This was one of the topics discussed at a conservative bloggers briefing that I attended this afternoon: the media are complaining that Senate Republicans are shutting off a debate on Iraq war policy by, well, voting against shutting off debate.
"What?!" you say. I feel ya. So did Townhall.com blogger Mary Katharine Ham, who argues that reporters guilty of this sin of commission need to get religion and read up on the journalist's bible, the AP Stylebook:
Now, why is Fox the only outlet reporting that the "Democratic majority failed to shut off debate" instead of the Republicans succeeded in blocking debate. I am no parliamentary expert, that's for sure, but I do know cloture ends debate. So, how do Republicans voting against ending debate get accused of ending debate?
Since, I'm no parliamentary expert, I went to the AP Stylebook to check myself. After all, maybe I was wrong about the definition of cloture:cloture: Not closure, for the parliamentary procedure for closing debate. Whenever practical, use a phrase such as closing debate or ending debate instead of the technical term.
Um, so what's with all the leads on these stories? Even AP doesn't know its own definition, apparently:Republicans blocked a full-fledged Senate debate over Iraq on Monday, but Democrats vowed to find a way to force President Bush to change course in a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 U.S. troops.Did they, now? Perhaps there's a different AP Stylebook for when Democrats are in the majority-- an edition I have yet to be issued, which changes the definition of cloture to the exact opposite of what it is.