“It also means that if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them,” Romney said. “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I want to say, you know, I’m going to go get someone else to provide that service to me.”
We saw reporters focusing on the spin at the national level as well. A Jonathan Easley article at The Hill even treated the controversy as a “he said,” “she said” dispute:
On Monday, Romney’s rivals seized on a partial quotation in which Romney said he likes to “fire people,” painting the GOP front-runner as out-of-touch with voters in tough economic times. While Romney insisted that the remark was “taken out of context” and he was criticizing the lack of choice within the president’s healthcare insurance plan, [Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.)] argued Tuesday on Fox & Friends that the verbal slip was part of a larger trend.
By Monday morning, New York Times reporter Michael D. Shear was already presenting the truncated quote completely out of context: “Just six days ago, Mr. Huntsman assailed Mr. Romney for saying he enjoyed ‘firing people.’” Amazingly, even Saturday Night Live provided more context in a segment mocking Romney, which at least clarified that the GOP frontrunner was talking about health insurance:
When Saturday Night Liveis setting the bar for responsible journalism, we have a problem. News-starved political reporters have lost sight of the fact that their first responsibility is to lay out the facts for readers, not to summarize the spin.