Saturday, October 29, 2005

Fitzgerald's (Very American) Press Conference

While watching his press conference, I was quite impressed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's by-the-book, just-the-facts approach. It had just enough idealism to please an American audience. In this aspect it was very refreshing.
He also did an excellent job at explaining the indictement with down-to-earth illustrations. He used some great analogy that typifies an pragmatic understanding of reality. He made himself understandable to all Americans by using a national paradigm, even if , as you can see in the following extract, such a paradigm means nothing to most non-Americans (and that's the beauty of it!):
I know baseball analogies are the fad these days. Let me try something.

If you saw a baseball game and you saw a pitcher wind up and throw a fastball and hit a batter right smack in the head, and it really, really hurt them, you'd want to know why the pitcher did that. And you'd wonder whether or not the person just reared back and decided, I've got bad blood with this batter. He hit two home runs off me. I'm just going to hit him in the head as hard as I can.

You also might wonder whether or not the pitcher just let go of the ball or his foot slipped, and he had no idea to throw the ball anywhere near the batter's head. And there's lots of shades of gray in between.

You might learn that you wanted to hit the batter in the back and it hit him in the head because he moved. You might want to throw it under his chin, but it ended up hitting him on the head.

And what you'd want to do is have as much information as you could. You'd want to know: What happened in the dugout? Was this guy complaining about the person he threw at? Did he talk to anyone else? What was he thinking? How does he react? All those things you'd want to know.

And then you'd make a decision as to whether this person should be banned from baseball, whether they should be suspended, whether you should do nothing at all and just say, Hey, the person threw a bad pitch. Get over it.

In this case, it's a lot more serious than baseball. And the damage wasn't to one person. It wasn't just Valerie Wilson. It was done to all of us.

(you can read the rest of the transcript here or watch the video here)

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