By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Weld misquotes Carter

There’s a howler near the top of former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld’s op-ed in today’s Boston Globe that any sharp-eyed editor should have caught. Weld and John Stimpson write:

In 1981, the United States was in the midst of what President Jimmy Carter had labeled a “national malaise” and a “crisis in confidence.”

Trouble is, as this PBS article explains, “Though he never used the word — [political adviser Pat] Caddell had in his memo — it became known as Carter’s ‘malaise’ speech.”

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.


Howard Owens takes over the Batavian


Herald to shed 20 jobs


  1. Ani

    Weld & co. may misquote Carter, but I have to say the point of the overall piece is worth making, as is the point made by Roger Wilkins in the PBS piece you've linked to, that the president must actually lead his people out of the problems ("'If you want the people to move, you move them the way Roosevelt moved them, or you exhort them the way Kennedy or Johnson exhorted them. You don't say, "It's your fault."'"). I'm looking to see Obama transition from analysis and explanation to action (including getting us all to act).

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Ani: Fair enough. But I’d say sloppiness on the writers’ and the editors’ part really detracts from the argument. I couldn’t get past the howler, which has become legend for how often it’s misquoted.

  3. Ani

    I think this goes under, “It’s an ill wind that blows no good,” though, because I really liked the Wilkins point and you wouldn’t’ve linked to it had Weld not messed up. Not that my education is of paramount importance, an accurate op-ed piece would probably have been preferable, but still … I got something out of it.

  4. Mike from Norwell

    Dan, you forgot to mention the imfamous (and hysterical) Globe headline from the Carter era: “More Mush from the Wimp”. I’ll overlook the misquote myself, we know what Weld meant.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    “Mush from the Wimp” — one of the great headlines in Globe history. Vintage Weld — yeah, we know what he meant, but he was too lazy to get it right and so whatever he was trying to accomplish fell short. The guy was a hell of a governor for two years.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén