Melbourne Age columnist Terry Lane:
As George the Smaller told an audience at the West Point and Virginia Military Institute, America is “the single surviving model of human progress”.
Terry shares his understanding of Bush’s three-year-old speech with Islam Online (“As President Bush said: ‘America is the single surviving model of human progress.’”) Here’s what was actually said by Bush in 2002:
The 20th century ended with a single surviving model of human progress, based on non-negotiable demands of human dignity, the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women and private property and free speech and equal justice and religious tolerance. America cannot impose this vision—yet we can support and reward governments that make the right choices for their own people.
Seems to me Bush was speaking of Western democracy in general rather than the US in particular. Either way, Lane clearly didn’t source the original text, otherwise “the model” wouldn’t be in place of “a model”. Just another example of poor research for Media Watch to investigate, I guess, along with former host David Marr’s weird and incorrect assumption that two Christians facing jail in Victoria are white. “We try to be balanced and we’re more than happy to come down on some lefty columnists if we catch them stuffing up,” wrote Media Watch executive producer Peter McEvoy some years ago; well, here’s your chance to prove it, Pete. Yet again.
UPDATE. Several readers point out Lane’s blundering merger of West Point (in New York state) with the Virginia Military Institute (in Lexington, VA). This mistake points us to Lewis Lapham, Lane’s likely source:
President Bush meanwhile mounted flag-draped rostra at West Point and Virginia Military Institute to proclaim America “the single surviving model of human progress” …