Thursday, September 30, 2004

They Just Don't Learn!

This story just keeps getting better. And now there are other stories in the sam vein. Read it again, then read the updates.

Originally Posted 10:00 AM September 29, 2004
Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

OK, I've been trying to find my own material on which to blog, but this one is just so ridiculous, I have to chime in.

One of the hallmarks of intelligence, I am told, is the ability to learn from one's mistakes -- to recognize a causitive relationship between an action and its consequences, and to choose to refrain from that action in the future in order to avoid those consequences.

Let's take a recent example of an action and its consequences, and see if WE can learn anything from them, shall we?

One of the... no, THE biggest story in the blogosphere in recent weeks has been "Memogate," the controversy surrounding Dan Rathers' 60 Minutes story on President Bush's service record and the falsified records used to support the story. I won't link to the story, it's so thoroughly blogged that it's ridiculous.

So what lessons can we learn from this, children (or "Rather," what lessons should CBS have learned)? Specifically, what action and consequences should CBS have observed and avoided in the future? Allow me to make a few suggestions:

The first observation in general is that there are people who are so devoted to their political cause that they are willing to lie and even commit forgery in order to advance their cause. We have also learned that while they are supposed to be impartial and dedicated to verifying the accuracy of their reporting, the mainstream media is at times willing to overlook niggling little concerns regarding their sources in order to get a story out if that story supports their own opinions or beliefs. In the case of the CBS story, that included both the use of forged documents, as well as a reliance on "unimpeachable sources" that have proven to be highly partisan individuals. That is the Action.

The consequences are that in the age of blogs, if you rely on verifiably untrue sources, the odds are very great that you will be caught, exposed, and discredited.

The Lesson, then, would be? Anyone? Anyone? /Ben Stein

The Lesson is to VERIFY your information before REPORTING it.

So let's take the lesson learned and apply it to another story that's been making the rounds and has garnered a lot of attention: The Draft Controversy. There's been an email circulating warning people that the government, and specifically the Bush administration, plans to reinstate the draft in order to recruit troops for Iraq. It has generated a lot of ill will towards the President, and I even read a very angry letter about it in Sunday's Portland Oregonian.

There's only one problem: The email is lying. As a matter of fact, as the FactCheck article points out, only two draft-related bills have been proposed, both were sponsored by Democrats, both were prior to Iraq, and both were stillborn.

So let's take our lesson learned and apply it to this email. IF you were a journalist -- no, if you were a CBS Journalist, how would you approach this issue?

I think you see where I'm going with this. That's right, CBS failed to learn its lesson. Furthermore, not only did they rely on an already debunked document (this time an email), they also quoted a highly partisan source. they just didn't learn.

I don't know what you'd call this -- Hubris, desperation for a story, blind devotion to a cause, or just plain stupidity. But the one thing you can't call this, by the standard established at the beginning of this post, is intelligence.

Again, credit goes toAce of Spades HQ. The man's en fuego.

Bill at INDC has interviewed several representatives of CBS regarding this story. Read the whole report here.

One exchange that caught many readers' eyes, as well as my own, was this one:

INDC: "Probably the main concern with the story is that the e-mails that are shown in the piece are false; they've been debunked on various internet sites long ago ..."

Schlesinger: "The fact is, they were going around. I know several people that got them, and it’s gotten people all riled up. Whether or not there’s any reality to there being a draft, is almost besides the point. Do I think there’s going to be a draft? No. But it's an issue that people are talking about."

In other words (and I wasn't the first or only to pick up on this), "The documents are not authentic, but they're accurate)" Furthermore, if people are riled up because of false information, why, as has been asked, is CBS reporting on how upset people are, instead of letting them know how unfounded their reason for being upset is? Why are they reporting that people are afraid because of a lie, and not on the fact that it's a lie?

They Just Don't Learn.

Yum! Crow With Maple Syrup!

If any of you have checked the comments to my post about the email I received Tuesday, you'll see that Venom commented, and I responded pretty harshly. In addition to banning his IP address, I deleted his email.

Well, almost. Then I went ahead and read it. He had some good points, so I've decided to lift the ban, despite the nasty tone of the third email he sent regarding being banned. I'm also making an exception to what I said in the comments, and responding to him in a post, ONE LAST TIME:


You've made some comments that, unfortunately, require a response. It's funny how you make comments making me out to be a troll, yet you do your own trolling in replying. And you're calling me a hypocrite...

It’s not exactly trolling when the intent was to respond in kind.

Several points to your comments and (hopefully) that's it (since I also didn't expect it to get to this level, though your final comment in the bumper sticker post prompted my email to you):

I take exception to being called a hypocrite.

Then don’t come across as one. What prompted that comment was your accusing me of generalizing about you right after you’d generalized about me.

I can observe you being anti-left (which you are)

Yes, I am. But to say “its obvious within a few lines of reading that you share no sympathy for anyone left-of-Reagan.” Goes beyond pointing out my politics and is a generalizalition, you must admit.

and identify myself as not being left-leaning (since I'm not) without contradiction. Because it's true. I call a spade a spade, and if you don't like it, that's your issue. I can be critical of other conservatives if I take exception to the manner in which they voice their opinion.

Ironically enough, that’s exactly the issue I took with your email.

I'd hardly call that being left-leaning. Rather than spend countless energy trying to denigrate the left, I would prefer to do more to show the positives of the right. But, unfortunately, this kind of "take the high road" mentality is becoming more and more
scarce these days, and why politicking has turned into a match over who can sling more mud than the other (with both parties equally guilty).

A valid point. I would point out some reasons why I think those expectations are unrealistic, but that’s an entirely different thread, so I’ll concede the point for now.

2) Not once in the bumper sticker post was it mentioned about the other bull$hit you and your wife have endured leading up to this. You can excuse me (and the rest of us) for not knowing you were near the breaking point. If you had mentioned this beforehand (with as little or as much detail as you think it may have warranted), it might have helped put the situation in context. And, in the end, you lost a bumper sticker and not your voice. And yes, I was poking fun. I actually wasn't intending to troll; I just thought it was a little much (you acknowledge this, as well) to rant about 1 bumper sticker. Again, in context, it amounts to more.

That’s another good point. I forgot that you neither know me personally nor have been reading my blog long, you’d have seen that leftist violence and nastiness is something I have a high level of annoyance towards, and would have recognized this as a last straw. As for not losing my voice, I never said I did. I said that this was an example of someone trying to shout over my voice, by defacing my property.

You're right, you do write about more than just politics. You can apologize for your error (in assuming I was an ally from the idiots who defaced your bumper), and I can apologize for my error.

Accepted. Although they didn’t deface my bumper, since I put the sticker on the window.

"The distaff of this, is, of course: If you don't like what I have to write, DON'T READ IT!" It's kind of hard to not like something if I haven't read it, wouldn't you say?

Rather. I was thinking more of the adage “Once bitten twice shy.” Your persistence prompted that comment.

"Exactly where do I complain about anyone exercising their free speech? Show me. Put up or shut up, Tinkerbell." Hmm...I'd have to say that this comment: "How naive do you think I am, to expect me not to pay attention to the antics of movie producers making hate and lie-filled movies, "comediennes" standing on stage and making snide, obscene comments about the president, or 527's like MoveOn, the Media Fund, and all of Soros' other little whores/handmaidens," sounds like a pretty big complaint by you. If you're not complaining about these people's opinions, what are you doing, then?

Complaining about the hypocrisy of the left in doing those things while accusing Republicans of being the ones fighting a dirty, negative camapaign. Read a bit further up: “I've heard a lot of pissing and moaning lately from the left about how nasty and mean Republicans are. I've heard all the chatter about Bush=Hitler and how our freedoms are being trampled on by the Right and how I'm a digital Brownshirt. I've heard Democrats say that it's time they stopped playing nice and fair and started slinging mud the way they claim Republicans do.”

This post occurred right after the RNC, and that was the entire tone of the rhetoric coming from the Democrats. I may be offended by the things Soros, Hollywood, Moore, and their ilk say, but as long as they don’t commit slander or libel, they’re free to say it. What I was complaining about was the blatant self-ironic hypocrisy of them saying those things and then complaining about anything a Republican says. That’s my beef, their double standard.

And "Tinkerbell?" Is this what you've been reduced to? Name-calling? Seems pretty defeatist of you to resort to that. Taking a shot at manhood? What, you didn't grow up from high school?

It was out of line, and I do apologize. Think you can avoid the personal shots too?

Anyhow, by your own admission, you've said some things over the top and I'm probably guilty of that. The Internet, of course, has the ability to distort emotion. What could often times be an amicable debate in person ends up being more unpleasant than it probably warrants over a computer screen.

It’s not the Internet necessarily. Politics have roused this kind of passion for generations.

And his third email:

LOL! Wow, you're all about free speech. LMAO! Banning me because I happen to question you and point out faults in your argument.

No, I banned you because I thought you were being a rude, smug jackass. I’ve admitted my mistake, don’t make me regret it. As for free speech, as you’ve pointed out, yours is still intact, and was, even when you were banned -- you have other outlets for expression, don't you? You can say anything you want, I don't have to let you into my living room to do it. My blog is my intellectual property, not Hyde Park. I retain the right to police it any way I see fit. See my first post on this policy.

Please. Pick a fight with you? It's called debating. And you can't withstand even a little of it!

Sorry if I didn’t see a comment like your first one (Wow, a bumper sticker. What is this world coming to?) as an invitation to open debate, it sounded pretty dismissive.

You're definitely quite the neophyte in this, aren't you.

You’re making it personal again, aren't you. I'll overlook it, but please, let's both try to be civil.

One last thing. If you want to email me because you want what you say, good or bad, to be kept between us, for whatever reason, fine. I posted one email because I thought you were a jackass, I’ve posted this second because I acknowledge I was one too. But if that’s the reason you email, say so. If you want to make a long public comment, do what I do – create a WP document, then cut it and paste it in sections to several concurrent comments. That’s fine. Again, the character limit is Haloscan’s not mine.

Live Debate Feed

You'll notice a new box on the right side of my blog. This is temporary. It contains a live feed which will be updated during the debates, and will be used by the Bush campaign to fact check any claims made by Kerry. According to the Bush campaign, "each time John Kerry says something false or inaccurate during the debates, the live feed will be updated instantly with the facts."

You can get more information regarding this feature, including the HTML code to add it to your own blog, at the Bush Website.

Dutch Treat

I'm still jazzzed from my Malkinlaunch, and to a certain extent from the response to my post on the hate mail. So I thought I'd share the love.

One of the lines in the letter that I just kind of took in stride the first time has proven prophetically ironic. That's where the writer says, "its obvious within a few lines of reading that you share no sympathy for anyone left-of-Reagan."

Let's set aside for now the reply already made, as well as the fact that I'm probably slightly to the left of Reagan on a few issues, as well as to the right of him on a few others. Let's go back and ponder the fact that this writer considered it an insult to compare me politically to Reagan. This comment appears to me to be similar to the hyperbole I or other conservatives use on occasion to make a point, when we say that, for instance, John Kerry *is* a moderate -- when compared to Pol Pot. The connotation seems to be that Reagan is about as evilly far out to the Right as Mao or Lenin is to the Left.

This is laughable. When you consider the great good accomplished by the man, his victory over the Soviet regime, the only thing a man like RWR has in common with a Mao or a Lenin is his impact on history. He is, in my opinion, one of the greatest American Presidents ever, certainly one of the two greatest of the 20th Century.

And now I've been afforded an opportunity to honor him. I was sent an email regarding this movie:

"In the Face of Evil," to Open Conservative Liberty Film Festival
in Los Angeles October 1st

Hollywood, CA - September 22nd 2004- Writer/Director Stephen K. Bannon's "In the Face of Evil: Reagan's War in Word and Deed" will open the 2004 Liberty Film Festival, Hollywood's first openly conservative film festival. The festival will be held Oct. 1st-3rd at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

"In the Face of Evil: Reagan's War in Word and Deed" is a controversial look at Reagan's victory over Communism within the context of mankind's continual fight against evil, including the current war against Islamic Fascism. Based on Executive Producer Peter Schweizer's book "Reagan's War," "In the Face of Evil: Reagan's War in Word and Dead" was produced by Tim Watkins, and co-written by Julia Jones.

Screening time: 6:40 pm

Screening Location:
SilverScreen Theatre at Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Avenue
2nd floor Center Green
West Hollywood , CA 90069

"The must-see movie of the season...disturbing and deeply-moving...I found myself weeping" - Maggie Gallagher, NEW YORK POST

"A brilliant effort...extremely well done."- Rush Limbaugh

“ A powerful portrayal of a critical point in history that exposes the intensity of
the struggle against communism and President Reagan’s campaign for victory.
As someone who had lived these times, I was very moved by the detail and
emotion in which they were brought out on film. The lessons of our struggle
against the evil empire are more relevant than ever in regards to the conflict
of today’s world.”

- Lech Walesa, Nobel Laurite and former President of Poland