Weigel

Dept. of Self-Fulfilling Stories: Elizabeth Warren Edition

WASHINGTON - MAY 26: Elizabeth Warren, chairs a Congressional Oversight Panel hearing on Capitol Hill, on May 26, 2010 in Washington, DC. The panel was created to oversee the expenditure of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and Other Government Assistance for AIG. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

So: Elizabeth Warren sits for an interview with Left Ahead!, a liberal Massachusetts podcast.* Interviewer Mike Ball cracks wise with her.

WARREN: I’ve watched some of the fundraising letters, and rally-the-troops-on-the-other-side letters, that seem to suggest at the the same that I’m a hick, and somehow not worthy of the Massachusetts electorate, and at the same time I’m an elite. So I think I’m a new category, an elite hick…

BALL: As a fellow person who was born in Oklahoma and raised in West Virginia, I’ve been called a hick myself a lot. I’ve got to say I’d love to see you in office.

WARREN: I’m going for the hick vote here, I just want you to know. Maybe we could start wearing stickers that say “Hicks for Elizabeth” – could we do that?

A YouTube user clips the interview; it’s the only video on the account. Politico’s Dave Catanese links to the video, with this headline:

Warren: “I’m going for the hick vote”

That’s sort of misleading! Out of context, it would sound like snobby Warren is making fun of those from lesser means. In context, she’s riffing on the attacks made against her. Catanese actually acknowledges that this is unfair.

In context, Warren appeared to be adopting the “hick” label for herself, as a way to combat the charge she’s an out-of-touch Ivory tower elitist.  But the short clip above showing her laughing could be easily chopped up and left open to interpretation.

It could, indeed, be chopped up. Why do it, though? When someone inevitably attacks Warren with this, why not point out the obvious truth – that she’s not making fun of “hicks?” Campaigns may assume that voters are lemmings and nitwits, but reporters don’t need to.

*Side note: Why is the intro for BlogTalkRadio spoken in a British accent?