what you belive, rather then looking at something subjectively. However, god damn! Those lenscaps are obviously on!!!

I'm not sure if you're aware or not, but some lensecaps may not be entirely flat surfaces, witch is probably what you're talking about. When you say " I look closer I swear I see actual edges, especially around the right (to the viewer) lens, that suggest the ridge of the binocular around the lens. "... you're seeing the ridge of the lenscaps.

Also, I don't see any reflection in the caps.

The reason that a google search dosn't turn up anything is because no one probably gave a damn then(and the fact that about 90% of everything on the web in 1993 is gone now)... just as they probably shouldn't do now.

Really, you're comming off as a psychopath.

Oh, and the binoculars clinton has in his hands are dark green, not black.
posted by delmoi at 6:15 AM on February 21, 2002

Really, you're comming off as a psychopath.

Yeah, but he's our pet psychopath. Just throw him a fish and he'll stop bothering you...<><
posted by MrBaliHai at 7:10 AM on February 21, 2002

I agree with wonderchicken and don't have much else to add to the anti-bush contingent's comments, but I do say this: bush is easy to make fun of, but I don't think we can just dismiss him as a nimwit. September 11th has given him a chance to take US foreign policy into the dangerous realm of black and white--evil and good. With his axis of evil speech, he's polarized the countries of the world into good (US and US supporters) and evil (everyone else). And of course the American people love it, because who wants to be evil? In my opinion, good and evil do exist, but they exist in the twisted maze of the human heart and cannot be generalized into "this country is good and that country is evil." That kind of perspective allows the "good" countries to keep their critical eyes on the "evil" guys instead of on themselves. It's just another way to be arrogant, lazy and to excuse bad behavior. Maybe even evil behavior.
posted by jojo at 7:31 AM on February 21, 2002

Jesus Christ. This became a viable thread how?
posted by Skot at 7:44 AM on February 21, 2002

Because individuals have differing tastes, and not everything is meant to cater to your judgment as to what is viable or not.
posted by Mach3avelli at 8:20 AM on February 21, 2002

It loook to me like the lens caps have been coloured in.
(using my skill and judgement)
posted by Spoon at 8:33 AM on February 21, 2002

If it's a fake, it's an old fake. It was on the Rush Limbaugh show in 1993 according to this Usenet post (long, search for binoculars).

Check out this quote:
Ronald Reagan would have taken the lens caps off, and even Michael Dukakis would have taken then off; Clinton, however, tries to pretend that he had already taken them off.

posted by smackfu at 8:41 AM on February 21, 2002

Because individuals have differing tastes

Mmmmm. Now I understand. The fog has lifted.

and not everything is meant to cater to your judgment as to what is viable or not.

Fuck. This isn't what Matt promised me when he begged me to sign up. Matt! Please fix this!
posted by Skot at 8:42 AM on February 21, 2002

Zoom in on the photo, and it's quite obvious that it's been doctored.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:13 AM on February 21, 2002

These truths are not mutually exclusive:

-The lens caps are on, Clinton was too self conscious/hungover/pre-occupied to remove them.

-Bush has lowered expectations such that his supporters celebrate the fact that he remembers to take off the lens caps.

-Rush Limbaugh...oh, why bother.
posted by Ty Webb at 9:14 AM on February 21, 2002

Postroad, you don't think it's any coincidence that even though the North Koreans were saying that they would sit down at the table, weeks ago, this poor excuse for a president is (or rather his handlers and scriptwriters are) still rattling sabers and pretending that no such thing was said?

The North Koreans always claim to be ready to sit down at the bargaining table. Their modus operandi is simple - stir up trouble, promise to stop stirring up trouble in exchange for money, get money, repeat as needed. The Clinton Administration apparently tired of this around 1997 and stopped trying to negotiate while still claiming that things were improving; when Bush came to office he merely dropped the fiction.

Anne Applebaum has a couple of pretty good columns about the North Koreans here and here.
posted by jaek at 9:24 AM on February 21, 2002

The last president to visit was Bill Clinton, who came to Korea three times. When he first visited in 1993, he strode onto the Bridge of No Return, where prisoners were exchanged after the 1950-53 Korean War, and peered through his binoculars at the shadowy silhouette of an enemy soldier. "I looked at him and he looked at me," Clinton recounted. "And I wanted to wave, 'Come on over."'

-- CNN

Of course, he could be lying. This won't convince Rush's fans, but the photo in question does not prove anything other than that he put the binoculars to his eyes for a moment. The idea that none of the people around him would take the caps off for half an hour beggars belief -- what are they, all Freepers? How could they hold their laughing in check? Surely the "lens cap" joke would be familiar to anyone that uses the binocs every day. The professionals familiar with the equipment would be unlikely not to notice that their dignitary was, shall we say, impaired.

I'd rather have a testimonial from one of the officers on scene, to make this something I'm ready to believe. The Rush-Freep crowd have always been far too ready to build a case for falsity or foolishness onto the Clintons based on the flimsiest of evidence and a multiplicity of assumptions.

(Of course, as we're findiing out, some on MeFi are just as ready to direct boneheaded calumny at Bush. It's just as childish.)
posted by dhartung at 9:28 AM on February 21, 2002

It coulda happened.
posted by boaz at 9:54 AM on February 21, 2002

Speaking from my experience in the military, you don't hand anything to a visiting VIP that isn't ready for them to use. When I did public address system setups for visiting dignitaries, not only did we insure that microphones were turned on beforehand, we actually taped down the on/off switch to make sure they couldn't inadvertently turn it off.

Anyone who thinks that in this situation, two BGs and a Lt Col wouldn't be jumping up saying "Let me help you with that, Mr President" in a microsecond is seriously out of touch with reality.

And oh yeah, in case there's someone in this country that hasn't heard, Rush Limbaugh is a liar. Maybe not a big fat liar anymore, but still a liar.
posted by norm29 at 10:36 AM on February 21, 2002

Warning: boaz' link implicitly invokes Godwin's Law, kinda sorta.
posted by alumshubby at 10:39 AM on February 21, 2002

They look like lens caps to me, but Limbaugh has done enough misdirection in his time that I don't consider him a credible source for anything.

I found the picture of Bush funny with the finger pointing at a 90 degree angle to where he's looking: "Umm, no, Mr. President. That's the latrine. The DMZ is over that way."
posted by joaquim at 10:54 AM on February 21, 2002

Damn. I was just trying to link to the first in the series, honest. Here's a link to the 2nd. It's pretty much the same comic done 5 times anyway.
posted by boaz at 11:00 AM on February 21, 2002

It's obviously a doctored photo and a funny one.

Bush looked through the correct end of a pair of binoculars and we're supposed to be impressed.

Even if it photo was real....

As usual, Clinton made the same mistake a billion other people have made before and a bunch of dittoheads want to crucify him for it.

All of this is just part of the ongoing propaganda blizzard that is meant to prove to us and the world that Bush is not only a real President , but superior to Clinton.

If someone kicked my ass as bad as Clinton kicked the Republican's, I would just salute the guy, learn from it, and move on.

The conservative's neverending Clinton fetish never fails to make me laugh.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 11:03 AM on February 21, 2002

~Here is the original photo, proving there was tricky business going on~

But something is still very odd.

A closer look

What the hell is he looking at?

Oh for shame Mr. President!

He could not stop thinking about his crotch, and smuggled Monica to Korea with him. Worse still, he spent all his time looking at her, when he should have been doing president stuff. A sad chapter in history.
posted by thirteen at 11:08 AM on February 21, 2002

I don't know if the picture was doctored or not. All mine just were for sure, but it does not matter. Neither of these guys are very impressive to me, and stupid stuff happens to everyone everyday.
posted by thirteen at 11:12 AM on February 21, 2002

Can anyone really ever believe photographic evidence of anything aymore? Of course not.

And let's face it, Rush would say or do anything to score a laugh at Bill Clinton's expense. Let's all just give a little snicker and move on.
posted by briank at 11:18 AM on February 21, 2002

"Remember when Bill Clinton went to the North Korea-South Korea Demilitarized Zone?"

In 1993? Gimme a break!
posted by xammerboy at 11:35 AM on February 21, 2002

Without weighing in on the discussion about whether Clinton or Bush is the bigger stupidhead, here's an episode guide to a BBC show that mentions video of Clinton forgetting to take a lens cap off some binoculars.
posted by rcade at 1:31 PM on February 21, 2002

Germaine - Barbie; Ken; Pamela Anderson; Salman Rushdie

(Ken, as all the others are the subject of a Fatwa)

You're joking, of course, rcade...
posted by y2karl at 2:31 PM on February 21, 2002

Can anyone really ever believe photographic evidence of anything aymore? Of course not.

briank? No, they can't -- not that they ever could.
posted by dhartung at 3:49 PM on February 21, 2002

Let's lay this one to rest (AP : Yahoo News), then :

"On his first glimpse into the North, Bush saw nothing but darkness; he had forgotten to take the lens caps off the Army binoculars set out for him atop the sandbags covered in camouflage netting and — specially added for this presidential visit — bulletproof glass."

Now that's really funny.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:11 PM on February 21, 2002

That should be a front page post. Great find pollo.
posted by crasspastor at 8:03 PM on February 21, 2002

All hail the wonderchicken, defender of Truth, Justice, and the American Way (via Korea).
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:07 PM on February 21, 2002

Rush: sophisticated liar.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:08 PM on February 21, 2002

So, Rush was on disinfo spin control then... Puts a whole new slant on I'm gonna get crucified for this here, but Bush remembered to take lens caps off. Yeah i know, you can find millions of idiotic gaffes performed President Bush, but he was all business when staring into the dmz. now, doens't it
posted by y2karl at 8:08 PM on February 21, 2002

And they wonder why he's called the WONDER CHICKEN.

dhartung -- indeed.
posted by briank at 8:09 PM on February 21, 2002

I assume, then, the crack MeFi research team has determined that the Clinton lens cap photo and story are a complete fabrication and even a doctored photo. Is that settled?

Wait, are you fawkin' kidding me? That Yahoo link, the AP story linked by stavros- that's not satire, that's actual a reporter's first hand account!? That's almost as unbelievable as Rush's link- and I don't just mean the lens cap thing- and I'd require as much corroborating documentation as I would for the supposed Clinton photo. Not only is it hard to believe at its face- does Bush actually talk like that, really?- but Yahoo has demonstrated in the past a less-than-rigorous fact checking bureau.

Can we verify this through alternate sources? An alternate non-partisan news sources either carrying the same wire story, or dare I ask another wire story that mentions the lens cap thing. If this true, I sure hope rabbit is still reading this thread. S/he needs to see the conclusion of this, and understand that this is how Rush (and Co.) operate.

But if true, it demonstrates the way propaganda is done [by the rightwing in this country, mostly, but as a general propaganda technique used throughout the world]: if you're guilty of something- criminal or just silly- immediately accuse your enemy of this act. It's a simple bit of prestidigitation, and that way you've muddied the waters with unfounded accusations: some will believe them, others will disprove and dismiss them. But at least it helps to prevent verifiable accusations from coming back at you without being quickly dismissed as "just more partisan mudslinging".

Oh, and I love crasspastor's nickname for stavros: "pollo"- now that's classic!
posted by hincandenza at 9:48 PM on February 21, 2002

Hmmm...that's an interesting idea, hincandenza. I would actually love to find out that this was quick-off-the-mark counter-propaganda (being a sucker for a good conspiracy theory)...

Arise ye MeFites, and scour the web!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:58 PM on February 21, 2002

dhartung: excellent link. Thanks.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:06 PM on February 21, 2002

Okay, initial scouring. The stavros linked article is a wire report by Sandra Sobieraj of the Associated Press who- from initial looking- isn't a shabby journalist. Google's link on a search for bush using the lens cap terms turned up a link to Nandotimes carrying her AP story using slightly different diction, but making the same point.
The president strode up to his sandbag bunker and took in the scene, his hands jammed into his pockets. Then he took up the binoculars to try to spot a village on the North Korean side and immediately realized he needed to take the lens cap off.
Other sources, such as the Washington Post among many others, have carried her original wording as an AP story. Other articles I've found regarding the "viewing the DMZ" incident confirmed Sandra's quoting, but didn't mention the lens cap dig. It's possible it didn't happen with Bush or Clinton, and we're just seeing the typical urban legend- a story meant to tell a larger point ("political types are stoopid") repeated with every president. If it did in fact happen, it's not surprising few chose to mention it; I'm of the mind that the lens cap isn't worth mentioning anyway.

What is surprising is that this more and more seems like an example of outright slimy propaganda and lying on the part of Rush. Can't you lose an FCC license for stuff like that? :)
posted by hincandenza at 12:44 AM on February 22, 2002

The difference between Rush's story and the Yahoo story is the claim that Clinton not only tried to look through lens-capped binoculars (which I don't consider stupid at all - anyone who works with cameras/binoculars does that, you pick them up, if you can't see, you take off the cap), but that Clinton continued to pretend to look through capped binoculars for a photo-op.

Which is not to say I believe that story (and the photo certainly doesn't prove it), but it would be a lot stupider than the very commonplace thing that Bush did.
posted by straight at 5:23 AM on February 22, 2002

That's hardly the point anymore, straight- as I noted way up in my first post on this thread, the lens cap thing is a non-issue either way; who hasn't put binoculars up to their eyes with the lens cap still on?

What I still rabidly* think is worth discussing is whether a) the Clinton story is true even just from the lens cap issue, and if it's not true but the Bush thing is, then b) if this is evidence that Rush posted that Clinton thing specifically as lying, sleazy propaganda. A counter-innoculation against the Daily Show running a "Bush doesn't take off lens cap!" segment, if you will.

* A pun! See, cuz rabbit posted this thread originally, and "rabbit" kinda sounds like "rabid". Har har! Indeed...
posted by hincandenza at 10:35 AM on February 22, 2002

hincandenza, i would LOVE to disagree with you. But I suppose you already knew that. The problem is this: after an hour or two of searching the 'net, I could only find 2 stories. The first story was in regards to the lens cap issue, and the only source for those were "questionable" sites and Rush. The second story ignored the lens cap issue altogether when discussing the Bush trip.

My conclusion: Sigh, hincandenza is most likely correct. The picture was doctored; the Clinton event never occurred. (Now keep this in mind: he's probably correct; i tried to find opposing evidence but failed. Anyone else want to take up the challenge of attempting to prove hincandenza incorrect?) :-)
posted by BlueTrain at 10:43 AM on February 22, 2002

Obviously it is fake.
posted by thirteen at 11:24 AM on February 22, 2002

Well, BT, if it's any consolation- because I know how it must pain you to agree with me :) - I have my doubts about the Bush lens cap thing, too. Being fair and all, only that one AP writer's source exists, meaning it may be true, or may be false. And in any case, as I've stated repeatedly, Bush or Clinton forgetting to take the lens cap off is meaningless- a mistake all of have made- but Rush's bringing up this issue at this time became for me an actual issue.

The whole Clinton thing sounded too pat, too hard to believe (the idea of military personnel allowing a VIP to stand their with the lens cap on for an extended period of time is pretty hard to swallow, as someone noted above). And I wasn't dismissing it as impossible, ever- just highly, highly improbably. What is that saying, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence? If I saw high-clarity video footage of Clinton using what clearly where lens-capped binoculars while the flashbulbs flashed, I'd be far more convinced.
posted by hincandenza at 5:26 PM on February 22, 2002

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