April 18, 2020

"Trump could have made a case that the WHO was slow to speak firmly about the possible human-to-human transmission."

"But he puts the onus on the WHO to investigate when it is largely dependent on information provided by member countries. (Leave aside the fact that Trump kept praising China’s transparency. If he had been more publicly critical, it might have forced China to respond more appropriately.) But Trump really gets over his skis when he claims that the WHO 'publicly endorsed the idea that there was not human-to-human transmission happening' and that the WHO said it was 'not communicable.' The WHO said initially that there was 'no clear evidence.' But by Jan. 14, a senior official said they could not rule out human-to-human transmission given the experience with SARS. That statement was made only two weeks after the WHO first learned of the new virus. It’s almost a Four-Pinocchio claim but not quite. The WHO could have highlighted the human-to-human transmission sooner than it did and pressed China for more information. Trump, of course, could have done the same — and failed to do so, for weeks longer. Trump earns Three Pinocchios."

Writes the WaPo fact-checker Glenn Kessler.

I got there via "WaPo Fact Checker Glenn Kessler Morphs Into WHO Apologist in Ridiculous Fact Check on Trump" by Sister Toldjah (at Red State), which is near the top of my favorite source for new news links, Memeorandum.

IN THE COMMENTS: That "Trump really gets over his skis" prompted Danno to write:
Kessler a ski jumper? Laughable. But maybe someone should strap some skis on Kessler and release him from the largest ski jump in existence. Now that would be fun to watch.
Is "over his skis" a reference to ski jumping? I looked it up and fell right into the most famous "out over his skis" in history — spoken by Barack Obama and about — of all people — Joe Biden:
A few weeks ago, when Barack Obama was called upon to explain whether Joe Biden was officially authorized to endorse gay marriage, the president explained, “He probably got out a little bit over his skis, but out of generosity and spirit.”...

[T]he phrase’s metaphorical use seems to have begun in the finance world. Its first non-skiing print usages came in the early nineties, in publications like Investment Dealers’ Digest. For instance, a 1991 article quoted a “market source” describing a race between Goldman Sachs’ and Lehman Bros.’ preferred stock desk. “Someone said [Lehman] couldn’t get a clean legal opinion on it. They may have been out over their skis a little bit with their structure.”...

[W]herever Obama picked it up, it’s a way of taking someone down a peg without being too terribly harsh. Who ever thought a rousing defense of the right for gay couples to marry would be couched in such a bro-ish metaphor?
Hmm. Interesting. But I still don't know if "out over his skis" refers to ski jumping or ordinary downhill skiing. I'm guessing it's the latter — simply because the ski jumpers I've seen on TV do this...



... which is to say that getting "out over your skis" seems to be what you're supposed to do. Kessler left out the "out," by the way, so I think he was out over his skis in the use of trite slang.

Anyway — to extend the metaphor — maybe if the skier looks out over his skis it's because his sport is ski jumping and you're thinking of downhill. That needs some work, but I offer it as an alternative to the usual "Trump is paying 4D chess."

58 comments:

Rusty said...

Oh!It's from the WaPo. Never mind.
The WaPo is, however, the greatest high school newpaper ever to be published.

Fernandinande said...

Oh!It's from the WaPo. Never mind.

My analysis of your post about AA's post about Sister Toldjah's post about Glenn Kessler's post is "Right on!"

traditionalguy said...

Globalists gonna Global. And the World Health bureaucrats gonna run a world slush fund while wearing white coats to fool the serfs.

gilbar said...

Oh!It's from the WaPo. Never mind.

Well, Just Remember!
Anonymous, Unsubstantiated reports show that the WaPo staff LITERALLY suck donkey dicks
LITERALLY!
We have heard that, from NUMEROUS Anonymous, Unsubstantiated reports . . .
SO IT IS A PRINTABLE TRUTH

Mike Sylwester said...

Democracy Dies in Darkness!

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

The criticism of Trump's failures and hypocrisy seems fair. They are, after all, a matter of public record.

Danno said...

Kessler a ski jumper? Laughable. But maybe someone should strap some skis on Kessler and release him from the largest ski jump in existence. Now that would be fun to watch.

Todd said...

But he puts the onus on the WHO to investigate when it is largely dependent on information provided by member countries

But, but, but, the press has been SO quick to point out how GREAT China's numbers are compared to the US (which is headed by OrangeManBad don't you know) and we should be doing what THEY are doing!

Part of the current press "stupid" is that they scream when Trump is mean, scream when he is not. They scream when he uses harsh language and they scream when he does not. They scream that he is TOO hopeful and they scream that he is not hopeful enough.

One might just get the impression that the press will scream no matter what he does. I can live with that. I "prefer" an adversarial press, I really DO. I also want a press that is honest and actually TRIES to do a fair and balanced job. Tries to get to the actual facts, remember who, what, when, where, why. Unfortunately all J-school seems to teach these days is OrangeManBad + conservatives bad + Republicans bad + "not our" big businesses bad.

But look on the bright side, all of the soon to be out of work media people (due to the suicide of their industry) can always learn to code! I hear COBOL programmers are currently in high demand!

RK said...

If WaPo wanted to do something useful, investigate how WHO officials became WHO officials. Who at WHO is related to who elsewhere in the UN.

Mattman26 said...

If WHO’s job is to take information provided by national governments and repeat it, then its budget seems mighty large.

Wince said...

Shorter Kessler: There is "no clear evidence" that the WHO parroting Chinese Communist Party propaganda means the WHO endorses CCP propaganda?

World Health Organization (WHO) @WHO
Jan 14
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China����.

Fernandinande said...

Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission

Then it was probably transmitted by bat juggling.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

World Health Organization (WHO) @WHO
Jan 14
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China����.


Yet on December 31, Taiwan told WHo Chinese doctors were getting sick and the virus was being transmitted human to human.

China and WHO lied and millions of people were damaged and hundred thousands of people died.

This is not difficult people. Why are liberals embracing a racist country that has millions in death camps, pollutes and destroys the environment, uses slave labor and harvests organs from political prisoners they kill.

Think about it.

Lurker21 said...

"Fact checking" is practice in spin doctoring for when "journalists" make the move from media hacks to politicians' flacks. You can see all the tactics of PR obfuscation at work in "fact checks." They are rarely about the preponderance of facts - more about the attitude people should take to politicians, and the ways one can save some from making fools of themselves and damn others on slim pretexts.

David Begley said...

This whole disaster is totally on China. Lawyers here know about proximate cause. The Chinese let the virus escape from their lab.

Jersey Fled said...

I suspect we will see most "fact check" sites get even more pro Democrat as we get closer to the election.

If Trump said water runs downhill, some fact checker would dispute it citing a pseudo planet near a black hole where water would run uphill if it in fact had water.

David Begley said...

Professor emerita Althouse can instruct us on Palsgraf v. Long Island RR.

Lurker21 said...

I did get it from my bat. Lord knows where he goes at night and what he brings back with him.

Same thing with most people I know. I hope the government doesn't take our bats away. Then we'd really be isolated.

Barry Dauphin said...

The WaPo has no resources to investigate whether the information from PRC is accurate and then report on being stonewalled, when that happens?

chuck said...

That China arrested the doctor who first published a warning on social media pretty much summarizes why numbers from China cannot be trusted. The news embargoes enforced at CNN, NBC, The NYTimes, and WaPo have the same effect.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Kessler is a hack. D-hack.

Hari said...

Basically this comes down to saying Trump shouldn't fire or even criticize the WHO, because he could have done their job himself.

wendybar said...

When the fact checker lies, why would you even read that tabloid???

Kyjo said...

Yes, Glenn, the WHO relied on member state China, which patently lied about the evidence of human-to-human transmission, meanwhile ignore Taiwan’s warning about just that two weeks earlier. Why? Because Taiwan is not a member state. For the WHO, it exists only as an integral territory of the People’s Republic of China, and one which cannot be named or discussed apart from China considered as a whole. The WHO are scientific experts, though, I’m assured.

I used to think Kessler had integrity, even if he was occasionally blindsided by his own bias.

Ken B said...

The WHO was recommending against repeat against travel bans when Trump imposed his. Clear evidence the WHO was playing down any threat. Kessler is, ahem, quite wrong.

mikee said...

I, for one, look forward to the new cold war with China. China is asshole.

Martin said...

Glenn Kessler has decided to compete for the Walter Duranty Prize this year?

Ken B said...

I see a lot of people who cannot detach from their prior beliefs about Trump long enough to assess his current behavior. I think that a failing but an easy one to fall into. Shilling for the CCP though is a whole other level of shameful.

William said...

There is more evidence that WHO colluded with China than that Trump colluded with Russia.....It's the stories that don't get written. The WHO director has taste for luxury travel. Might be a story there....Different leaders in the USA might have missed a beat, but China was deliberately mendacious, and that might not be the end of their crimes. WHO was willing to play along.

iowan2 said...

President Trump's statements concerning the virus, and their cooperation is pure raw statesmanship. I would think all the professional diplomats would 100% support the words and deeds of the President at that moment in time.
Also, the President is always in full sales mode. Stop.
Full sales mode, is establishing clear communication to best set expectations of both parties.
The President is "thanking" the Chinese, for honesty and transparency. Those are his words. His message? 'I demand honesty and transparency on this matter, or repercussions will be severe.'

But if your only reason for commenting on the Presidents words and action, is to smear and defame the President, in absence of facts, you use what's available as a cudgel

William said...

Taiwan has good grounds for wanting to live independently of the CCP in China. It's strange how their cause has never become a cause celebre of the thinking people in the west....A good way to gauge how deep these pundits are in the hip pocket of China is to ask them a question about Taiwan and watch them squirm. They might offer a few harsh words about the CCP handling of Hong Kong protests, but about Taiwan, their statements are clogged with subsidiary clauses and hedge words.

Michael K said...

This is nothing new for Kessler.

Johnathan Birks said...

Kessler is a hack who probably never skied in his life.

buwaya said...

Taiwan deserves justice, and the international agencies and political systems that have isolated the Taiwanese should be punished for their cynical cruelty.

And it is the West Philippine Sea, not the South China Sea.

It is time to put China in its place.
In East-South East Asia this would be extremely popular.

Sam L. said...

Kessler: Just one more reason for me to despise, detest, and distrust the WaPoo. (And the NYT, too.)

Ray - SoCal said...

China has done an amazing job of influencing the WHO.

Previous leader was also a Chinese hack, who bungled SARS while in HK.

MD Greene said...

The WHO is run by an Ethiopian man. Ethiopia is now a Chinese client state. Of course the WHO guy kowtowed (haha) to the CCP line. Shame on anyone who believed any of it.

In fact, China has barred Taiwan from UN recognition, and so Taiwan's relatively competent management of its own Covid situation has gone unnoticed. Acknowledging such might make China look bad, and China prefers to view Taiwan as a renegade province soon to be absorbed by the greater whole under its New Mao.


Anyone who takes seriously the "fact-checking" at news outlets (like Facebook?) is, sadly, a credulous sap.

tastid212 said...

in downhill skiing you generally want your weight to be centered over your feet for balance and control. if you get "out over your skis," i.e., leaning too far forward, a face plant may ensue.

tastid212 said...

this "fact-checking" phenomenon has gotten pretty silly. these righteous little ankle biters like kessler are compelled to be on the attack all the time.

Bruce Hayden said...

My guess is that getting out over your skis, is more likely about Alpine skiing. Very few people ever ski jump off of those really big jumps. Best friend in college got on his HS ski team by being willing to jump. And our ski team coach in HS took us off an intermediate sized jump so we could experience more air time. Another friend who grew up in Steamboat did it a couple times, just as he tried skijoring. But mostly it is a niche sport.

But in Alpine skiing, weight distribution is a real issue. I can vaguely remember hearing the phrase decades ago in reference to this sort of skiing. Back in the 1960s into the 1970s, you needed to get out there, with a forward weight distribution in order to get the skis to react more aggressively. Then, technique moved to a more centered, neutral stance, where it remains to date. Except that modern “shaped” skis are built to carve their entire length. It’s hard to learn to initiate turns on them. It’s supposed to mostly be in the knees and ankles, I do it by remembering to initiate with my little toes. But getting the feel of skiing on modern skis, the easiest way to get used to the feel of initiating a carved turn with the tips is to essentially lean down and forward. Think of it as leaning maybe 45 degrees off of the direction of travel of your skis, downhill. At first it feels very unnatural, and would have quickly ended in a crash with older (straight) skis, esp the straight edged skis that I grew up on. But with modern shaped skis, the downhill tip will catch, start to carve, with the uphill ski tip and ski immediately following,

My guess is that it involves Alpine skiing because many of the financiers who started using the term displayed their wealth by skiing. More than probably even golf, skiing is an elite sport, where the rich can flaunt their wealth, esp at places like Aspen, Vail, Sun Valley, etc. One recent addition to that list is the Yellowstone Club by Bozeman. It is members only, and many of their names are well known. $100k initiation fee, $20k a year, plus you need to own a residence there, which start at $1 million for smallish condos, and probably go up to nearly $100 million.

Let me add that COVID-19 appears to have blown up in CO in the mountain ski communities first. Which I originally thought odd, because when you are actually skiing, you probably can’t get infected. Just not close enough to anyone. But you probably can waiting in line for the lifts, eating in the lodges, and later, at the restaurants. But that is where the bulk of the international travelers to DIA go in the winters - to the ski areas.

Rusty said...

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...
"The criticism of Trump's failures and hypocrisy seems fair. They are, after all, a matter of public record."
It would be if you were a fairminded person.

Unknown said...

I always thought it was a water skiing reference.

Anyway, it basically means "he's getting ahead of himself."

buwaya said...

In retrospect Taiwan may have been too nice, too polite, for too long.

Perhaps they may, in their practical way, have meant to keep the good times rolling for as long as they could, and if that was their goal being nice has worked for them.

But the times they seem like they are changing.

rcocean said...

Bezos and the Washington Post are sworn enemies of the Trump. Quit giving Journalists like Kessler credibility by calling them "fact checkers". He isn't. He's a partisan hack, and Trump hater POSING as "fact checker" so he can attack Trump under the guise of "just the facts ma'am".

Its just a variation on the old liberal "social science" dodge. Its not a left-wing opinion, its not pushing the left-wing agenda, its social SCIENCE! Why, Perfesser X a social SCIENTIST, says blah, blahb.

Here its Kessler is Mr. Spock objectively being a "fact checker" - LOL!

rcocean said...

Nobody with a brain thinks journalists are objective anymore. So the MSM, came up with the "fact checkers". See, they were supposed to what reporters used to be (or pretended to be), objective looking at FACTS.

But its just a con-job. Its the same old liberal bias.

rcocean said...

Trump supports the HCQ drug - so the MSM attacks it, and prints articles saying it doesn't work.

Trump attacks WHO - so the MSM suddenly prints articles defending it.

TRump is reluctant to lockdown states - so the MSM calls him a pussy.

Tump says he has final authority on reopening - so the MSM calls him a dictator.


And so it goes..

narciso said...

one might say Kessler has 'jumped the shark'

daskol said...

I just said this the other day in a private communication: looks like deBlasio got out over his skis, because Cuomo is already walking back what deBlasio said about schools not reopening this year, saying that's just the mayor's opinion.

I've always assumed it's about regular old downhill skiing. When you're centered on your skies, you're in control. When you're out over your skis, or just as bad, your skis are going out from under you, you're about to wipe out if you can't exercise a difficult maneuver to regain your balance. The ski jumping thing does not make sense because you HAVE to be out over your skis, that's the correct form for the jump. Only in downhill skiing is being over your skies a dangerous situation.

Kyzer SoSay said...

"The WHO was recommending against repeat against travel bans when Trump imposed his. Clear evidence the WHO was playing down any threat. Kessler is, ahem, quite wrong."

As frustrating as your COVID alarmism is Ken B, I'm glad you can at least see the truth behind it all enough to know that Kessler is an idiot.

Kyzer SoSay said...

"Trump supports the HCQ drug - so the MSM attacks it, and prints articles saying it doesn't work.

Trump attacks WHO - so the MSM suddenly prints articles defending it.

TRump is reluctant to lockdown states - so the MSM calls him a pussy.

Tump says he has final authority on reopening - so the MSM calls him a dictator."

Yup. All par for the course. All expected. All wrong. The media beclown themselves every single day in their urgent need to "get" Trump. What are they gonna do when Pence wins in 2024? He's not nearly as fun to oppose.

Bruce Hayden said...

“Only in downhill skiing is being over your skies a dangerous situation.”

Except that with older equipment, you had to get out over your skis to ski aggressively.

I ski raced from the mid 60s up until I graduated from college in 1972, and that is what you had to do to race. My next brother, already on Medicare a couple years now, still races. Indeed, he is the one who got us all skiing in 1960, and then got me racing by 1965. The margins for error were a lot narrower when you were out over your skis, but that is what was required to be effective ski racing.

My (relatively weak anymore) memory is that it was because with the straight skis at the time, you wanted to be using your tips more than your tails. Using your tips allowed you to initiate turns more quickly, and using your tails accentuated skidding, which is the enemy of speed. Indeed, anymore, skidding your tails is a good way to scrub off speed. The invention of the modern shaped ski allowed a good skier to carve an entire turn with the entire ski, which is much faster than sliding the tails, that was required with straight skis. I can remember watching a guy skiing down besides two ski patrolmen one day. His carved turns were covering twice the distance that the patrol were, who were doing as patrol usually do, going straight down the hill, keeping their speed under control by little skids in either direction. Yet he easily skied away from them.

BTW and OT, with the new shaped skis, differently arced skis were optimized for different radius turns. Up to maybe a decade or so ago at the elite levels, racers would pick the skis they raced on based on the radii of the turns required in a course. That meant that the best racers could ski courses really fast, because they could carve, and not skid, the entire course. That was supposed to be causing injuries. As a result, FIS, the international standards body for ski racing, started issuing mandates essentially requiring that for each event, the optimal arc for the ski be longer than the optimal radius of the turns at the Gates, forcing enough skidding that all but the very best racers were handicapped.

n.n said...

Without accurate and precise control, leaning forward can cause aerodynamic instability. It can also be leveraged to optimize effective degrees of freedom.

Original Mike said...

Blogger Mattman26 said..."If WHO’s job is to take information provided by national governments and repeat it, then its budget seems mighty large."

Exactly. What, if anything, did the WHO do to help with the current pandemic? I can't think of anything.

Birkel said...

Over skis is bad on water.
That means you are going to crash.

Ann Althouse said...

Water skiing? I never even thought of that....

Strange metaphor if we’re not even sure what sport we’re talking about!

Birkel said...

You should move south, Althouse.
Water skiing is a summer sport, LOL.

Ann Althouse said...

"You should move south, Althouse.
Water skiing is a summer sport, LOL."

You're wrong about the implication that water skiing is not a Wisconsin thing. Wisconsin just happens to be the water skiing capital of the world.

Know your Wisconsin or the LOLs are on you!

Original Mike said...

"Know your Wisconsin or the LOLs are on you!"

Don't worry Birkel, hand washing can get them off.