This week's firefight over what Wesley Clark did or didn't say about John McCain's war record doesn't just remind us that most campaign brouhahas these days are about things that didn't even happen, writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times. It also reveals the long arm of Karl Rove. "The latest fake scandal fit the usual pattern as an awkwardly phrased remark, lifted out of context and willfully misinterpreted, exploded across the airwaves," he writes.
The McCain campaign didn't just condemn Clark’s remarks, "it went out of its way to distort them," Krugman writes, noting the irony that the designated surrogate was a retired colonel who appeared in the Swift boat ad attacking John Kerry's service. The press took the bait, reporting "as fact the false assertion that Gen. Clark criticized Mr. McCain’s military service," though some outlets seemed to have recovered their balance by week's end.