Here's an example of how political myths are born through inaccurate paraphrases. Yesterday Washington Times columnist Greg Pierce claimed that Howard Dean had "suggested that opponents of homosexual 'marriage' are bigots." This explosive claim that was immediately trumpeted by Matt Drudge, who inflated it to state that "Dem Chair Dean Compares Gay Marriage Opponents To Bigots."
But if you actually read the passage that Pierce quotes, Dean never says the word bigot, nor does he directly imply that opponents of gay marriage are prejudiced:
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean claims to be reaching out to red-state voters, but yesterday, he suggested that opponents of homosexual "marriage" are bigots.
Mr. Dean was responding to news that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, plans to bring to a vote a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban homosexual "marriage."
"At a time when the Republican Party is in trouble with their conservative base, Bill Frist is taking a page straight out of the Karl Rove playbook to distract from the Republican Party's failed leadership and misplaced priorities by scapegoating LGBT families for political gain, using marriage as a wedge issue," said Mr. Dean, using the abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
"It is not only morally wrong, it is shameful and reprehensible," Mr. Dean said.
Perhaps Pierce objects to the word "scapegoating," but the DNC chairman says nothing direct about the public in this statement, which reflects his interpretation of Frist's tactics. You could reasonably infer that thinks Republicans will make a "political gain" by "scapegoating LBGT families," but it's a pretty significant leap from there to saying Dean suggested that gay marriage opponents were bigots.