Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Disingenuous Right.

Ok, I have heard enough out of you righties out there claiming that the Newsweek debacle was some kind of left wing media conspiracy. I am guessing you guys are forgetting that the reporter, Michael Isikoff is no darling of the Left. He was the one who relied on 'thin' sources in his reporting on the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal. You didn't seem to mind his relying on sketchy sources then, did you? No, you ate it up, regardless of the source.

Fox News host Sean Hannity called Isikoff a "respected journalist" back in 1998 for his role in the Clinton sex scandal [Hannity & Colmes, 6/15/98-6/19/98].

In the book, The Clinton Wars (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003), author and former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal wrote: "[T]he reporter most indispensable to the advancement of the [Clinton sex] scandal from the moment Paula Jones appeared at the conservative conference in Washington in 1993 to the breaking of the Lewinsky story in 1998 was Michael Isikoff" [p. 94].

You think he is some fanatic anti-Bush person? He even wrote a book on the Clinton scandal that made his career, Uncovering Clinton: A Reporter’s Story. The man doesn't care if it is Bush or Clinton or Mother Theresa in the white house. He just wants to make his name known.

I think it is disingenuous of the right to now claim this is a liberal media conspiracy with Isikoff's history. It has nothing more than one reporters attempt to gain 'prestige' by breaking a story.

BTW, I would just like to point out the irony of the blogs, which are now supposed to be checking the 'left wing media bias' need to be checked themselves. Have we really created such a new and better way to inform ourselves?



MaxedOutMama said...

Dingo, I haven't seen very many comments for Isikoff to lose his job. I think the animus here comes from a long, long anti-military and anti-American trend that people see among journalists. I think they are right, I think it's real, and I don't think it's a left-right issue so much as a small group of people who talk mostly to each other who dominate the national media field.

Locally, the Democrats are just as angry as the Republicans. I don't think this issue will hurt the Dems at all. They had absolutely nothing to do with it. I think it solidifies the public's distrust for these large news outlets.

Dingo said...

I have seen a lot of comments on the right wing blogs that use this to prove an anti-bush left wing agenda in the media. Just because a journalist is incompetent doesn't make this a left wing conspiracy. Isikoff would probably go after his own mother to get his name in print.

Boomr said...

I also want to say that mere dissent from the majority's view is in no way "anti-American." This is the same sort of appellation used in the time of McCarthy to brand people with the wide brush of communism without cause.

Why does everything that goes against the majority have to be deemed "anti-American?"

Dingo said...

because that is how they bully things through.

Boomr said...

And it's how they get people to vote against their own interests. Have you seen the stats on the way conservative voters have been affected by conservative politicians' policies? A large majority of them have been HURT both economically and socially under President Bush. Strange that their so fervent, though...

Boomr said...

That should be "they're so fervent...." I hate those errors.

Carl said...


My reply is here. Briefly, it's not just a single incompetent journalist. It's an entire industry systemically hostile to Republicans, as Ann Coulter shows. The best evidence of bias is the failure of "incompetent" errors to form a normal distribution; erring mostly on one side isn't an error at all.

and, boomr:

The whole "voting against their interest" meme is nonsense.

First, it assumes that a significant percentage of people are incapable of deciding for themselves what's best for them. Your claim is elitist and condescendingly paternalistic. Conservative Republicans, in contrast, have faith that the vast majority of people are best positioned to make decisions that will affect them. Put differently, why do you assume that they're making a math error? Isn't it possible that -- because the rest of us don't have perfect information about anyone else (e.g., risk tolerance) -- that the error is yours?

Second, you imply that Republican/conservative policies hurt the poor. Not so. (Because you don't provide specific data (and the conditions you describe imprecisely are false), my response necessarily is general.) But, assuming (which I do not concede) that some Republican voters are hurt economically by some Republican policies, you discount the possibility that Americans understand that hard work brings success and financial rewards. That incentives work better than hand-outs (see, e.g., welfare reform). That liberty is a better guarantor of "the pursuit of happiness" than equality.

In philosophic terms, Rawls' difference principle is a bad bet where "all the kids are above average." More seriously, Rawls' approach works only if you assume the "pie" is static. It isn't. And Americans, unlike Europeans, know it.

Dingo said...


Lets please agree to never use Ann Coulter as a reliable source (and I'll never rely on Moore for fact). First, she could tell the truth to save her life. Second, not only can she not tell the truth, her research tactics are some of the worst I have ever seen (post on research). Third, she is about anti-American as you can get without actually taking a big heaping dump on the constitution. If you want to read her for amusement, that is your prerogative and I'll be the last person to tell you what you can or can't read, but relying on her for fact is like relying on Bin Laden for a factual history of US diplomacy.

On the topic of bias, you used the Newsweek incident to prove bias against Bush. I was pointing out that this is not bias against Bush, but against presidents. Big difference in the two. In on of our first debates, I agreed with you and said I believe the media to be left leaning, but not nearly as much as you contend. I think the MSM is more concerned with prestige and ratings than any political agenda.

Dingo said...

BTW, about the Republicans and incentives. I agree that helping someone become a productive member of society is much better than just giving hand outs. What I want is if you are going to teach a man to fish, at least give him a fishing pole. Otherwise, you aren't helping him at all.

Carl said...


I'm afraid you can't duck answering that easily:

1) Coulter's research is generally excellent; for example, here's her rebuttal of Franken's complaints. Here's the reaction from a liberal. Simplifying her research techniques by critiquing what you characterize as her reliance on Google counting shows you haven't read most of those footnotes carefully. (She primarily uses Google hit counts to show that others are researching the same issue, not to establish the truth of the proposition asserted. As you will see, for example, in the post linked above where she answers Franken. You've fallen into the same "shoddy research" trap for which you criticize her.

2) The Coulter quote I used contained numerous specific examples of previous incidences of: 1) hot story; 2) where Isikoff was the reporter; 3) trying to get it published on Newsweek; 4) where the article/facts would have reflected badly on Clinton; and leading to 5) where Newsweek, after careful consideration, decided not to run the story. As you can see, numbers 1-3 are the same here. Four is quite different; and so is the outcome in 5. Your attack on Ann's methodology in general does not allow you to duck this matter. What, precisely, in the Coulter text I quoted, is false. And if it's not false, what, precisely, could explain the different results (not publishing accurate Clinton dirt; publishing a false libel of America).

3) Conclusion: I saw you palm that card. Next time try rebutting the argument. Want a hint from the teachers' version: Media Bias.