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Wednesday, July 31, 2002


Spiritual Brothers
JANUARY 6, 2006 UPDATE: I have an update on John Hagee. The idea that any news channel--even a bottom-feeding operation like Fox News--would hold up an ignorant nutjob like Hagee as an expert on Iran is inexcusable. This guy is scary. (Updated below also)
falwell hagee hargis
Original Post: Late last week, WorldNetdDaily.com added a new columnist whose rantings fit in perfectly with WND's paranoid worldview: John C. Hagee. Hagee is the pastor of a mega-church,Cornerstone Church in San Antonio and is the CEO of John Hagee Ministries. Hagee is a major-league right-wing nutjob. I became familiar with Hagee back in the 1990's when I saw his show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network but I had to go to the library to do some additional research on Hagee--the reason being that I often confuse the words and actions of Hagee with two other rotund Clinton-bashing right-wing preachers, Jerry Falwell and Billy James Hargis (more on them later). For those of you who come to this site because you generally agree with me, it would not surprise me if you had not heard of Hagee. Nevertheless, Hagee is a key player in the religious right and has had several bestselling books. One book from the 1990's, Days of Deception, has as the first two chapters, "Witchcraft in the White House," and "Who Killed Vince Foster?" (the latter chapter cites heavily from Christopher Ruddy and The Limbaugh Letter).

What causes me to confuse Hagee with the other two preachers is that all three have the same paranoid worldview regarding Bill Clinton. Most people reading this are familiar with Falwell's anti-Clinton conspiracies. Hargis was a radio preacher who was very influential in the 1960's. He was the forerunner of right-wing preachers like Falwell and Hagee. Hargis built a broadcasting empire along with a mega-church. He had a simple message that berated communists, liberals, feminists, and hippies (who were indistinguishable to him). In his book, Why I Fight for a Christian America, Hargis had stern words for the counterculture: "...[B]oys let their hair grow like a woman's, dress in clothing that we used to relate to tramps and bums, and engage in permissiveness on the lowest possible bestial level..." As luck would have it, soon after Hargis wrote those words, some interesting events occurred. Hargis had presided over the wedding of two of his Bible college students, who on their wedding night confessed to each other that each was not chaste at the time of the wedding. What made this particularly odd was that both bride and groom had been deflowered by the same person: The Reverend Hargis. It also came out that Hargis diddled members of his college choir, "The All-American Kids." When confronted about his penchant for buggery, Hargis took the biological determinism approach to homosexuality, attributing his behavior to "genes and chromosomes." Hargis fell from grace but later attempted to make a comeback. In the 1990's, I received his Christian Crusade newspaper in which Hargis wrote about the same Clinton conspiracies as Falwell and Hagee.

UPDATE II: Sarah Posner of The American Prospect has a revealing article on Hagee titled "Paster Strangelove." Also, presidential candidate John McCain had a secret meeting with Hagee. Scary stuff.

UPDATE III Mike Huckabee chills with John Hagee

UPDATE IV: The media's double standard over Hagee's endorsement of John McCain.


Published Dishonesty
In Ann Coulter's Slander, absurdity abounds. Writing about fraud in the publishing industry, Coulter writes:

In the rush to provide the public with yet more liberal bilge, editors apparently dispense with fact-checking...Books that become publishing scandals by virtue of phony research, invented facts, or apocryphal stories invariably grind political axes for the left. There may be publishing frauds that are apolitical, but it’s hard to think of a single hoax book written by a conservative.

Also, Coulter writes: “In a classic liberal sneer, the New York Times sniffed that some of Regnery’s anti-Clinton books would not ‘be likely to pass muster at an assembly of scholars.’ No examples were cited nor evidence adduced for this assertion. Such jeers say more—and are intended to say no more—than that the Times disapproves of conservative books. I’ve just listed a half-dozen mendacious liberal books. What do they have?

Here’s what I have and it is, by no means, an exhaustive list of manifestly dishonest right-wing books:

1. Slick Willie by Floyd Brown and David Bossie. Brown and Bossie are two dirty tricks operators who concocted every single conspiracy theory about the Clintons. Most notable in this screed that includes a “special thanks” to virulent racist Judge Jim Johnson, are the details of a particularly ugly smear that the authors present as real. During the 1992 campaign, Brown and Bossie hounded the relatives of a woman who had committed suicide to support a smear that the woman, one of Bill Clinton’s former law students Susan Coleman, killed herself after being impregnated by Clinton. Bossie even barged into the hospital room of the deceased woman’s mother who was visiting her husband. When CBS’s Erik Engberg reported on Brown and Bossie’s activates, the Bush White House repudiated them (a Bush spokesperson called their tactics “despicable” and branded the two “the lowest forms of life”). Brown and Bossie stuck by their story in Slick Willie. (For a more detailed account of this shameful episode, read pages 74-77 of Conason and Lyons' The Hunting of the President).
2. At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried To Steal the Election by Bill Sammon. This book has much disinformation. For instance, when it came to demonstrations in Florida after the election, Sammon described demonstrations by Jesse Jackson as “staged.” This despite the fact the Jackson rallies included people who were wrongly denied the right to vote because of the notorious purge of voter names. On the other hand, Sammon called GOP rallies “spontaneous.” This despite the fact that the GOP flew down operatives who were instrumental in the riot at the Miami-Dade vote-counting center. Sammon falsely claimed that no violence occurred—contradicted by journalist Jake Tapper in Down & Dirty.
However, probably the most egregious hoax in the book was how Sammon mischaracterizes a Washington post story to make it appear as if Al Gore was putting himself above the country (read about it and get angry).
3. The Clinton Chronicles book and videotape by Patrick Matrisciana. This is part of attempt to link Bill Clinton to racketeering, drug dealing, and even murder. These are wild conspiracy theories that were repeated on the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Matrisciana was not content to just peddle this to the gullible public but to the church-going Christians (the same people Coulter claims that liberals despise) Murray Waas wrote an article exposing the fraudulent infomercial that Matrisciana and Jerry Falwell concocted to fleece Falwell’s flock of little old ladies out of their Social Security checks).
4. Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth by Jeffrey Satinover. Satinover uses the discredited “research” of notorious conman and anti-gay crusader Paul Cameron.
5. The Final Days by Barbara Olson. In Olson’s cut-and-paste hatchet job, she gives readers the following urban legend: “Some even noticed that when Clinton was President, Marine guards failed to execute a right face to stand facing his back as he walked away. The Marines somehow relearned this maneuver on January 20, 2001, when the new Commander-in-Chief, President George W. Bush, took office.” Several urban legends web sites such as Snopes have debunked this petty smear of President Clinton.
6. Various Vince Foster conspiracy books. Authors include Christopher Ruddy, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, John Hagee (see my 7/22 post) and numerous others. What I find as funny is that in the footnotes, Coulter called Chris Ruddy’s conspiracy-laden The Strange Death of Vince Foster “a conservative hoax book.” I find it astounding that Coulter brought this up. As Terry Krepel points out, WorldNetDaily tweaked Ruddy’s Newsmax for being “in the unenviable position of promoting Coulter's book at the top of his page” What is really odd is that WorldNetDaily (which carries Coulter’s column) is run by Joseph Farah who was a key player in the Foster conspiracy cottage industry of the 1990’s. So WorldNetDaily is itself in the unenviable position of promoting a book that takes a key part of the web site founder’s worldview and denounces it as a hoax.
7. Slander by Ann Coulter. In addition to my discovery of Coulter’s dishonest use of citations to defame two New York Times op-ed writers (which the nonpartisan Spinsanity agreed were “wild distortions”), it seems that the Daily Howler has done some recent analyses of Coulter’s claims. The Howler found additional supporting evidence that Coulter was fudging in a big way in many other parts of the book (check the Howler's July archives for the articles). Previously, writers on the right have been able to lie and get away with it. Those days are over. The right now knows that they can’t lie with impunity anymore. That is great for political discourse.


Monday, July 29, 2002


Update
Soon I will begin to write critiques of David Horowitz's new book How To Beat The Democrats. I will have another critique of Slander tomorrow.


Wish Me Luck
Today I went to the LA tryouts for the upcoming weekday Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. There were probably over 2000 people there. They took about 150 people at a time to take the test. In my group, only 13 people passed the test (twelve nerds and me). I think my non-nerd status increases my chances of getting onto the show.


Horowitz Versus Evil Genie "Scoobie Davis"
David Horowitz is in an ongoing feud with me and HorowitzWatch. His latest rant calls me "the evil genie" who is "behind" HorowitzWatch. For the record, I am just a contributing writer. Also, Scoobie Davis is my name, so there's no reason to put my name in parentheses, David.


Saturday, July 27, 2002


Response to David Horowitz Posted
It is on HorowitzWatch.


Friday, July 26, 2002


David Horowitz Unloads on Me
In his blog, David Horowitz was angry for some things I wrote about him on HorowitzWatch--namely about his being an apologist for white supremicist Jared Taylor as well as his treasonous activities. I believe Horowitz's accusations against me are unfair and untrue. I will soon post a full response to these accusations.


Update on the Gore Monticello Gaffe Hoax
I just received a clear C-SPAN video regarding the hoax revolving around Al Gore’s supposed gaffe at Monticello. The right has spread this hoax—most recently in the Weekly Standard's review of Slander by Beth Henary (subscription required). I updated my 7/5 post on the subject. Check it out UPDATE: I've reprinted the original post below:

Coulter on Gore
Tapped beat me to the punch on Coulter’s misinformation that Al Gore lied when he claimed to be the inspiration for Love Story (quick note: read the hilarious transcript of the radio conversation in which I schooled Rush Limbaugh of the false nature of this story). This is especially egregious because she has Frank Bruni listed in the Acknowledgments as someone who gave“ideas and editing advice.” Bruni covered the 2000 (s)election for the New York Times. It’s hard to believe he didn’t catch this. Then again, he wrote a cloying book about George W. Bush, so maybe it wasn’t an oversight.

Here’s one example of Coulter’s misinformation on Gore that Tapped hasn’t written about: Coulter makes the manifestly absurd charge that "...Gore couldn’t pick George Washington out of a lineup. In a highly publicized stop at Monticello during Clinton’s 1993 inaugural festivities, Gore pointed to carvings of Washington and Benjamin Franklin and asked the curator: 'Who are those guys?'"

REALITY: C-SPAN video of the events gives a completely different picture.
1. Coulter fails to mention that the two busts directly in front of the tour group were of John Paul Jones and the Marquis de Lafayette--hardly household faces. As the Church Lady would say, "How convenient."
2. The Washington and Franklin busts (that Coulter claimed that Gore pointed to) were on opposite sides of the room (Monticello’s Tea Room).

Apparently, Coulter didn’t see the video (this canard was a staple of Rush Limbaugh’s television show of the 1990’s--which was produced by Mr. Fair-and-Balanced himself, Roger Ailes). When the tour group walked into the Tea Room, Gore said, "Who are these people?" not “Who are those guys?” If the shoe were on the other foot, and George W. Bush had said this, then undoubtedly Coulter would have concluded—-as any reasonable person would—-that he was simply prompting the curator to continue with the tour. Coulter is more than willing to give the benefit of the doubt to members of the right when accusations are made against them. For instance, Coulter writes, "Attorney General Ashcroft is absurdly said to fear calico cats..." Andrew Tobias, who broke the calico cat story, has some evidence that he does.

Update: When I wrote this post, I could base it only on memory and a very dark video put out by the right-wing Media Research Center. However, I received a clear copy of the C-SPAN video and wanted to give some new information. The C-SPAN video clearly shows Gore pointing to the busts in the middle of the room (Lafayette and Jones), not Washington and Franklin (which were according to the curator, at the "far right" and "left" of the room). The clear video shows how the Washington and Franklin busts are not in Gore’s line of vision. This makes sense, of course, because it is absurd that Gore couldn’t identify Franklin and Washington.

A cynical person might conclude that the Media Research Center intentionally obscured their video in order to deceive the viewer. I'm not making that accusation. Watch MRC's video and draw your own conclusion. Keep in mind that in the original video, the busts are white; in MRC’s video, one can’t even see the busts.


Wednesday, July 24, 2002


Name That Punishment Contest
Check it out on HorowitzWatch. There are some cool prizes.


Tuesday, July 23, 2002


HorowitzWatch
I was asked to write for HorowitzWatch. I posted my first item today. Check it out. More to come.


Sweet!!
I just got back from the Premiere after-party for Austin Powers in Goldmember. It was a mondo phat event. It's what one would imagine a Hollywood party is all about--only ten times better. I didn't see Mike Myers, but I was able to get Robert Wagner and Crispin Glover on tape. Also, the TV show Extra was interviewing some woman and a scraggly-looking guy whom I didn't recognize--but I taped it. The food was great. I can't believe I'm lucid enough to be writing this. I'm glad I took a combination of gingseng, choline, and DMAE before I left. The people I met--the people I met.


Monday, July 22, 2002


Must Read
Tom Tomorrow's cartoon on Republican hypocricy regarding the Bush financial scandals.


Friday, July 19, 2002


GOP Congressional Prospects Dimming
This is what Stuart Rothenberg says.


Brawl!
Check out the fight between Andrew Sullivan and the Daily Howler's Bob Somerby. I suspect that Sullivan took on the Howler because it exposed him as silly a while ago.


Thursday, July 18, 2002


Whose Treason Was Worse?
David Horowitz’s new blog is a trip. Yesterday, Horowitz commented on John Walker Lindh’s prison sentence: “But personally, I wish John Walker Lindh had been shot.”

Although, I view al-Qaeda’s ideology as antithetical to every value I hold dear, I think the sentence Lindh received was condign. However, Lindh’s treason is babyshit compared to Horowitz’s self-admitted treason from the 1970’s. Horowitz admitted that in the middle of the Cold War, he published secrets that violated the Espionage Act. Horowitz’s actions were treacherous in that he undermined US intelligence by publishing information that alerted the Soviet Union that US intelligence had cracked their codes. Also, Horowitz’s treason was wussy to boot. Before publishing, he consulted a law professor who told him how to avoid prosecution for violating the Espionage Act--making Horowitz, unlike Lindh, a no-risk traitor.

7/06 Update: Hi to all of you who were reading Joe Conason's Salon article, "The state secrets that weren't secret." When I wrote similar comments about David's self-admitted treason on the HorowitzWatch blog, David became a bit unhinged and accused me of living "to betray my country" and that I was "friends" with the communists who slaughtered two and a half million Indochinese people. Damn, how did David find out about my many nights of hanging with Pol Pot and his gang? I've partied with Jack Nicholson but I have to make the following confession: you've never lived until you've kicked it with the Kymer Rouge.


Not to Feed Your Addiction, But...
People are requesting more commentary on Slander and author Ann Coulter. I said that I would only do two more columns on the subject. This is Scoobie Davis Online, not Coulter-Watch. However, Coulter was guest host for Dennis Prager’s radio show today. She gave her usual thoughtful and nuanced comments about Muslims (in case you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic). In her “Religion of Peace Update,” Coulter gave the horrific details of an Islamic honor killing in Jordan (a woman was killed by her father after being returned to her family by her husband who claimed she wasn’t a virgin at the time of the marriage). Coulter’s conclusion:

Now all of this about respect. And we’re always told Muslims feel humiliated—that’s why they slaughter Americans. It really is stunning how the people with the least self-respect are those most obsessed with others paying it to them. What I find is that a little soap and indoor plumbing goes a long way for your sense of self-respect. I would recommend it over flying planes into buildings.


Wednesday, July 17, 2002


Announcing: Horowitzwatch
When I wrote about David Horowitz's new weblog yeasterday, I didn't know that there was a new blog devoted to him. If you want to read more about Horowitz on a regular basis, a new watchdog site, Horowitzwatch was just started by James Capozzola of The Rittenhouse Review.


Tuesday, July 16, 2002


Evidence that the Harken Scandel is Drawing Blood
The defensive attitude of talk radio. Rush was lashing out big time on his radio show yesterday. On his radio show, Bill O'Reilly has been playing softball with Bush ("everyone does it," O'Reilly said of Bush's sweetheart deals) but is somewhat more critical of the Bush administration. However, some of this criticism contradicts O'Reilly's previous shilling for Bush. Speaking about Bush's campaign slogan, "A reformer with results," O'Reilly asked his credulous listeners last Monday, "Who bought that?" Apparently, O'Reilly did. During Bush's first weeks in office, O'Reilly said about Bush's empty slogan, "That sounds good to me."


The Blogosphere Expands

In the past week, two commentators have starting blogging with very different results. Joe Conason started a blog for Salon. In the last week he has written some succinct posts about Harken that are sharply critical of Bush. Conason’s blog is a must-read for people who want to be in the know.

On the other hand, David Horowitz has started a blog for Frontpage Magazine. In today’s blog, Horowitz provides a pathetic apologia for white supremacist Jared Taylor of American Renaissance magazine:

There are many who would call Jared Taylor and his American Renaissance movement "racist." If the term is modified to "racialist," there is truth in the charge. But Taylor and his Renaissance movement are no more racist in this sense than Jesse Jackson and the NAACP. In my experience of Taylor's views, which is mainly literary (we have had occasion to exchange opinions in person only once), they do not represent a mean-spirited position. They are an attempt to be realistic about a fate that seems to have befallen us (which Taylor would maintain was inevitable given the natural order of things). But Jared Taylor is no more "racist" in this sense than any university Afro-centrist or virtually any black pundit of the left. He is not even racist in the sense that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are racist. He is -- as noted -- a racialist, which Frontpagemag.com is not.

Aside from the insult to Jesse Jackson and the NAACP, many would take issue with Horowitz’s view that Taylor’s views are not mean-spirited. Actually, the ADL has the goods on Taylor and American Renaissance. This is a virulently racist rag. A quick perusal of American Renaissance’s web site shows the usual racist suspects such as Samuel Francis of the Council of Conservative Citizens (the group that is the successor to the old White Citizens Councils). The views of Francis were even too marginal for the Washington Times who fired him in 1995. The articles in AR are dripping with racism. One example: in an article titled “The Decline of National Review: NR was once a voice for whites,” James P. Lubinskas writes, “But few would have thought that after 44 years of publication, a senior editor with an Indian surname [Ramesh Ponnuru] would condemn a popular white conservative [Pat Buchanan] for speaking up for whites.”

The problem is that Horowitz’s flirtation with Taylor is hardly an anomaly. With its Southern Strategy, The Party of Lincoln has done what it can to become the Party of Jefferson Davis. Trent Lott was a big fan of the Council of Conservative Citizens until his ties with the group were made public (Lott lamely claimed that he wasn’t familiar with the group’s racist ideology). When people accuse the right of cozying up to white supremacists, they aren’t whistling Dixie.

Note: If you want to read more about Horowitz on a regular basis, a new watchdog site, Horowitzwatch was just started by James Capozzola of The Rittenhouse Review.


Monday, July 15, 2002


What’s Going Down
I’m getting a lot of hits because of my analysis right after Slander was published as well as my Ann Coulter interview. I want to let those of you who are reading me for the first time that this blog site is a lot more than critiquing Slander. It’s just that people are demanding that I write about it. I’m going to do just a couple more posts about Slander—I don’t want to be redundant. It looks like a lot of people are getting into the act of critiquing Slander (and I hope I’m partly responsible for this). I’d like to thank Bryan Keefer for mentioning me in his article for Spinsanity. I’m going to write more about other things—I haven’t written a thing about Harken Energy yet.

Let me assure you that I have some dynamite stuff on the back burner. I know some journalists who are doing a dynamite investigative report and I’ll be one of the first to let the world know about it (the investigative report will probably be complete in a couple months). Also, I have an exclusive on something big involving the entertainment world—I can’t give any details, but I have some people looking into it and I should report on it within the next two weeks. In addition, I have some exclusive Jack Chick news that I will announce in the next few weeks. If that isn’t enough, I have some Hollywood parties lined up; I’ll probably have some inside scoops from them. So stay tuned.


Sunday, July 14, 2002


Analysis Was Added
Click here. It is after the interview.


Analysis
I will post an analysis of my interview with Ann Coulter today. I think many of those who read the transcript, even those who enjoyed it, didn't appreciate the irony of some of my throwaway questions. I'll elaborate on these.


Friday, July 12, 2002


Finally, The Ann Coulter Interview
It is a very long interview, so I put it on a different page (click here). I will provide analysis of the interview soon.


Thursday, July 11, 2002


Exclusive!!!! Check this site later.
Ann Coulter accused me of being a stalker. REALITY: Coulter’s publicist contacted my people for an interview over the phone with Coulter. Apparently, when Coulter got on the line with me, she assumed I was a Rush clone who would ask softball questions. She was wrong. She couldn’t take some hard questions about what she wrote in her book and she hung up on me after doing what she could to avoid answering my questions. As I told Coulter, “I’m not a stalker; I'm a mocker” (and asking tough questions is the best way to mock Coulter). As I told Coulter’s publicist when she called after the interview: Coulter and the right love to dish it out but they can’t take it. I’ll have a transcript of the interview with Coulter later.


Tuesday, July 09, 2002


Link removed
I removed the Kausfiles link today. It wasn’t so much that he took Ann Coulter’s side by focusing on one piddling point in her exchange with Katie Couric (the title of the segment was Coulter 1, Couric 0; if Kaus read Slander and were to analyze it for a segment, the title should be Reality 1,000,000, Coulter 0).

No, the reason I removed the link was because of some silly things Kaus wrote about MediaWhoresOnline:

I do worry that the crude, hyperbolic, ad hominem, preach-to-the-converted invective of anti-Bushies in places like Media Whores Online -- promoted by theoretically respectable people like James Carville and Paul Begala -- creates an atmosphere in which a few especially zealous followers might do something. That worry is real even if MWO's determinedly un-nuanced rhetorical style is simply giving the right a taste of its own medicine. That is, again, the point -- that a danger that was mainly on the right is now in large part on the left.

It only takes a few, we've learned -- and if you figure that for every 500,000 pissed off and frustrated citizens (in either camp) one or two might resort to terror, then increased left-wing violence is something we can see coming down the road. That's true even if the law-abiding/violent ratio is somewhat higher on the left, because they tend not to have the guns -- yet.

This is outrageous. First, the link for “giving the right a taste of its own medicine” is Newsmax, which is run by Vince Foster conspiracy theorist, Chris Ruddy. Second, Kaus gives no examples of inflammatory rhetoric on the MWO web site that he believes would provoke violence. I have read MWO assiduously for the past few months and have not found one example of anything that even hints at inciting violence. Compare that with what is written on the Free Republic web site every week.


Monday, July 08, 2002


Interesting Omissions

When I read Slander, I was surprised not only by what was written but by what was conveniently left out. Here are just a couple examples of revealing omissions:

...[W]hen right-wingers rant, there’s at least a point: There are substantive arguments contained in conservative name-calling. One of Newt Gingrich’s more pithy turns of phrase, for example, was to call Bob Dole “tax collector for the welfare state.” In addition to the welcome bipartisanship of attacking a member of his own party—and not from the left—Gingrich’s attack conveys a meaningful concept. It succinctly degraded Dole’s legislative function as consisting of nothing more than taking the taxpayer’s money. Dole had failed to oppose behemoth government; he was a cog in the system that Democrats had created. All that in six words.

REALITY: What Coulter doesn’t bother telling the reader is that Gingrich’s supposed subtlety and flair when it came to name-calling didn’t extend to members of the loyal opposition (which Gingrich didn’t view as loyal). For instance, in a memo by Gingrich’s political action committee GOPAC, the following pithy terms were suggested to describe Democratic opponents: sick, traitors, destructive, corrupt, bizarre, cheat, and steal. Of course, Coulter didn’t bother mentioning the GOPAC list because it alone demolishes the premise of Slander that the decline in political discourse is “all liberals’ fault.”

During the 1992 campaign, Gingrich had a clever thing to say about Democrats: "Woody Allen having non-incest with a non-daughter to whom he was a non-father because they were a non-family fits the Democratic platform perfectly." Soon after Gingrich said this, he introduced his one-eyed meat whistle to a young aide whom he would later receive in a trade-in for Wife Number Two (who herself was a younger model Gingrich got after giving the heave-ho to Wife Number One). Four years later, Gingrich said, “[o]ur job is to convince the voters that Democrats are the enemies of normal Americans" (Wife Number One had been Gingrich’s high school teacher--Yuck). I could go on but I think you get the point. This leads me to Omission-riddled Quote Two:

So far, Drudge seems to be meeting the new special high standard of accuracy reserved for the Drudge Report. His only alleged misstatement that was ever tested in a court of law concerned a statement about Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal, for which Drudge was sued for libel. The case ended with Blumenthal paying Drudge money.

REALITY: The “alleged misstatement” was a despicable libel against Blumenthal. In 1997, Drudge wrote: "'There are court records of Blumenthal's violence against his wife,' one influential republican, who demanded anonymity, tells the DRUDGE REPORT.” Drudge retracted the story, but did not apologize to the Blumenthal family. Blumenthal filed suit against Drudge. While Blumenthal had to pay for attorneys out of his own pocket, Drudge relied on funding from right-wing groups (one of the main sources of funding was David Horowitz who recently libeled David Brock when he ironically accused Brock of libeling him). Blumenthal had to drop the lawsuit and pay court costs, not because of the merits of his case, but rather because of the right’s deep pockets.

While that particular libel was an attempt to discredit the Clinton White House, a more recent Drudge smear was done in order to take the heat off the Bush White House for the Enron scandal—an odd behavior by someone who portrays himself as a muckraker. Drudge spread the falsehood that then-CEO of Enron Ken Lay had slept over at the Clinton White House (it was actually the White House of George H. W. Bush). This falsehood spread to much of the mainstream media. Gene Lyons broke the story that Drudge was full of it. Nevertheless, Drudge refused to retract the story or apologize. So I decided to call Drudge’s radio show and find out why he didn’t retract the story and apologize. Here is the transcript of our conversation:

DRUDGE: Let’s go back to the board. Line one; you’re on the air with Drudge.

SCOOBIE: Hey Drudge, this is Scoobie here, man. I just wanted to compliment you on your Enron
coverage.

DRUDGE: Oh, oh, thank you. Yes, it’s very stimulating, isn’t it?

SCOOBIE: Yes, especially—

DRUDGE: Why don’t you—well, you can take over the show and you can do thirty minutes of Enron
coverage and we’ll see if you have one damn listener at the end of that thirty minutes.

SCOOBIE: Yes, yes, it’s true—

DRUDGE: Why don’t you try? The floor is yours.

SCOOBIE: Well, I’ll tell you. I especially—

DRUDGE: Go ahead. The floor is yours. You’ve now got thirteen Western states. Proceed, sir.

SCOOBIE: Okay, I think it’s especially newsworthy—your scoop about Ken Lay staying in the
Clinton White House, especially when you didn’t bother to retract it and you let others to think
that also.

[Silence]

SCOOBIE: Hello

[Silence]


SCOOBIE: (Louder) Helllloooo

[Silence]


SCOOBIE: Where’s Drudge? Hello. [laughing] There’s no Drudge. [These last words were muted from the radio show--leading to about four seconds of dead air]

[Drudge then disconnected Scoobie and did an incoherent rant (acting as if Scoobie were still on the line). Scoobie listens to the rant off the air while drinking a Corona]

So much for Drudge meeting the alleged “new special high standard of accuracy reserved for the Drudge Report.”


New Stuff Tonight
I'll have a new "Coulter Versus Reality" segment tonight. Several of you were amused that I compared Slander to the Jack Chick comic tracts. On that subject, I wanted to let you know that Chick has a new tract, PAYBACK.


Friday, July 05, 2002


Ann Coulter on Gore
Tapped beat me to the punch on Coulter’s misinformation that Al Gore lied when he claimed to be the inspiration for Love Story. This is especially egregious because she has Frank Bruni listed in the Acknowledgements as someone who gave“ideas and editing advice.” Bruni covered the 2000 (s)election for the New York Times. It’s hard to believe he didn’t catch this. Then again, he wrote a cloying book about George W. Bush, so maybe it wasn’t an oversight.

Here’s one example of Coulter’s misinformation on Gore that Tapped hasn’t written about: Coulter makes the manifestly absurd charge that “...Gore couldn’t pick George Washington out of a lineup. In a highly publicized stop at Monticello during Clinton’s 1993 inaugural festivities, Gore pointed to carvings of Washington and Benjamin Franklin and asked the curator: ‘Who are those guys?’”

REALITY: C-SPAN video of the events gives a completely different picture.
1. Coulter fails to mention that the two busts directly in front of the tour group were of John Paul Jones and the Marquis de Lafayette. As the Church Lady would say, “How convenient.”
2. The Washington and Franklin busts (that Coulter claimed that Gore pointed to) were on opposite sides of the room (Monticello’s Tea Room).

Apparently, Coulter didn’t see the video (this canard was a staple of Rush Limbaugh’s television show of the 1990’s--which was produced by Mr. Fair-and-Balanced himself, Roger Ailes). When the tour group walked into the Tea Room, Gore said, “Who are these people?” not “Who are those guys?” If the shoe were on the other foot, and George W. Bush had said this, then undoubtedly Coulter would have concluded—-as any reasonable person would—-that he was simply prompting the curator to continue with the tour. Coulter is more than willing to give the benefit of the doubt to members of the right when accusations are made against them. For instance, Coulter writes, “Attorney General Ashcroft is absurdly said to fear calico cats...” Andrew Tobias, who broke the calico cat story, has some evidence that he does.

Update: When I wrote this post, I could base it only on memory and a very dark video put out by the right-wing Media Research Center. However, I received a clear copy of the C-SPAN video and wanted to give some new information. The C-SPAN video clearly shows Gore pointing to the busts in the middle of the room (Lafayette and Jones), not Washington and Franklin (which were according to the curator, at the "far right" and "left" of the room). The clear video shows how the Washington and Franklin busts are not in Gore’s line of vision. This makes sense, of course, because it is absurd that Gore couldn’t identify Franklin and Washington.

A cynical person might conclude that the Media Research Center intentionally obscured their video in order to deceive the viewer. I’m not making that accusation. Watch MRC's video and draw your own conclusion. Keep in mind that in the original video, the busts are white; in MRC’s video, one can’t even see the busts.


Wednesday, July 03, 2002


Pssst, Tommy
In case you hadn't heard about it, George W. Bush had an interesting conversation with Army Secretary Tom White.


The Beauty Myth
In Slander, Ann Coulter writes, “So which women are constantly being called ugly? Is it Maxine Walters, Chelsea Clinton, Janet Reno, or Madeline Albright? No, none of these. Only conservative women have their looks held up to ridicule because only liberals would be so malevolent.”

REALITY: Apparently Coulter doesn’t listen to Rush Limbaugh. On Limbaugh’s television show, Limbaugh was doing an White House “in-and-out” segment in which he said to the studio audience, “Can we see the cute little kid? Let’s see who’s the cute little kid in the White House.” Instead of the picture of Chelsea Clinton, a picture of Millie the dog appeared on the monitor. This led to raucous laughter by the mouthbreathers in Limbaugh’s audience. Backpedaling on the matter, Limbaugh claimed it was an accident. In case anyone believes Limbaugh's bullshit story that “it was not something done on purpose,” journalist James Retter investigated the controversy and found that Limbaugh’s explanation doesn’t hold water (Read about it in Retter’s book Anatomy of a Scandal, pp. 211-213). Retter also noted a dig against Chelsea’s looks on Limbaugh’s radio show: “Commenting on how ‘lovely’ Nixon’s daughters, Julie and Trish, looked at their father’s funeral, Limbaugh said, ‘so unlike another First Family—and you know what I mean.’” Once on his radio show he mentioned Donna Shalala and sarcastically commented, “Oh, that’s a beautiful thought.” Ann Richards, according to Limbaugh, “was born needing her face ironed.” On Letterman’s show, Limbaugh said how Hillary Clinton looked “like a hood ornament on a Pontiac.” An annoyed Letterman shot back, “And you can say that because you are the finest looking human specimen on the planet?” The audience erupted in laughter and applause.



Tuesday, July 02, 2002


Was Gandhi a Moral Relativist?
Some people have asked me why I used the term “sectarian right” instead of “religious right” or “Christian conservatives” in yesterday’s post. “Sectarian right” to me, is the most apt term because the principal aspect of the movement is not its religiosity but its sectarianism. Let me give one recent example. Yesterday on Bill O’Reilly’s radio show, self-appointed Virtue Czar Bill Bennett was on to talk about the flap over the Pledge of Allegiance. Bennett spoke about the uniquely Judeo-Christian nature of America and then pointed out that it isn’t “one nation under Vishnu” (Vishnu is a Hindu deity). Bennett went on and said that secularists opposed Christianity but not “exotic” religions like Hinduism. The reasons, according to Bennett:

I think [the supposed exotic religions] get a much easier ride. Notice some of the religions that I’m talking about are a little vaguer on some of this stuff—the ones that [secularists] don’t oppose. But, no, the heart and soul of the Judeo-Christian tradition is personal responsibility, guilt for your sins—and, I guess, maybe even the word “sin”--I think that’s probably the one word in the vocabulary some people would like to see out of existence more than any other, don’t you think?

Bennett is under the impression that Hinduism is vague on issues like sin and personal responsibility. This is very poor theology. Central to Hinduism is the concept of karma. The essence of karma is that one must account for one’s transgressions and that physical death does not free a person from his or her moral obligations.

I suspect that lack of Puritanism in Hinduism is what partially fuels Bennett’s words. According to the Hindu Catechism, “the purpose of sexual union is to express and foster love’s beautiful intimacy and to draw husband and wife together for procreation. While offering community guidance, Hinduism does not legislate sexual matters. Aum.” (Sloka 74).


Monday, July 01, 2002


Is the Sectarian Right a Myth?

In the chapter of Slander titled, “Shadowboxing the Apocryphal ‘Religious Right,’”, Ann Coulter sounds postmodernistic (not to mention airheaded) when she attempts to explain away the existence of the religious right:

Like all propagandists, liberals create mythical enemies to justify their own viciousness and advance their agenda. There is no bogeyman that strikes greater terror in the left than the apocryphal “religious right.” The phrase is a meaningless concept, an inverted construct of the left’s own Marquis de Sade lifestyle. It functions as a talismanic utterance to rally the faithful against anyone who disagrees with the well-organized conspiratorial left.

A definition of the sectarian right is difficult. It is by no means a monolithic group. But neither are liberals and that doesn’t prevent Coulter from making outrageous generalizations about them (e.g., “[l]iberals hate America...” and “[l]iberals hate religion...”). Let’s look at some of the characteristics of the sectarian right (this list is by no means exhaustive):

1. It has the goal of a Christian nation in which there is no concept of church-state separation. Laws are to be based on Christian fundamentalist dogma. In an attempt to sugarcoat Pat Robertson’s reputation, Coulter comes up with this howler: “[Robertson] is, after all, a Yale Law School graduate. If Robertson was from Vermont and didn’t yap about God on TV, liberals would refer to him as a ‘moderate Republican.’” Perhaps at Yale Law School they were a bit vague when they taught Article VI of the Constitution because Robertson once said, “Individual Christians are the only ones really---and Jewish people, those who trust God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--are the only ones that are qualified to have the reign, because hopefully, they will be governed by God and submit to Him."

2. The goal of complete church-state separation regarding outgroup religions. When members of the sectarian right calls for the Bible to be read in the public schools, they don’t want it to be accompanied by The Book of Mormon or Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures much less the Upanishads or the Book of Changes. Exception: some members of the sectarian right are willing to cozy up to what they consider apostate faiths if it leads to a big paycheck—such as Falwell’s embrace of Sun Myung Moon.

3. A conspiratorial worldview. Good examples of this are found in Pat Robertson’s The New World Order, Tim LaHaye’s Battle for the Mind and his Left Behind series, and Jerry Falwell’s support of the infamous Clinton Chronicles video (click here for information on Falwell and the Clinton Chronicles; don’t miss the part about the phony infomercial Falwell used to bilk his flock).

4. The goal to have a fundamentalist worldview taught in the education system—regardless of whether it clashes with science (e.g. the belief that the Earth is several thousand years old). Most recently, two Ohio Congressmen wanted science curriculum in Ohio to include creationist concepts.

5. Opposition to sexuality other than between a married man and woman. “God made Adam and Eve,” Jerry Falwell once said, “not Adam and Steve.” Many in the sectarian right believe that sex should be for procreative purposes (click here for a funny article by wingnut Randall Terry on birth control).

6. Opposition to reproductive rights.

7. Promotion of the traditional "family" (i.e. an instrumental husband and expressive wife). In the Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, under the heading of "Reclaiming Your Manhood," every man should "sit down with your wife and say something like this: 'Honey, I've made a terrible mistake. I've given you my role. I gave up leading this family, and I forced you to take my place. Now I must reclaim that role.' ... I'm not suggesting you ask for your role back, I'm urging you to take it back ... there can be no compromise here. If you're going to lead, you must lead ... Treat the lady gently and lovingly. But lead!"

Coulter then conflates those who oppose these goals of the sectarian rights with opposition to religion in general:

Liberal dogma instructs that public displays of religion are inimical to democracy, a threat to freedom as we know it. They believe religious people are self-evidently fanatical. Religious values are hateful, homophobic, sexist, racist, and the rest of the liberal catechism—unless they are kept in the closet . . . It is of course, preposterous to say religious people can’t let their religion inform their views on public policy. That is more hateful and intolerant than any views attributed to the apocryphal “religious right.”

There are problems with this assessment. As I mentioned, Coulter equates opposition to the sectarian right with the opposition to religion in general. Sectarian rightists like Falwell and Robertson are self-evidently fanatical, not religious people per se. Here are just a few quotes by Pat Robertson. Are these the words of a “moderate Republican”?


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