Today, Talking Point Muckraker's Kate Klonick transcribed part of Sen. Stevens' response to a question from candidate Vic Vickers, who asked Stevens why he had accepted $250,000 in gifts from VECO. Ted's response was:
"As I've traveled around Alaska, you know, I haven't had that question asked to me by anyone but a newsperson. And now you join that rank. Uh, the Alaskans I've talked to said "Ted, we believe in ya'," "Ted, I'm gonna give ya' a prayer," "Ted, we'll see you through this," uh, "We know, we know (emphasis) that you're innocent 'cause you said you're innocent."
On Tuesday, I commented on Ted's rants during his radio appearance, writing, "His stuttering needs to be evaluated by a speech pathologist who understands aging issues."
And yesterday, Steve at What Do I Know? used the term "acuity" in his column, Stevens' Conflicting Answers Raise Doubts About His Mental Acuity.
I believe the first time a writer seriously brought this issue up was back in January, when I answered a question posed to me by Washington DC-based Alaska reporter Robert Dillon. Regarding Sen. Stevens, I wrote, in part:
Sen. Stevens does not have six years of mental stability left in him. I've watched him drift in and out of acuity for years, but it is on the verge of getting out of hand.
Back in July, in the aftermath of the joint Ted Stevens-Sarah Palin press conference on energy, I wrote:
Between addled stutters, and tripped up speech, bordering on sheer impedimentia, Stevens said, when asked about the Patriot Act and Real ID, "Re, uh, read, uh the book, America Alone. A lot of people com, uh, complain about that book, uh, but look, uh, he's a democraee, uh, uh. Look at, uh, the demographic concepts, uh, of that book."
When a person stutters and trips and has serious memory lapses, time and again, does it at some point become the responsibility of journalists to transcribe their public conversation to include the lapses in acuity, or should they be edited out?
Other than my attempts to transcribe what the Senator actually says in its entirety, Kate Klonick's realistic transcription of Ted's Running TV talk for TPM Muckraker, is the only example I know of, of a reporter seeing that this is becoming increasingly important.