Tom Friedman, Joe Klein, Lanny Davis and that precision thing


Here are three lessons on the utility of avoiding catchphrases when you plan on shocking people.

Be precise about what you want to shock them about.

— The New York Times Tom Friedman now says he could have been a little more precise when he said congressional applause for Benjamin Netanyahu was "bought and paid for by the Israel lobby."

He tells Gary Rosenblatt at the New York Jewish Week:

"In retrospect I probably should have used a more precise term like ‘engineered’ by the Israel lobby — a term that does not suggest grand conspiracy theories that I don’t subscribe to,” Friedman said. “It would have helped people focus on my argument, which I stand by 100 percent.”

More on the Friedman back and forth here.

— Meanwhile, Joe Klein at Time magazine wishes he used commas a little better, although he thinks it’s "silly" to object to a phrase he admits could be read as saying American soldiers die for Israel.

This is what he originally said:

It’s another thing entirely to send American kids off to war, yet again, to fight for Israel’s national security.

Here’s his back and forth with Jeffrey Goldberg.

— And Lanny Davis is mad at his partner, Josh Block, for his characterization of how Davis perceived the Center for American Progress, which Block has blasted for posting what he says are offensive items relating to Israel.

And if my last sentence makes any sense at all to you, then you’re Lanny Davis. More from Ben Smith at Politico.

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